SDG 2: Zero Hunger – Why it matters to business in Australia

For many in the built environment, the conversation around sustainability is limited to carbon and energy; it is assumed that sustainability is only about environmental concerns. If we take the perspective of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for example, it provides a broader scope on sustainability. The SDGs include environmental concerns and highlight social and economic imperatives. We will be highlighting one of the 17 SDGs every week and relating it to how your business can help achieve these goals.

SDG 2: Zero Hunger

The goals of SDG 2 are to end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture. We will elaborate with the help of two of the eight targets.

Target 2.1: Universal access to safe and nutritious food

The focus of this target is on people living in poverty and in vulnerable situations, including infants. In 2020, between 720 and 811 million persons worldwide were suffering from hunger, this includes 1.2 million hungry children. Did you know that 30 percent of the population were moderately or severely food-insecure, lacking regular access to adequate food.

Target 2.4: Sustainable food production and resilient agricultural practices

Extreme weather events have a direct effect on the food supply chain. Ensuring sustainable food production that helps maintain ecosystems will strengthen the capacity for adaptation to climate change, extreme weather, drought, flooding and other disasters.

Hunger in Australia

To begin with, the The Foodbank Hunger Report tells us that more than one in six Australian adults can be categorised as severely food insecure. This means they experience multiple disruptions to their eating patterns and often have to reduce their food intake. The consequence of rising prices of fresh food also limits the access to healthy and nutritious food for many Australians which directly effects the public health.

Secondly a study by Malik et al. published in the scientific journal Nature Food shows that extreme weather events in Australia are raising more concerns since it is drastically affecting the food supply chain. The recent heavy rainfall and drought is causing failing crops which will result in a shortage, higher price and for many a decline in accessibility of fresh food in Australia.

Links with other SDGs

Having an impact on hunger in Australia can be enhanced by considering your actions and impacts in other areas:

  • SDG 1: No poverty: Poverty is directly related to food insecurity
  • SDG 3: Good health and well-being: The access to nutritious and sufficient food is vital for a healthy life
  • SDG 5: Gender equality: There is income inequality of small-scale food producers by sex
  • SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth: Creating opportunity for secure employment with wages that meet the basic needs of staff.
  • SDG 10: Reduce inequalities: There is income inequality of small-scale food producers by indigenous status
  • Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production: Ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns is directly related to this goal

What can you do?

As an individual you can make a huge difference: Here are some suggestions:

  • Donate to the Foodbank
  • Find a local food related charity in your neighbourhood
  • Support small-scale food producers
  • Buy local and sustainable products
  • Reduce food waste, don’t buy more than you need

What can your business do?

As a business owner you have the opportunity to proactively take action and inspire your team to support you. SDG Compass has a list of business tips that you can consider:

  • Buy local: Think about how you source your breakfast, lunch and other supplies. Do it local!
  • Provide healthy food to staff
  • Subsidise meals for staff
  • Collaborate with sustainable catering organisations
  • Provide secure employment and decent wage ensure your staff’s food security

What does sustainable development mean to you?

Do you want to know how your business can make an impact towards a sustainable future and help work towards the end of hunger in Australia?

Our Ready Reckoner self-assessment will help you understand how you can be the change you want to see.

Further reading:

https://www.climatechange.environment.nsw.gov.au/agriculture

https://www.nature.com/articles/s43016-022-00570-3

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