The Folksam Group and World Bank join global call to action on food loss and waste

Wednesday, 03 April 2019

The World Bank last month launched the first Sustainable Development Bond to raise awareness for the importance of combating food loss and waste, focusing on the challenges outlined by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 12.3: halving food waste by 2030.

ICMIF member, the Folksam Group is the sole investor in the three-year, USD 300 million bond.

According to the World Bank, one-third of all food produced in the world is lost or wasted every year. Globally, if food loss and waste could be represented as its own country, it would be the third largest greenhouse gas emitter. The resources needed to produce the food that becomes lost or wasted has a carbon footprint of about 3.3 billion tons of C02—eight percent of global emissions annually.

At the same time, says the World Bank, approximately half of the world’s population is suffering from various forms of malnutrition: hunger, stunting, lack of key nutrients, and obesity - illnesses that stifle human capital development and create a costly public health crisis.

“With this investment, we can help to draw attention to the issue of food and resource efficiency. It is a key sustainability issue with far-reaching consequences both for the planet and human health,” said Michael Kjeller (pictured), Head of Asset Management, Folksam Group. “We strive for these goals through all aspects of our business, taking measures to improve resource efficiency in all our operations. This includes helping re-use and recycle customers’ damaged property and zeroing in on food waste in our own cafeteria. Every improvement counts, and I am proud that we can contribute in so many different ways to the goal of responsible production and consumption.”

Over the past two years, Folksam has invested more than SEK 10bn in bonds issued by the World Bank. Folksam says it put heavy emphasis on sustainable investment, and was also among three Swedish pension funds to have invested in a five-year “blue bond” issued by the Nordic Investment Bank (NIB) in January.

“Current food and other resource consumption levels are not sustainable. We need to urgently focus on how to feed a growing population without further harming the planet,” said Jingdong Hua, World Bank Vice President and Treasurer. “Through our partnership with Folksam on this bond, we hope to draw attention of investors to this global challenge, as well as highlight the role they can play in supporting solutions through their own operations.”  

“Halving global food waste per capita and reducing food loss along the entire supply chain by 2030 are essential to manage scarce resources and improve nutrition, as well as tackle climate change,” said Laura Tuck, World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development. “Today's bond issuance demonstrates the potential for innovative financing to make progress in this critical area."

The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) provides support to middle-income countries to address food loss and waste from farm to fork, with investments in infrastructure, access to markets and logistics, as well as waste management. For example, IBRD finances grain storage in Mexico to reduce post-harvest losses in maize, wheat and beans, while increasing the competiveness and market inclusion of small and medium-sized grain producers.

The IBRD is a global development cooperative owned by 189 member countries. As the largest development bank in the world, it supports the World Bank Group’s mission by providing loans, guarantees, risk management products, and advisory services to middle-income and creditworthy low-income countries, as well as by coordinating responses to regional and global challenges. 

Created in 1944 to help Europe rebuild after World War II, IBRD joins with IDA, the fund for the poorest countries, to form the World Bank.  They work closely with all institutions of the World Bank Group and the public and private sectors in developing countries to reduce poverty and build shared prosperity.