On Thursday, January 19th, 2023, the EnvironFocus team hosted our monthly webinar series on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. This month’s focus was on SDG 2: Zero Hunger, which included the webinar titled “Feeding the World: Ensuring Global Food Security”.
SDG 2: Zero Hunger
In order to address the need for zero hunger, the United Nations General Assembly established the Sustainable Development Goal 2 (SDG 2): Zero Hunger, which is intended to be achieved by 2030. The aim of SDG 2 is to end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture. The Goal consists of several targets which provide a framework for the necessary actions to enhance the opportunities to achieve zero hunger.
This webinar, hosted by the CEO and Founder of EnvironFocus, Obie Agusiegbe, featured presentations by expert guest panelists, Matthew Bunch & Danielle Paydli from The Hunger Project Canada, and Cynthia Jean Batin.
Matthew Bunch & Danielle Paydli
Matthew Bunch & Danielle Paydli discussed The Hunger Project and what they do to fight the issue of world hunger. The Hunger Project understands the importance of community-led projects and work that can be done at a community level. Their Mission Statement is “to end hunger and poverty by pioneering sustainable, grassroots, women-centered strategies and advocating for their widespread adoption in countries throughout the world”. Matthew and Danielle work with The Hunger Project to achieve these mission goals but not without acknowledging the many challenges we face in fighting hunger. The speakers identified that the first step towards zero hunger involves shifting our mindsets to the importance of community action.
Their Epicenter Strategy, practiced by The Hunger Project, assists communities in developing their own hubs where people come together, enabling them to share knowledge, resources, and develop strategies. Typically about 5,000 – 15,000 people are united in these hubs, and achieve self-reliance over eight years through four phases. This strategy encourages the communities and their members to come together and form strategies and actions in different areas of their lives.
Matthew and Danielle discussed that over the years, there have been significant results. Over a five-year time frame (2015-2020), in the 22 countries they have worked in around the world, there have been positive impacts, especially for women. As Danielle mentioned, these positive impacts for women are “important because gender discrimination is a primary root cause for malnutrition”. The data collected shows that they have seen a 45% decrease in severe hunger, a 25% decrease in household poverty, 39% increase in female business ownership, and a 24% decrease in the prevalence of child marriage.
Some memorable quotes from Matthew & Danielle’s presentation:
- “Food is more than just a means to survive, it’s as important to our mental health as it is to our physical health. What we eat is really an expression of our culture and our experience. And is oftentimes the root of our most powerful memories.”
- “Food security is largely a result of a historical legacy, such as colonialism, prolonged conflict, climate change, unsustainable farming practices, and a host of complex and interrelated factors. It does not discriminate by race or gender, culture or geography, though it is more pervasive in some areas of the world and for some people more than others.”
- “Although there are really important and vital ways of working that need to be interwoven into development such as lifting up women’s leadership there is no magic formula that’s going to work in every community, each is so unique. That’s why all solutions to food insecurity need to be led by the community, for the community.”
You can learn more about The Hunger Project Canada by visiting their WEBSITE.
Cynthia Jean Batin
Cynthia Batin joined us to explore food waste management in the food service industry. Cynthia highlighted that the matter of food waste is important as it has economic, environmental, and social costs. The cost of wasted food is massive but large amounts of food are also going into landfills, adding more methane to the atmosphere every year. There are also social costs as this wasted food, if properly managed, could have fed millions of people worldwide that go hungry.
While walking us through the supply chain, Cynthia highlighted the importance to note that in global south countries where they may have limitations in technology and money, agriculture is where the majority of food waste occurs. While in global north countries where they may have the technology and finance to prevent food waste, it still occurs at other levels in the supply chain, such as processing and retail. This change is mainly due to consumer behavior but also strict quality control. Even though produce, for example, may be completely fine to eat, because it is “ugly” and does not look like the other produce, it may still be thrown away.
In the food service industry, there are multiple areas where food can be wasted. Cynthia goes into detail about some areas where food can be wasted including food waste during the preparation phase, and during the storage phase. Other ways food can be wasted can occur from serving loss, as customers generally order more food than they can usually consume therefore wasting the rest of their plate if they decide not to bring it home. Cynthia also took time to describe possible solutions to the food waste issue, which the food service industry can follow, but we can also follow at home. Examples include sourcing food locally, planning efficiently, using the “first in, first out” method, as well as the “nose-to-tail/stem-to-root” method, where all of the animal or all of the plant is eaten or used.
Some memorable quotes from Cynthia’s presentation:
- “Food wastage has a significant climate change impact as it is the third largest emitter of greenhouse gasses, which is approximately 3.3 gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent in the atmosphere. It also contributes to natural resource depletion because food wasted is also wasted nutrients, water, and energy.”
- “During the pandemic, the hospitality sector and food businesses were one of the most heavily affected. Due to the short notice, there was a lot of food and drink that went to waste. But there were also improvements in terms of how they managed their waste. For example, they are cooking in lower quantities to prevent spoilage in the future.”
- “Now that things are returning to normal, food wastage is returning. It gives a new opportunity for businesses to consider including sustainability and food waste management in their business plan.”
Visit her blog where she shares practical advice on household food waste management HERE.
We want to say a big thank you to our speakers for sharing their time and knowledge with us.
We also want to thank all of our attendees. We hope you found the webinar insightful and inspiring.
To access the full video, visit our webinar recordings page on our website.
Upcoming SDG Webinars
Missed out on this webinar? Don’t worry we host these sustainability webinars focused on SDGs on the third Thursday of every month. Currently we have 2 upcoming SDG webinars:
On Thursday 16th February 2023, we will be looking at SDG 3: Good Health & Well-Being.
On Thursday 16th March 2023, we will be looking at SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities.
In April 2023, we will have a workshop still to be announced. The idea of this workshop is to identify gaps around the UN’s SDG 2 targets and indicators and how co-op organizations can be one of the bottom up/grassroots solutions to SDG 2.
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