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The purpose of Responsible Global Commodities Initiative:
The RGCI is an educational forum that addresses the challenges associated with global commodities. The Initiative will:
Responsible global commodities means internationally produced and traded goods that are excavated, grown, harvested, processed, and/or distributed in a way that comports with global policy’s, company standards, and local conditions such that the activities have a positive net impact on the relevant communities (stakeholders) and sustains competitiveness.
The importance of RGCI:
There are a number of challenges in our global commodity system which affect our daily lives even though we may not realize it; everything from:
Government policy - a combination of deregulation, liberalization, and market-based policies for agricultural commodity dependent countries has proven misguided since global commodities represent significant portions of their revenue sources; state marketing boards were even removed and foreign supplies of financing twisted local markets.
Price volatility - the primary driver to price volatility rests in global commodities - foods such as maize, soya, wheat, dairy, sugar, coffee, and cocoa, among others - in all representing the backbone of the food system and accounting for upwards of 80% of total human caloric intake.
Inclusion of local producers - small holders have traditionally been excluded from industrial agriculture which is a form of production that has shaped our global food system; even the labor rights of those working in the industry have fallen off our radar screen, culminating in the worst farmer suicide rates in history.
Conservation of biodiversity - the environment has conventionally been seen as a good to exploit and not preserve, and therefore policies have never favored protecting these resources. Often this leads to deforestation and exacerbates our global climate change related issues.
Human health - is impacted with ever increasing use of synthetic fertilizers for pesticides, herbicides, and inducing agents for transportability.
Sustainability - with our food traveling such far distances, the consumption of petro-chemicals is exacerbated; our use of toxic chemicals further depletes soils and creates pollution and dead zones in our waterways, preventing the necessary bacteria of life to flourish.
Local Markets - as a result of food grown in weakly governed countries and destined for export, local food security has decreased; it has even shifted cultural habits of eating, for instance with wheat being such a large export under the US PL 480 Food for Peace program, the only food available in some cases are non-traditional or non-indigenous food staples.