New Sustainability Strategies Threaten Food Security

NGO report reveals the danger of strategy to capture global food supply chains

Melbourne, Australia – In a new report released today the pro-development NGO, World Growth, exposed the breathtaking ambition of the world’s largest environmental NGO, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), to control global supply chains of vital food products. WWF’s strategy threatens to restrict trade and business and undermines efforts to increase global food supplies.  The report – “Abuse of Sustainability Standards – An Attack on Free Trade, Competition and Economic Growth,” shows how WWF and major global food corporations like Unilever are working together to capture markets and dictate food standards in developing countries, while limiting consumer choice in rich countries.

World Growth Chairman and former Ambassador to the GATT (the predecessor to the World Trade Organization) Alan Oxley released the following statement:

“WWF is working with major global companies to seize control of global supply chains of vital food stuffs under the guise of improving the environment. As a result, farmers in rich and poor countries alike and consumers in rich countries face the prospect of higher prices and limited choice. At a time when global food production should be expanding to meet burgeoning global demand, this strategy will limit production.

“WWF has declared a new strategy – ‘Transforming Markets’ – to capture supply chains in key products such as timber and paper, palm oil, soy, fish, beef, dairy and sugar to force their sustainability standards onto farmers and restrict consumer choice. It is enlisting businesses which control key links in global supply chains as partners to demand suppliers meet these standards, including retailers like Wal-Mart and consumer goods manufacturers like Nestlé.
 
“For 20 years WWF has tried, without success, to convince consumers to voluntarily buy only products which meet its sustainability standards. Now its strategy is to limit the choice for consumers and pressure retailers and manufacturers to demand farmers apply WWF Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) standards. Generally these standards override national environmental policies and impose limits on farming.
 
“Industry executives like the CEO of Unilever, have reportedly conceded that the new products will be more expensive and that the increased costs will have to be borne by producers.
 
“Environmental NGOs have pressed for years for sustainability screening of imports. A current example is an EU control on imports of biofuels. Now they seek to enlist major food producers and retailers as partners in strategies to control supply chains.
 
“This is bad news all round. The result will be higher costs for producers in developing countries and higher prices for consumers in developed economies.”

Click here to read the report, Abuse of Sustainability Standards – An Attack on Free Trade, Competition and Economic Growth.

To speak with World Growth’s experts or find out more about its work, please email media@worldgrowth.org or call +1-866-467-7200.

World Growth is a non-profit, non-governmental organization established to expand the research, information, advocacy, and other resources to improve the economic conditions and living standards in developing and transitional countries. At World Growth, we embrace the age of globalization and the power of free trade to eradicate poverty and create jobs and opportunities. World Growth supports the production of palm oil and the use of forestry as a means to promote economic growth, reduce poverty and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. World Growth believes a robust cultivation of palm oil and forestry provides an effective means of environmental stewardship that can serve as the catalyst for increasing social and economic development.  For more information on World Growth, visit www.worldgrowth.org.

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