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Creative Finance Strategies to Catalyze Food Systems Transformation

Report highlights inspiring stories of innovative investments in local regenerative food initiatives that generate positive results for communities and nature

Published 05-24-22

Submitted by Global Alliance for the Future of Food

Creative Finance Strategies to Catalyze Food Systems Transformation

May 24, 2022 /CSRwire/ -The Global Alliance for the Future of Food and Transformational Investing in Food Systems Initiative (TIFS) today released a comprehensive new report that gives investors a roadmap of creative finance strategies that support entrepreneurs, farmers, activists, and social movements, and help to transform food economies towards healthy, equitable, and renewable systems.

The report, Mobilizing Money and Movements: Creative Finance for Food Systems Transformation, showcases six food-focused initiatives that have incorporated unique investment strategies that blend a spectrum of financial capital to stimulate social enterprise and achieve sustainable, equitable, and secure food systems. Launched to coincide with the opening of the African Agroecological Entrepreneurship & Territorial Markets conference in Kampala, Uganda, the report also builds on the Global Alliance’s “Beacons of Hope” project, which showcases global initiatives that are working to achieve sustainable, equitable, and resilient food systems.

Initiatives highlighted in the new report include:

  • Educe Cooperativa: A Mexican beekeeping cooperative applies Fair Trade and organic certifications and values to enable its 750 beekeeper members to thrive. The cooperative has strategically used external financing to advance its social, economic, and environmental mission.
  • Municipality of Copenhagen: The Danish capital manages its public food budget to jumpstart the consumption and production of organic foods. Nearly 90% of food purchased and served in the city’s public kitchens is now organic — a conversion that has happened within existing budgets.
  • Northern Co-operative Development Bank: An institution that funds local food production cooperatives and kickstarts rural development in Sri Lanka’s Northern Province, a region where residents are strapped with indebtedness and a mistrust of predatory lending schemes.
  • Organically Grown Company: The first North American company to use steward ownership as a business model to protect the sanctity of its vision and benefit a range of stakeholders: employees, farmers, customers, community allies, and investors.
  • Pun Pun Center for Self-Reliance: A farm, learning centre, and social enterprise in northern Thailand trains farmers to grow a diversity of crops and cultivates a spirit of self-sufficiency. It’s a different kind of business model led by independence, fair prices and true cost accounting, and a renewed sense of community.
  • Sylva Food Solutions: A pioneering Zambian entrepreneur proves that it’s possible to popularize traditional food by partnering with over 25,000 smallholder farmers. With tenacity and creativity, founder Sylvia Banda is an unstoppable business force.

Creative finance strategies and levers of change

The report details five strategies that organizations use to catalyze transformative food systems change, including:

  1. Mobilizing financial, in-kind, and social investments to generate multiple returns.
  2. Providing guaranteed markets
  3. Seeking fair and inclusive finance and returns
  4. Embracing models of shared ownership
  5. Using existing resources to create self-reliant systems.

It also outlines “levers of change” that the initiatives deployed to inspire action and direct funding from a range of policymakers, social entrepreneurs, bilateral and multilateral donors, social purpose investors, philanthropic groups, and others interested in contributing to food systems change. They are:

  • Account for the co-benefits that come from circular and solidarity economies
  • Invest in local agroecological knowledge
  • Build local processing infrastructure to create value for nearby farmers
  • Use procurement to stimulate healthy food production.

Rex Raimond, Director, Transformational Investing in Food Systems (TIFS) Initiative said: “In recent years, there has been a vital transformation within the financial sector, driven by the Paris Agreement net zero commitment, the rapid growth of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing and a promise from a growing number of investors to realize the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals. While this progress is welcome, finance leaders must go further. This report calls on the investment community – impact investors, fund managers, public donors, and philanthropic grantmakers – to think in new and different ways about how to bring about the urgent, transformative change we need.”

Lauren Baker, Deputy Director, Global Alliance for the Future of Food said: “As the world faces interrelated crises—from conflict and climate change to biodiversity loss and food insecurity— the stories in this report provide hope and prove it’s possible to generate social, environmental, and economic value at the frontlines of food systems transformation. These initiatives are visionary, yet also highly practical and grounded in place and culture.

“And they illustrate the nature of investments that can create healthy, nutritious food systems, promote soil health, and curb climate change. They urge us to ensure financial flows and investment dollars prioritize holistic and cooperative approaches that meaningfully engage all actors in food production, distribution, and consumption.”

Global Alliance for the Future of Food logo

Global Alliance for the Future of Food

Global Alliance for the Future of Food

The Global Alliance for the Future of Food is a strategic alliance of philanthropic foundations working together and with others to transform global food systems now and for future generations. www.futureoffood.org

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