Farmers in the field

Towards a future-proof food system

The availability of sufficient, healthy and affordable food to feed the world's population is one of the most urgent and complex challenges facing the world. By 2050 there will be 10 billion mouths to feed, asking for an overall food production increase of 60%. At the same time, our current food system has a substantial impact on the world’s environment.

Responsible production and consumption

Large parts of the world that were once covered by forests and wildlands are now used for agriculture. Climate change threathens growing seasons, soil health, fresh water and our biodiversity is in decline. To be able to help feed the world sustainably, the current way we produce and consume food must change. We believe we need to work towards a food system that meets the increasing food demand, uses available resources more efficiently and consciously, improves living standards for producers and reduces its impact on nature and climate.

A future-proof food system

Can we meet the increasing need for enough nutritious and affordable food for a growing world population? We think it is possible, although there is no single solution and there are still many dilemmas.

As a cooperative, customer-driven, all-finance bank, Rabobank is committed to contribute to a future-proof food system. A system that revolves around restoring balance and resilience: in nature, in farming and in business models. A system that can lead to make sustainably produced nutritious food affordable, available and accessible for all.

Supporting our customers

For our customers this means they are challenged to change their practices, invest in new technology and innovative practices, and comply with the administrative demands coming with new climate and nature related regulations and commitments. Helping our customers and finding cooperative solutions to today’s central challenges makes us tick, whether we are serving agribusiness customers from New Zealand to Brazil, or retail customers in the Netherlands.

As a global Food & Agri Bank active in both wholesale and rural banking, we are well positioned to support our customers to grow in a sustainable way. We connect farmers, traders, manufacturers and distributors in the same value chain to change practices offering opportunities to maximize impact, especially in high-emitting (primary) sectors.

Focus on five underlying transitions

Rabobank prioritized five underlying transitions, where we want to play a meaningful role in support of the entire Food and Agri sector, being:

Accelerate application of sustainable agricultural practices and promoting circularity

Agricultural systems that are both productive and regenerative will combine traditional techniques, such as crop rotation, controlled livestock grazing systems and agroforestry. This asks for advanced precision farming technologies which support more judicious use of land, water and synthetic and bio-based fertilisers and pesticides.

Diversify protein supply and consumption

Rapid development of diversified sources of protein would complement the global transition to more balanced diets. Diversification of protein supply falls into four main categories: aquatic, plant-based, insect-based and lab-cultured. These last three sources alone could account for up to 10% of the global protein market by 2030 and are expected to scale rapidly.

Reduce food loss & waste

Approximately one-third of food produced is lost or wasted. Producing food that is never eaten by people requires an agricultural area almost the size of the United States. Reducing food loss and waste by just 25% would therefore lead to significant benefits relating to the environment, health, inclusion and food security. Rabobank supports customers to reduce their food loss and waste to avoid unnecessary production and climate impact, targeting on a 50% reduction by 2030.

Strengthen rural livelihoods

Underlying all critical transitions is a vision of rural areas transformed into places of hope and opportunity, where thriving communities can adapt to new challenges, protect and regenerate natural capital and invest in a better future. Ensuring a just transition.

Make sustainable produces nutritious food affordable, available and accessible

To us, these transitions should in the end lead to sustainably produced nutritious food that is affordable, available and accessible.

Our customer solutions

We support our customers future-proof their businesses with financial solutions, sector knowledge and our networks.

Financial products

Our financial tools include sustainable loans, such as the Green Loan and the Sustainability-linked Loan. Additionally, Rabobank offers support through blended finance solutions, such as the AGRI3 Fund for sustainable agriculture and forest protection. We stimulate data-driven start-ups and innovation through the Rabo F&A Innovation Fund.

Sector knowledge

Sharing knowledge is another way we help customers make their businesses future-proof. Thanks to our global team of food and agribusiness analysts, we provide sector-specific insights covering everything from farm inputs to consumer foods. Rabobank also supports independent journalism in special reports and videos about sustainable food & agriculture produced by the Financial Times.

Global Food & Agri Networks

To find joint solutions for the challenges at hand, we make meaningful connections to our trusted partners, from business, government, civil society and beyond. Through our global network Foodbytes!, we connect forward-looking startups, corporates and investors to help turn today’s new ideas and technologies into meaningful, sustainable food and agriculture solutions.

Innovation

We continuously search for and develop innovative new financial products and business models that marry economy and ecology. For example, through our Acorn program we enable smallholder farmers in developing and emerging regions to generate Carbon Removal Units.

Our heritage

Rabobank is a cooperative bank with a mission. What began as a group of small farmer credit unions has developed into a financial services provider operating on a global scale. Together with our stakeholders, we have been dedicated to creating a future-proof society and tackling major societal challenges for 125 years. Our starting point is: together we can achieve more than we could individually.

Interested in how it all started and how the bank has developed over the years?

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