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Food and Agriculture Business Principles

Participate in the final online consultation to share your views on the draft FAB Principles (中文 | English). Click here to participate.  

With the world’s population expected to grow by 30% to 9 billion by 2050, the demands on agriculture will continue to grow. Agriculture occupies one-third of the land surface of the earth and is at the nexus of climate change, food and energy security, sustainable livelihoods, economic development and human rights. Business has a critical role to play in delivering practical, effective and scalable solutions to meet the global challenges of food security and sustainable agriculture.

While considerable progress has been made by the private sector to date – through mechanisms such as the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative and commodity roundtables, Governments continue to face challenges in aligning their agricultural, resource, export and import management policies with the sustainable development agenda.

To advance the positive impact that business can have in this space, the UN Global Compact is facilitating the development of voluntary Food and Agriculture Business Principles (FAB Principles) in collaboration with key civil society organizations and experts. The FAB Principles will:

  • articulate a common understanding and agreement on the resources, ecosystem services and socio-economic impacts needed to build resilience into agricultural supply systems and the markets that they serve.
  • support the objectives of relevant UN agencies by offering a basis for responsible businesses to align to the goals of the UN as articulated in the Rio+20 outcome document The Future We Want; and
  • provide a framework for furthering good practices, and for developing effective private and public sector policies and partnerships.

The development of the FAB Principles is proposed in response to the need for a common understanding between existing standards and industry initiatives. Today global thinking on what constitutes sustainable agriculture remains fragmented. Existing schemes, including certification standards, are not designed to address global agricultural challenges in a holistic fashion and often are not inclusive of the majority of the world’s small farmers. By defining broadly accepted business principles and building upon progress made, the FAB Principles are aimed at filling gaps between crop-specific initiatives developed and led by industry and government.


See an overview of the FAB Principles and the consultation process. The video features insights from a consultation hosted by the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Parliament, in Brussels on 11 February 2014.




Following outlines the major milestones and material developed during the process to establish the Food and Agriculture and Business Principles. Click here to read the comprehensive programme plan

Year Phase Key Activities and Outputs Relevant Material
2012 Preparatory
  • Background paper released by Earth Security Initiative that outlines the opportunities found in addressing resource scarcity and food security
  • Identification of programme design, management structure and programme schedule
  • Constitution of the FAB Principles Steering Group (SG) and Core Advisory Group (CAG) developed
  • Reference materials from CAG gathered


2013 Drafting the White Paper
  • Three in-person meetings of the CAG
  • Involvement and coordination with UN Agencies that have a focus on food and agriculture
  • Development of White Paper identifying key factors and outcomes. The white paper served as the basis for input to the Consultation process

White Paper: 中文 | English

2013 Consultation on White Paper
  • Feedback to White Paper collected via online questionnaire
  • Global Compact Local Network-led country-level consultations
  • Expected outcomes include a revised White Paper incorporating stakeholder input and recommendations on the draft FAB Principles

Consultation synthesis report, prepared by Wageningen University & Research, Centre for Development Innovation

Local Consultation Reports

2013 First Draft of SABPs
2014 Consultation on Draft SABPs
  • Second online questionnaire estalibshed for gathering feedback to draft FAB Principles
  • Regional consultations in Asia, Latin America, Africa, Europe & North America
  • Local Network-led Country-level consultations
  • Expected outcome: Revised FAB Principles based on stakeholder input, and recommendations on final FAB Principles
2014 Final Draft of SABPs
  • CAG will meet to finalize the FAB Principles based on input from online and in-person consultations
  • Expected outcome: Final FAB Principles
Ongoing Promotion and uptake of SABPs
  • Promotion of the FAB Principles among business, Government, and other stakeholders as well as across the UN System as a basis for building partnerships.
  • Gathering case examples of the FAB Principles in practice in order to facilitate greater uptake throughout relevant industries and key stakeholders.


General Inquiries: sustainable.agriculture (at) unglobalcompact.org

Puvan Selvanathan
Special Advisor, Sustainable Agriculture
UN Global Compact
puvan (at) unglobalcompact.org

Adrienne Gardaz
Policy Adviser & Programme Manager
UN Global Compact
gardaz (at) un.org