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Supporting food industry efforts to improve agricultural biodiversity

Woman buying rocket lettuce at a market in Italy. Consumers' food choices have an impact on the planet and human health. Credit: Bioversity International/R. Faidutti

A new partnership between the Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and HowGood brings together two leaders in the effort to protect and enhance agricultural biodiversity.

New York, NY - With critically-needed insight into the current state of our food and agricultural system, HowGood and the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT will work together to bring decision-support tools to forward-thinking companies seeking to improve their environmental and social impact.

"The food industry is at an unprecedented crossroads," says Ethan Soloviev, Chief Innovation Officer at HowGood and owner of a small regenerative farm in upstate New York. "Choices are being made today that will impact our planet for generations and it is essential that the best research is put forward to support those decisions. The Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT has led the charge on agricultural biodiversity research for years and, as part of these efforts, it has produced the Agrobiodiversity Index. This is a tool that helps food systems actors understand to what extent they are sustainably using and conserving agricultural biodiversity and gives insight on how much they are exposed to risks, including climate change and pests and diseases. We are excited to bring these findings to decision-makers through our software solutions."

The Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT delivers research-based solutions that harness agricultural biodiversity and sustainably transform food systems to improve people’s lives. These solutions address the global challenges of poverty, malnutrition, climate change, land degradation and biodiversity loss. The Alliance is part of CGIAR, a global research partnership for a food-secure future.

The partnership with HowGood, an independent software company focused on research and sustainability, delivers on the Alliance mission by making it easier for food brands to prioritize agrobiodiversity impact in their sourcing decisions. 

HowGood develops decision-support tools to enable sustainability-minded product formulations. Their software is powered by a research database that considers factors ranging from how a product's ingredient is grown to the conditions under which it is processed, with an interface that is engineered to provide actionable insights to brands and retailers seeking to improve the impact of their supply chain. The addition of the best-in-class agrobiodiversity data from the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT will elevate their impact measurement tools with deep insights into the current state of crop and species diversity and agricultural land use.

The partnership comes at a critical juncture in the food industry. Small and large brands alike are realigning their priorities to meet consumer demand for sustainable products. Announcements like the Danone-led 'One Planet Business for Biodiversity' (OP2B) coalition, which includes 19 major food and beverage corporations, signal a turning of the tide in the prioritization of agricultural practices in product development. With the weight of Big Food’s resources being directed toward responsible sourcing, there is a urgent need for high quality research to be made available and accessible.

"It is clear that something is changing in the world of food companies. Big food producers and retailers are realizing that low-cost unsustainable practices today will result in enormous burdens tomorrow - in terms of production losses and lower food quality for example. Consumers are becoming more aware of their food choices and their impact on the planet and human health. They increasingly ask businesses to provide more nutritious food and to produce it in a more sustainable way. Food companies that increase the use of agricultural biodiversity will be those better able to respond to these requests and will thrive in a world of changing climate and increasingly scarce resources," highlights Juan Lucas Restrepo, Director General of Bioversity International and CEO-Designate of the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT.


If you are a brand or retailer looking for resources for sustainable product development, contact Ethan Soloviev at ethan@howgood.com.

For more information on the Agrobiodiversity Index, contact Chiara Villani at c.villani@cgiar.org.

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