November 16, 2022
Director of Global Food Security and Development Planning, National Security Council
Executive Vice President and Global Chief Impact Officer, McDonald's
President of Sustainability and Global Impact, Tyson Foods
Chief Philanthropy Officer, World Food Program USA
Vice President of Global Resilience, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of those suffering from food insecurity doubled from 135 million to more than 276 million. As supply chain shortages, changing climate conditions, and geopolitical conflicts continue to stall the production and distribution of food, public and private sector leaders are seeking innovative ways to combat the global food crisis.
During the 2022 Business Solves Corporate Citizenship Conference and Awards, several of these changemakers joined Rob Glenn, Vice President of Global Resilience at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, to discuss how collective action from public and private sector organizations can help build resilient food systems.
Private and Public Sector Leadership Can Help Combat the Global Food Crisis
When asked about the role global leaders can play in combatting the growing food crisis, the panelists addressed the need for support from both private and public sector organizations.
Jon Banner, Executive Vice President and Global Chief Impact Officer at McDonald’s, explained that the war in Ukraine has solidified “the need for public and private partnerships.”
“That approach is vital today to really take care of the problem and the challenge before us,” he continued.
Kathy Pickus, Vice President of Sustainability and Global Impact at Tyson Foods, echoed Banner’s sentiment.
“We cannot handle these challenges alone — as a business or as a government,” Pickus said.
“This is where the private sector and the public sector can come together on … priorities that are also profitable,” agreed Farrah Barrios, Director of Global Food Security and Development Planning for the National Security Council at the White House.
Building Resilient Food Systems Requires Innovation
The panelists explained that continued innovation is needed to meet the demand for food supply globally.
“We’ve gone a long way to reduce food insecurity across the world,” said Gabriella Morris, Chief Philanthropy Officer at World Food Program USA. “But through innovation … we can get this job done.”
“This is about doing things differently,” Pickus agreed. “This collective effort is a really great way to make those dynamic and disruptive changes.”
Barrios added that innovation efforts must focus on both short-term solutions and long-term sustainability.
“We not only need to address acute humanitarian needs for countries that are facing famine, but we also [need to] invest in medium- to long-term resilient food structures,” she explained.
“That’s something that I think has been lost based on the emergency nature of the crisis today,” Banner agreed. “Resilience is one of the ways that we can ensure that whatever crisis we’re facing today does not repeat itself 10 years from now.”
Collective Action Is Needed to Develop Sustainable Food System Solutions
The panelists explained that developing resilient food systems requires a collective commitment to sustainability.
Banner rejected “the idea that somehow the current crisis can afford us the opportunity to walk away from some of our sustainability goals.”
“You have to double down … and that means investing in sustainable agriculture,” he said.
“It’s about making sure it is beneficial — not only practical but sustainable,” Barrios agreed.
Morris reiterated the need for collective action to implement sustainable food systems.
“We all have a role to play,” she said. “That means we can all participate in solutions.”
From the Series