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New York City Confronts Global Food Challenges: SDGs #2, #3 and #11

March 26, 2019
By CSE
New York City Confronts Global Food Challenges: SDGs #2, #3 and #11

Of all the dumb sustainability challenges, food security and hunger may be the dumbest.  Ask Komal Ahmad, founder of Copia PBC.  The company using technology to “solve food waste and end hunger at scale” is proving so successful that they are hiring.

New York City is meeting this challenge head on with a combination of federal and state programs which range from financial assistance to nutrition guidance to food pantries.  There is also a significant “from the farm” movement combining farmers’ markets and community supported agriculture programs (CSAs).

Hunger, a problem addressed by multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), is one that sustainability practitioners can tackle.  Whether land management, agriculture, food production, water protection or distribution, crossing disciplines and industries requires systems thinking – integral to the training received by certified sustainability practitioners via the Centre for Sustainability and Excellence (CSE) programs.

Healthy food should not be a perk for those conveniently living near Zabar’s.  As a top food exporter, the United States should be able to feed its own population.  The US can tackle Zero Hunger (SDG 2), Good Health and Wellbeing (SDG3) and Sustainable Cities and Communities (SDG11) within its own borders.  If you live in Manhattan or Brooklyn, you pay much more for food than in the Midwest or South.

Affordable or ecologically sustainable foods are often out of reach for lower income individuals.  Coca-Cola and Sodexo (both having used CSE and the Sustainability Academy trainings) are providing healthy food in urban areas.  Gold Peak Tea has partnered with Feeding America to provide a million meals for people in need.  The project is lead by the head of corporate partnerships and operations.  We see sustainability skills reaching beyond the sustainability department.

Each spring, Food Bank For New York City holds a weeklong restaurant campaign that allows local restaurants and its patrons to join the fight against hunger. During the campaign, participating restaurants donate 5% of sales toward the food bank goals.

The US faces food security issues plaguing the rest of the worldwide: urban food deserts, human rights for farm workers, climate change, environment protection and diet-related diseases, to name a few. Who are the key stakeholders? What are the Materiality considerations?  No sector is left out.  Even transportation affects food security.  Are you ready to address these concerns?

CSE’s Certified Sustainability Practitioner Program (Advanced Edition 2019) offers training on these key topics and many others. The  first 2019 program in New York City runs June 6-7, 2019.  Building on this globally respected program, CSE has designed a fast-track program for C-suite executives to premier in NYC September 30–October 1, 2019. Stay tuned for more information.

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