How do we create ripples of change? Insights from the Responsible Business Forum on Food and Agriculture

JAKARTA, INDONESIA - Sitting in the middle of Grand Hyatt Jakarta’s ballroom during the Responsible Business Forum, I had a thought: If every one of us in this huge room represents an organization that has already done a lot for many people, how much more could be achieved if we all worked together for a common goal?

 

During the two-day Responsible Business Forum on Food and Agriculture, I had the privilege of meeting passionate and inspiring individuals and being part of a collective dialogue working towards a better and safer future for all, where every person is provided with equal opportunities. Below are some of the insights that struck me most:

 

  •  The development of business models and forging of partnerships is not new to companies and organizations. Rather, the development of inclusive business models and forging of partnerships for development—these are new, as are the innovations that we hope to see more of.

  • The interconnectedness of the Sustainable Development Goals presents an opportunity for collaboration, not only using a “whole-of-government” approach but also a “whole-of-society” approach to deliver action.

  • Food security is not just about ensuring that there is food for all, it is closely intertwined with health and nutrition. It is imperative to shift from ‘eating what we grow’ to ‘growing what we need’ for a healthier society.

  • Today’s technologies will change tomorrow’s labor force, especially in agriculture. There is a need to map the roles of both men and women in value chains and capitalize on what each can contribute towards development. Development and business is intertwined.

  • Traditional development looks for ways to address the basic needs or social welfare of the communities, but there are also opportunities to transform project beneficiaries into farmer entrepreneurs that may go a longer way towards making society more inclusive and addressing perennial problems such as poverty.

  • The inclusive approach towards prosperity for all requires the buy-in of companies’ leadership. Decision-makers of organizations should take the lead in ensuring development becomes an integral component of the core business. Now is the time to map out the role for women in agriculture.

  • Technology is changing quickly and placing new pressures on the labor force; we must consider how women can contribute to value chains to maximize their impact.  

 

I can go on and list more insights shared during the forum, but what was also expressed by many participants was that now is the time to stop talking and take action.

 

So, how do we create ripples of change?

 

It begins with ourselves. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Everyone has a pivotal role to play, and persistence is needed to succeed. While we all hope that every dialogue for such advocacy will not just be paying lip service, I, as a mother, a development worker, and a communicator am already committed to playing my part, my drop in a huge bucket. After all, it is said, “It takes but one person, one moment, one conviction, to start a ripple of change”. Thus, in my capacity or even beyond, I will act hoping to create that ripple of change—for my son, for all of us, for the communities we hope to serve, and the generations to come.

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