Rabobank and UN Environment kick-start $1 billion program to catalyze sustainable food production

HONG KONG, CHINA–(Marketwired – Oct 17, 2017) – Rabobank — the world’s leading food and agricultural bank — announces its global activation program, ‘Kickstart Food’, to accelerate the transition to a sustainable food supply. One of the first steps in this program will be the launch of a one billion dollar facility to initiate land restoration and forest protection initiatives.
Focus on Four Food Issues
The facility is being launched in partnership with UN Environment. It marks the start of a three-year initiative to kick-start and scale up Rabobank’s support for clients and partners in the transition to a more sustainable food and agricultural sector. The Kickstart Food initiative has four key focus areas: Earth, Waste, Stability and Nutrition. This facility is part of the first focus area: Earth, which is centered on sustainable and environmentally sound food production. The Waste program will focus on reducing food waste throughout the food supply chain. The Stability program aims to create a more stable and resilient food and agricultural sector. The Nutrition program will focus on ensuring a healthy and balanced diet for everyone.
Mission Critical Initiative
Chairman of the Executive Board Wiebe Draijer: “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 production practice globally. We are proud of this major initiative with the UN Environment. We will engage others to expand the initiative. It fits very well with our mission of Growing a better world together.” 
Commitment to SDG
With this mission, Rabobank embraces the UN Sustainable Development Goals. With the world’s population growing towards 9 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. Therefore, Rabobank is increasing its support for efforts to increase food production by at least 60% towards 2050 while reducing the sector’s environmental footprint by 50%.
Around the globe, Rabobank is actively promoting sustainability certification for its clients. The bank is also advising them on sustainable production methods and soil management. The facility together with UN Environment aims to offer grants and open the door for clients to initiate large scale land restoration and forest protection projects. It positively affects their risk profile, which leads to easier access to loans.
Building on Existing Initiatives
Significant progress has already been made in many areas by Rabobank. For example, in Brazil Rabobank has been promoting and financing Integrated Crop, Livestock and Forestry (ICLF) farming. Working with the World Wildlife Fund and local partners we will endeavor to restore underutilized or degraded arable land under the management of Brazilian farmers owning 17 million hectares (42 million acres).
Together with clients and influential partners such as UN Environment, the WWF and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Rabobank will increase and scale similar efforts around the world. A kickstart with Justdiggit will be prepared in Africa.
This joint effort with UN Environment is designed to be an open platform for others to join. Rabobank invites stakeholders from across the entire food and agricultural sector to join the Kickstart Food program.
Asia Holds a Significant Role
Operating in Asia since 1986, Rabobank Asia offers expertize in global food and agribusiness opportunities in a rapidly developing region. There are 3 areas within the “Kickstart Food” program that Asia has been focusing on for some time — trade, productivity and waste. To resolve the structural imbalances in Asia’s natural resources, Rabobank Asia has been actively facilitating trade in and out of Asia, providing its Asian clients with access to world markets; Additionally, Rabobank is actively partnering with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and a broad consortium of stakeholders in the food industry to improve productivity with lower environmental impact on Asia’s rice farmers; Lastly, the bank is also organizing and facilitating various innovation platforms and venture capital funds that focus on food and agricultural innovation which helps substantially reduce waste. In short, Rabobank Asia works to optimize Asia’s imbalanced natural resources and to connect Asian farmers to global markets, to increase agricultural productivity in a sustainable manner, and to reduce food waste in all agricultural supply chains across Asia to ultimately help Asian farmers make a living.
Diane Boogaard, Rabobank’s Asia CEO states, “We are uniquely placed to partner with our corporate and rural clients and all other relevant stakeholders such as governments, investors, NGOs, and research institutions, to take initiatives to sustainably improve food security and the development of rural prosperity in this region. We will be growing a better world together.”
For more information about Kickstart Food: www.rabobank.com/growingabetterworldtogether 
For more information about the facility: http://www.unep.org/newscentre/rabobank-and-un-environment-announce-new-billion-dollar-partnership-kickstart-climate-smart
About Rabobank Group
Rabobank is an international financial services provider operating on the basis of cooperative principles. It offers retail banking, wholesale banking, private banking, leasing and real estate services. As a cooperative bank, Rabobank puts customers’ interests first in its services. Rabobank is committed to being a leading customer-focused cooperative bank in the Netherlands and a leading food and agri bank worldwide. Rabobank employs approximately 44,600 people internally and externally. Rabobank Group is active in 40 countries. For more information about the Rabobank Group, go to www.rabobank.com.