In close cooperation with the UN Global Compact and Paolo de Castro, Member of the European Parliament, Yara invited major stakeholders to discuss business principles in aid of reaching sustainable business goals.
The European Parliament, seated in the Belgian capital of Brussels, has the façade of a majestic castle, but in reality the impressive stone and steel building holds the next largest democratically elected parliament in the world, second only to India’s. On February 11th several key stakeholders convened in the European Parliament to discuss the six draft Food and Agriculture Business (FAB) principles that the host organizers are hoping companies will adopt to help the United Nations reach sustainable development targets.
"The draft FAB principles are based on stakeholder feedback received between September and November 2013. Today we are asking for validation in the second and final round of consultation that serves as the basis for stakeholder feedback up to March 2014," explains Natalia Federighi, Director Public Affairs & Institutional Relations in Yara International.
The six voluntary - but vital - Food and Agriculture Business principles are: 1. Aim for Food Security, Health and Nutrition; 2. Be Environmentally Responsible; 3. Ensure Economic Viability and Share Value - throughout the value chain; 4. Respect Human Rights, Create Decent Work and Help Rural Communities to Thrive; 5. Encourage Good Governance and Accountability; and 6. Promote Access and Transfer of Knowledge, Skills and Technology.
"There is a trend of increasing adoption of corporate sustainability principles by companies of all sizes, sectors, and geographies. Europe is a world leader in this movement of corporate sustainability," said debate host Paolo de Castro, Chair of the European Parliament's Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development.
"While these are extremely positive developments, they must be tempered with the realization that corporate sustainability has not penetrated the majority of companies operating in markets around the world - the global tipping point has not yet been reached," he added.
"Given the overarching importance of the UN's Committee on World Food Security's (CFS) Responsible Agricultural Investment principles, we have also invited Gerda Verburg, Chair of the CFS. We consider this a good opportunity to present, correctly position and promote the CFS's efforts on this subject," Natalia adds.
Bringing value for future generations
Yara's Head of Public Affairs and Industry Relations, Jean Paul Beens, spoke to the gathering about Yara, sustainability, and the importance of wide partnerships for value creation projects. "I believe sustainability needs to be interpreted in its broadest meaning, not just preserving the environment. It also means developing things of worth, with high environmental, economic, social and health value for future generations," Jean Paul argued.
"Yara, as part of the private sector, is proud to co-sponsor this debate," says Natalia. "These principles demonstrate that the private sector and the UN can work together to achieve sustainable development goals. Europe traditionally has been the leading partner in development cooperation. Now European companies, with these principles, join European institutions in acting for development with a conscience."