FAO: The State of Food and Agriculture 2022

This flagship report published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) looks into the drivers of agricultural automation, including the more recent digital technologies. Based on 27 case studies, the report analyses the business case for adoption of digital automation technologies in different agricultural production systems across the world. It identifies several barriers preventing inclusive adoption of these technologies, particularly by small-scale producers. According to FAO, mechanical sorting of peanuts to reject kernels with high fungal infection has been extremely successful in improving public health.

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FAO: Transformational Adaptation Through Forests and Trees

This FAO technical paper, developed with leading experts from the Center for International Forestry Research and World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF) and other partners, unpacks the concept of forest-based adaptation and describes policy spheres that could bolster the role of forests and trees in providing adaptation and resilience benefits. It introduces a set of ten principles for using forests and trees to promote transformational adaptation. It describes the policy implications of each principle and draws on examples from diverse forest ecosystems and management practices to illustrate their application in practice.

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UNFCCC: Decisions taken at the Sharm El-Sheikh Climate Change Conference

The twenty-seventh session of the Conference of the Parties (COP27) took place from November 6-20, 2022, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt with a view to building on previous successes and paving the way for future ambition to effectively tackle the global challenge of climate change.  Decisions taken at the Sharm El-Sheikh Climate Change Conference as well as other relevant information can be accessed at the UNFCCC website.

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WBCSD: Forest Sector Nature-Positive Roadmap

On November 16, 2022, 15 leading companies from the Forest Solutions Group (FSG) of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) released Phase I of the Forest Sector Nature-Positive Roadmap.

Phase I of the roadmap rallies the forest sector behind a shared definition of nature-positive that is grounded in concrete actions to halt and reverse nature loss along the full life cycle of forest products.

To prepare forest companies for science-informed nature-related targets and disclosures, the roadmap is closely aligned with emerging frameworks from the Science Based Targets Network (SBTN) and the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) and aims to contribute to their development.

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Chile: New Study Suggests Native Bees May Improve Almond Trees Productivity

There are about 500 native bee species in Chile, with a high level of endemism (70%). The study “Sustainable pollination: adapting to climate change for fruit production in Chile”, published in November 2022,  is based on the recognition of the performance of Chilean bees, allowing producers to receive the fruits of a more sustainable management of the agricultural landscape in their contribution to food production.

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EU: Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive

The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), adopted by the European Parliament on November 10, 2022, with 525 votes in favor, 60 votes against and 28 abstentions, intends to make businesses more publicly accountable by obliging them to regularly disclose information on their societal and environmental impact. On November 28, 2022, the Council gave the final green light to the proposed CSRD.

The application of the regulation will take place in four stages:

  • reporting in 2025 on the financial year 2024 for companies already subject to the non-financial reporting directive (NFRD);
  • reporting in 2026 on the financial year 2025 for companies that are not currently subject to the NFRD;
  • reporting in 2027 on the financial year 2026 for listed SMEs except micro undertakings, small and non-complex credit institutions and captive insurance undertakings;
  • reporting in 2029 on the financial year 2028 for third-country undertakings.

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EU: EFRAG First Set of Draft Sustainability Reporting Standards

On November 23, 2022, the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG) delivered the first set of draft European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS) to the European Commission, in its role as technical advisor.

The 12 standards are expected to cover environmental, social and governance matters, and to provide a foundation for a legal regime of sustainability reporting under double materiality. They intend to further contribute to:

  • Alignment with final Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD)
  • Harmonized structure and terminology
  • Interoperability with the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

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EU: Gender Balance on Corporate Boards

On November 22, 2022, the European Parliament adopted the new EU law on gender balance on corporate boards. By July 2026, all big publicly listed companies in the EU will have to take measures to increase women’s presence at their helm:

  • 40% of non-executive director posts should go to the under-represented sex
  • Dissuasive penalties for companies that do not comply with the rules
  • Small and medium-sized enterprises with fewer than 250 employees will be excluded

In 2021, only 30.6% of board members in the EU’s largest publicly listed companies were women, with significant differences among member states (from 45.3% in France to 8.5% in Cyprus).

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Germany: Corporate Due Diligence in Supply Chains

The Supply Chain Due Diligence Act aims to improve the protection of human rights along global supply chains and, among other things, to prevent child and forced labor and ban substances that are hazardous to people and the environment.

The law, which will enter into force on January 1, 2023, will require German companies to establish appropriate and effective risk management for their supply chains that is integrated into all relevant business processes.

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Spain: New Law to Regulate Lobbies

On November 8, 2022, the Spanish Government approved a new law that regulates lobbies. The new regulation will oblige lobbies to register in a national registry system and follow certain rules for dealing with the public administration.

The Transparency Portal and the website of the Conflicts of Interest Office will host a Register of Interest Groups, which will show in detail their activity, especially what meetings they hold with senior officials or civil servants involved in the process of drafting or designing regulations.

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