Working together for more biodiversity: Food industry discusses ways to stop biodiversity loss


Working together for more biodiversity: Food industry discusses ways to stop biodiversity loss

The major Food for Biodiversity conference has come to an end in Frankfurt. For two days, 100 stakeholders from the food industry discussed ways to preserve biodiversity. Worldwide, around one million species are acutely threatened with extinction, and the loss of biodiversity has a significant impact on the food sector.

Bonn, 31.05.2023: How do we save biodiversity - with this question, keynote speaker Prof. Dr. Katrin Böhning-Gaese from the Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Center opened the second major Food for Biodiversity conference "Biodiversity in the Food Sector", which took place from May 22-23, 2023 in Frankfurt am Main. The numbers she presented to the 100 or so participants call for action: The World Economic Forum Risk Report 2023 lists biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse as number four of the top ten risks that companies will face in the next decade. According to the World Biodiversity Council, around one million species worldwide are at acute risk of extinction. "We are living in the Anthropocene, humans are changing the climate, changing the pH of the oceans, changing the Earth's surface," says Katrin Böhning-Gaese. "The combined effects of land use change and climate change are causing the negative effects on biodiversity to multiply. If we continue as we are, the dramatic decline in biodiversity will continue."
The event was organized by the industry initiative "Food for Biodiversity" and took place as part of the "Unternehmen Biologische Vielfalt - UBi" project, which is funded by the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation with funds from the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection as part of the federal biodiversity program. The initiative aims to improve the protection of biodiversity throughout the food industry and to provide assistance and a platform for cooperation to this end. In addition, the international IKI project "Del Campo al Plato" participated as a co-organizer. Del Campo al Plato" focuses on the protection of biodiversity in the cultivation of bananas and pineapples. Among the participants were representatives of the scientific community, major food retailers such as Lidl, EDEKA, Kaufland, Aldi Süd and Coop, food processing companies such as Nestlé and Hipp, certifiers such as Fairtrade and GlobalG.A.P., and environmental organizations such as WWF, the Lake Constance Foundation and the Global Nature Fund.
Alliances for transformation
So what contribution can the food industry, which depends more than any other on intact ecosystems and their services, make to better protect and promote biodiversity? A total of 16 presentations, discussions in working groups and a concluding fishbowl discussion provided ideas and impulses that reach beyond trade: Tools that support farmers and companies to better manage biodiversity were presented. Lidl and GlobalG.A.P. reported on the initial experiences of 250 fruit and vegetable producing companies implementing the Biodiversity Add-On Standard. The BioVal research project presented the results of a representative survey that provided insights into consumers' needs and expectations around the topic. International supply chains were also focused on, and the basic set of biodiversity criteria for the tropics was presented, into which, among other things, the experiences from the "Del Campo al Plato" project were incorporated. Nestlé Germany and the Lake Constance Foundation presented initial results from the EU LIFE project "Insect Supportive Regions", in which action plans are being implemented beyond farms at the landscape level - this is also an important step in stopping the loss of biodiversity. Participants agreed that this major challenge can only succeed through cooperation. "That's why it's now up to the entire food industry to forge new alliances between companies, NGOs, the scientific community and certifiers to get products on the shelves that actively promote biodiversity conservation," said Peter Zens, chairman of Food for Biodiversity. "The conference made clear how many good reasons there are to address biodiversity and how much knowledge and good approaches are already available. We need to finally get serious about transforming to sustainable, biodiversity-supportive business models."
The Food for Biodiversity industry initiative
The Food for Biodiversity association was founded as an industry initiative in March 2021 with the aim of protecting biodiversity and contributing to the transformation of current food systems into sustainable and future-proof ones. Currently, the 27 members - including companies, associations, standard organizations as well as environmental associations and a research institute - are implementing pilot projects and working on the continuous improvement of important tools such as the basic set of biodiversity criteria, also developed in the UBi project, and the recently launched basic set of tropical criteria. The association welcomes new members.
Learn more about Food for Biodiversity
Food for Biodiversity e.V. c/o Global Nature Fund
Kaiser-Friedrich-Str. 11
53113 Bonn
Ralph Dejas
Tel.: +49 228 1848694 11



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