Rabobank has announced a new global programme that will enable the rural lender to scale up its support here in New Zealand for improving the health of our waterways.
‘Kickstart Food’, the bank’s new three-year global programme launched in partnership with UN Environment, aims to accelerate the transition to a sustainable food supply. The initiative has four key focus areas: Earth, Waste, Stability and Nutrition. One of the first steps in the first focus area of the programme ‘Earth’ is the launch of a US1 billion facility to initiate land restoration and forest protection initiatives.
The Waste programme will focus on reducing food waste throughout the food supply chain. Sustainability aims to create a more stable and resilient food and agricultural sector, while Nutrition will focus on ensuring a healthy and balanced diet for everyone.
Launching the new initiative, chairman of Rabobank’s executive board Wiebe Draijer said: “Our global lead role in financing food production urges us to accelerate developments on the sustainable food supply. With our knowledge, networks and financing capabilities we aim to further motivate and facilitate clients in adopting a more sustainable food practice globally. We are proud of this major initiative with UN Environment. It fits very well with our mission of ‘Growing a Better World Together’.”
Rabobank NZ chief executive Daryl Johnson says the co-operative bank works closely with clients in this country’s food and agribusiness sector to support them in developing initiatives tackling some of the most pressing issues facing food production and agriculture.
“The global Kickstart food programme will enable us to scale up that support considerably in one initial key focus area: improving the health of New Zealand’s waterways.
“The bank already has a strong focus in this area and we are engaged in a number of activities to help our clients and the wider industry to address water quality issues,” he says. “In recent years, this has included the development of a number of research reports on the topic, support for local catchment groups, as well as the running of practical workshops for small groups of farmers to help them better understanding the water quality issue and to get them to speed up on new regulations and on-farm environmental practices.”
Johnson says the bank is currently considering several new initiatives in the area and details will be confirmed in coming months.
“Kickstart Food is a long-term commitment for the bank and further focus areas may be added to the programme in the future.”
With this mission, Rabobank embraces the UN’s Sustainable Development goals, it claims. With the world’s population growing towards nine billion, the decline in available arable land and the impact of agriculture on climate change and the environment; food production is now at a critical juncture, it says. Rabobank is increasing its support for efforts in increase food production by at least 60 percent towards 2050, while reducing the sector’s environmental footprint by 50 percent. The bank is actively promoting sustainability certification for its clients around the globe.