Past Event

Private Sector Alignment with the SDGs and Accountability to Achieve Food Systems Transformation

September 16, 2021
8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
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In support of the UN Food Systems Summit, this event was co-organized by the World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD), World Benchmarking Alliance (WBA) and Fixing the Business of Food (FTBF)*

*An initiative led by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), the Santa Chiara Lab at the University of Siena (SCL), the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition (BCFN), and the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI).


The global food system must be fundamentally transformed to operate within planetary boundaries and to enable human wellbeing. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recognize the vital role of companies in achieving the goals, including mitigating the sector’s harmful impacts on human and planetary health and supporting broader SDG achievement.

Current sustainability frameworks, standards, reporting, and certifications do not sufficiently support or measure SDG alignment of the food sector; indeed, even as corporate sustainability efforts increase, corporate alignment with the SDGs continues to face fundamental challenges.

This session took stock of a range of initiatives to support SDG alignment of food companies, and to promote the rigorous discussion, assessment, reporting and action that is needed to support the necessary transformations.

It is in this spirit that we invited all food companies that are ready to play their part in contributing to transforming the food systems within their sphere of influence, to join us in this discussion.

The objectives of the session were: 

  • To engage all food chain actors committed to a fair, healthy and environmentally friendly food system.  
  • To showcase some of the initiatives to guide food companies’ alignment with the SDGs led by major actors from academia, UN agencies, business alliances, and civil society.
  • To exchange views on how these higher standards can be achieved by food companies of all sizes, structures and regions. 

Panelists shared their views on how current food company practices are contributing to or creating obstacles to achieving the food systems transformations, and shared their thoughts on how food companies can better align with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and what accountability methods are the most suitable.


  • Diane Holdorf, Managing Director of Food & Nature, World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD)
  • Viktoria de Bourbon de Parme, Food Transformation Lead, World Benchmarking Alliance (WBA)
  • Jeffrey Sachs, President, UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN)
  • Valérie Bizier, Office of Chief Statistician, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
  • Peter Schmidt, Head of International and European Affairs of the Food, Beverages and Catering Union (NGG); President of Delegation, Joint Conference of the Observatories of EESC

Moderated by: Barbara Buchner, Global Managing Director, Climate Policy Initiative

Introductory remarks: Guido Barilla, Chairman, Barilla Group and Barilla Foundation