GENEVA, SWITZERLAND — COFCO International has joined the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). The WBCSD describes itself as “a CEO-led organization of forward-thinking companies that galvanizes the global business community to create a sustainable future for business, society and the environment.”
“As a fast-growing global agri-business, we are committed to playing an integral part in the world’s food system over the long term, building on our core values of partnership and sustainability,” said Johnny Chi, chairman of COFCO International. “WBCSD offers a platform for further collaboration with stakeholders across various industries with the common goal of feeding a growing global population sustainably.”
With 12,000 people in 35 countries, COFCO International is the overseas agriculture business platform for COFCO Corp., a Chinese-based food agriculture company. The company handles more than 100 million tonnes of agricultural commodities each year.
“Transformation of the global food system is essential and will cover a wide array of sustainability targets,” said Peter Bakker, president and chief executive officer of WBCSD. “It’s not simply about reducing emissions in this sector — addressing malnutrition, providing healthy diets and improving the livelihoods and resilience of small farmers is just as urgent.”
The WBCSD partnership is part of COFCO International’s goal to contribute to a sustainable global food supply chain. The company recently partnered with Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM), Bunge Ltd., Cargill and Louis Dreyfus Co. to standardize data and digitize global agricultural shipping transactions. Together, the companies are looking to increase transparency and efficiency for customers through digital technologies, such as blockchain and artificial intelligence.
“As one of the world’s largest agri-businesses, the inclusion of COFCO International toward these efforts is vital,” Bakker said. “Chi has already overseen an impressive focus on sustainability across the company. I look forward to working with Chi and his team to scale up these efforts in tandem with our other member companies in this sector and with our council of over 200 leading businesses working together to accelerate the transition to a sustainable world.”
COFCO International also became a member of WBCSD’s Soft Commodities Forum (SCF) which includes founding members ADM, Bunge, Cargill and LDC, and Glencore Agriculture who have recently joined the SCF. The first focus area of the SCF is to tackle soy production land use challenges in the Brazilian Cerrado.
Other members of the WBCSD include Bayer, DuPont, Evonik, Kellogg, Mondi, Nestle, Olam, PepsiCo, Inc., and Rabobank among many others. Eight percent of the group’s membership includes food producer companies. Forty-seven percent of the WBCSD’s membership is made up of European companies, while North America accounts for 22%, Asia 22%, Latin America 5%, Africa 1%, Australasia 1% and Middle East 1%.