On the day of the Jakarta marathon, Dr. Gunhild A. Stordalen spoke at our first regional roundtable. Her focus responded to the energies of the bustling megacity, which on that day would see thousands of running enthusiasts navigating their way through its streets; encouraged by the cheers of the city and the buzz of competition to “make them run faster, further and be stronger than they ever thought possible”.

Her speech was all about the momentums of change, and how our perceptions of sustainable action can reach as far as and challenge the systems in which they are born out of. Recounting her own career, she traced how pace had once kept different sectors in distinct places. The sheer complexities of our globalizing world continues to blend and blur the boundaries which once separated these systems. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) raised the bar of potentials for a total shift in mind-set. Distinct knowledge and business practices were no longer fit enough to truly respond to the targets and to create any profound global change. She stated, “it has become widely accepted that system transformation requires coordinated efforts and collaboration across sectors and disciplines”.

The togetherness in the endurance of the Jakarta marathon runners that day signalled that speed alone will not enable us to achieve the #GlobalGoals. When surrounded by others, it becomes impossible to ignore and more plausible to interact. Yes, corporate benchmarking can help catalyse a race to the top, but their presence can also lay the foundations for more systemic change. The process of transparent tracking and ranking procedures can dual-impose credit for the front-runners and accountability for those trailing behind the pack. “On this planet, we are all one team. If everybody doesn’t cross the finish line in time, nobody wins.”

Eat Foundation’s focus on reshaping the food system into a health-driven, sustainable, efficient and inclusive force for change, represents an invaluable cog within the World Benchmarking Alliance machine. Our regional roundtable in Jakarta made significant headway in mapping out the pathways for cross-sectoral, dynamic action and we are extremely happy to have EAT as an ally.