Action is the Antidote
COP27 is over and out. What now?
That's a wrap
40 hours behind schedule, the international climate conference COP27 finally came to a close at the end of last month after a marathon of intense negotiations.
“The biggest win on climate since Paris?... or the biggest loss on climate change since Paris?,” wondered the BBC.
The ‘big win’ refers to a deal struck that provides developing countries with financial assistance in dealing with climate catastrophes. The issue of funding for what is known as ‘loss and damage’ has been a fraught one since it was first raised more than 30 years ago. With the most vulnerable nations prioritised, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called the fund “an important step towards justice”.
Where the conference fell short, according to COP26 President Alok Sharma, was in the failure to reach an international agreement to phase-down or phase-out all fossil fuels. Language around the phasing out of all fossil fuels (not just coal) didn’t make it into the final text of the pact. With new wording referencing “low-emission” systems, some experts doubt what can be achieved at the next COP28 in Dubai.
And yet, there is still reason to believe in the once unthinkable. “We’ve shown with the loss and damage fund that we can do the impossible,” said Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, the Climate Envoy of the Marshall Islands. “So we know we can come back next year and get rid of fossil fuels once and for all”.
This is the first time that a COP has issued an implementation plan mentioning food, nature-based solutions, and the right to a healthy environment, which feels major.
“Policy responses in agriculture are more likely to succeed if they consider the role of farmers as key agents of change,” noted the final agreement struck at the conference. “Action has been a much hotter topic at COP27 this year,” wrote Foodsteps in a wrap-up blog post. Among the noteworthy new initiatives: the UN Food Agency’s mission to unveil a plan within the year that would show how the food and farming industries can get behind 1.5C.
Some critics, however, say that this is not going fast or far enough. The Food4Climate Pavilion, a participant at COP27, said the UN’s programme “lacks ambition”. What do they point to as “a ray of hope” though? A potential item on COP28’s agenda: food system change as a way to mitigate the climate crisis.
For many organisations, food-related and otherwise, it’s no longer business as usual.
The We Mean Business Coalition, formed of hundreds of some of the world’s largest companies, issued a declaration at COP27 calling for a renewed commitment to 1.5C.
An impressive roster including the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, WWF, and WRAP recently launched the ‘123 Pledge’ to encourage “important actors in the food system” – from chefs to businesses – to take action on reducing food waste and reducing emissions. That means committing to halving global food waste and reducing food loss by at least 25% by 2030.
A milestone that we’re particularly chuffed about? Certified B Corporations, or companies that meet high standards of environmental and social performance, now number 1,000 in the UK – with London the B Corp capital of the world, no less. We were proud to mark this occasion with our peers last month at the Natural History Museum, where Louisa Ziane, COO at Toast Ale, had this to say: “To change the world, you’ve got to throw a better party than those destroying it.”