FELTHAM, England--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Europe’s leading frozen foods company, Nomad Foods and WWF, the world’s leading conservation organisation, today announced a partnership that seeks to find agricultural solutions to the “triple challenge” of feeding a growing global population, while tackling the climate crisis and reversing biodiversity loss.
The partnership will focus initially on two main projects centred around vegetable production. One, a blueprint for landscapes that can increase food productivity through “nature-positive” farming approaches; the other, dedicated to measuring the impact of biodiversity at farm level to target interventions and find new ways of increasing pollinators such as bees and other species.
On pack communication for consumers, explaining how Nomad Foods brands and WWF are “working together to protect bees, butterflies and plants” will roll-out initially across four countries, starting with iglo Belgium and Portugal and Findus Spain in April 2021, followed by Birds Eye in the UK in June 2021.
Stéfan Descheemaeker, CEO, Nomad Foods, said: “We want to help our consumers eat more sustainably by providing widespread access to great tasting food that is better for people, better for the planet and affordable. To support this, we are committed to sourcing 100% of our vegetables and potatoes through sustainable farming practices by 2025 with 77% of our own grown vegetables already verified as such.* Biodiversity loss is accelerating around the world. While improving biodiversity has been a focus for us and many of the farmers that we partner with for a number of years, I am excited that our collaboration with WWF will help us to extend our knowledge and create a much wider impact beyond our supply chain.”
Tanya Steele, Chief Executive of WWF-UK said: "Changing the way that we produce and consume food is at the heart of WWF's mission to build a sustainable future for people and nature. Our food system is one of the biggest drivers of climate change and nature loss, so it's a system we simply must change. That's why we're delighted to be working in partnership with Nomad Foods, not only to reduce the environmental impact of farming, but also to encourage people to eat a more plant-rich diet that's healthy for them and for the planet."
Nomad Foods is continually building on its sustainable farming standards in line with global best practices. It uses the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Platform (SAI Platform) Farm Sustainability Assessment (FSA) as a benchmark for farmers and the target is for all suppliers to be verified as minimum silver and progress towards gold. In October 2020, Birds Eye became the first farm management group in the UK and the first ever in frozen food globally, to be verified as FSA Gold Level for sustainable food production. In February 2021, iglo Germany was verified as FSA Gold for all “own grown” spinach, herbs and autumn vegetables. *77% of Nomad Foods’s total vegetable and potato volumes are grown in line with minimum FSA Silver Level and Nomad Foods expects to have more than 70% of “own grown” vegetables at FSA Gold by the end of 2021.
Nomad Foods is also a partner in The Sustainable Landscapes Humber Project – a collaboration with Yorkshire Water, Future Foods Solutions and Hull and Teeside University, announced in 2020. Over 40 farmers who grow peas for Birds Eye UK are planting a diverse range of cover crops to capture carbon, reduce flooding and improve soil health. (See notes to editors for further information.)
WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) is one of the world’s largest independent conservation organisations, active in nearly 100 countries. Our supporters – more than five million of them – are helping us to restore nature and to tackle the main causes of nature’s decline, particularly the food system and climate change. We’re fighting to ensure a world with thriving habitats and species, and to change hearts and minds so it becomes unacceptable to overuse our planet’s resources.
WWF. For your world. For wildlife, for people, for nature. www.wwf.org.uk
About Nomad Foods
Nomad Foods (NYSE: NOMD) is Europe's leading frozen foods company. The company's portfolio of iconic brands, which includes Birds Eye, Findus, iglo, Aunt Bessie's and Goodfella's, have been a part of consumers' meals for generations, standing for great tasting food that is convenient, high quality and nutritious. Nomad Foods is headquartered in the United Kingdom. Additional information may be found at www.nomadfoods.com
Notes to editors:
Food industry, GHG emissions and biodiversity
- The food industry represents 30% of global energy consumption and the agricultural sector accounts for around 23-25% of global GHG emissions, with livestock production being the highest emitter (source FAO Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Agriculture, Forestry and other land use http://www.fao.org/3/i6340e/i6340e.pdf )
- Biodiversity loss is accelerating around the world and the primary driver is the global food system. Over the past 50 years, the conversion of land for crop production or pasture has been the principal cause of habitat loss, which reduces biodiversity. The result of this is reduced variety of landscapes and habitats with up to 25% of European animal species now estimated to be threatened with extinction. Pollinators like bees are also in decline. As a major contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions, the food system is also driving climate change, which further degrades habitats and causes species loss. Unless the trend is stopped further destruction of ecosystems and habitats will threaten our ability to sustain and feed human populations. Changes in global dietary habits are needed and global food waste must be reduced significantly to reduce pressure on resources including land. Currently 1/3 of food is wasted annually. Source: Chatham House Food System Impacts on Biodiversity report Feb 2021 https://www.chathamhouse.org/sites/default/files/2021-02/2021-02-03-food-system-biodiversity-loss-benton-et-al_0.pdf )
Nomad Foods, biodiversity and regenerative agriculture
- At Nomad Foods, improving biodiversity has been a focus area for many years and as we rollout FSA, we are also identifying opportunities to cultivate biodiversity.
- In the UK, over one third of the pea farmers we partner with already have biodiversity plans in place, covering over 60,000 hectares of land.
- iglo Germany introduced flower borders around vegetable fields over 15 years ago, thanks to a partnership between spinach farmers and the University of Bonn. More than 70 kilometres of flowers have now been planted.
- In Sweden, we also use flower borders and in Italy we work with Tuscia University to help farmers monitor their work on biodiversity and implement action plans.
- In Italy, we also partner with organisations including the World Food Programme Italy, Marine Stewardship Council and SAI Platform to engage younger generations in sustainable agriculture through the “A Scuola di futuro” initiative.
- Nomad Foods is also a partner in the The Sustainable Landscapes Humber Project – a collaboration with Yorkshire Water, Future Foods Solutions and Hull and Teeside University, announced in 2020. Over 40 farmers who grow peas for Birds Eye UK are planting a diverse range of cover crops to capture carbon, reduce flooding and improve soil health. Trials show an increase in soil organic matter by up to 40 tonnes per hectare, which can sequester over four tonnes of atmospheric carbon per year. In just 90 days, the cover crop programme removed sufficient carbon to make 400 families of four in the UK carbon neutral for a year. The programme generated sufficient benefit to offset the impact of cultivation, making ploughing a net zero carbon operation. The project is being repeated in 2021 by our pea growers and we are also exploring how it might be replicated by wheat farmers, who provide the flour used in our Aunt Bessies range in the UK. While it is just a pilot, it demonstrates how farming can be part of the solution to climate change and biodiversity loss and indicates what could be possible on a larger scale to reduce carbon emissions and create a more resilient agricultural supply chain.