More than 811 million people globally are undernourished, more than 2.3 billion people lack year-round access to adequate food, and yet approximately 30 percent of all food produced is wasted each year. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the interconnected issues of world hunger and food waste and made clear the necessity of transforming the global food system if we are to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
On September 23, the UN Food Systems Summit discussed the changes and solutions required to transition to an inclusive and equitable food system that ensures nutrition security and protects natural resources. Coming out of the summit, more than 80 countries have submitted national pathways and commitments for how they will transform food systems at a local and international level.
Through company engagements, Mercy Investment Services is addressing food systems challenges. In collaboration with the Access to Nutrition Initiative, Mercy engages food and beverage manufacturers, including Kellogg and Nestlé, on the nutritional quality of their products, accessibility and affordability, and responsible marketing. Mercy and partners also engage retailers and restaurants on food waste reduction efforts. Darden Restaurants, for example, has more than doubled their waste diversion rate since 2008 and donated over 6.3 million pounds of food in 2020. Finally, Mercy and partners engage food and beverage manufacturers and retailers on transitioning to regenerative agriculture practices that promote soil and water health, protect biodiversity, and ensure farmer livelihoods.