Photo of Massimo
Massimo Bottura, Chef, food systems activist and UNEP Goodwill Ambassador poses in front of Goal 2 at the SDG Pavilion in New York. Photo credit: UN Partnerships/Patrick Delisser
29 September 2023

Halftime Talk with Massimo Bottura, Chef, Activist and UNEP Goodwill Ambassador

At the SDG Pavilion, Massimo Bottura, Chef, food systems activist and UNEP Goodwill Ambassador shares his inspiring Halftime Talk for a better world.

We caught up with Massimo Bottura, Chef, food systems activist and UNEP Goodwill Ambassador at the SDG Pavilion during the UN General Assembly. He is using the platform and visibility he’s built to amplify good messages to the world—especially when it comes to showing people how they can help to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). “I care. I care about my future. Our future. That's why I'm doing what I do,” he says.

Food security for the world 

Each and every day, tons of edible food are lost and wasted. It’s not limited to retail and food services—it’s happening in our households too. We need an urgent change in the global food and agriculture system. 

A longtime voice in promoting sustainable food systems and an activist for people living with food insecurity, Bottura outlined that: “We produce food for 12 billion people and we waste 33% of what we produce. This is something insane.”

With the impacts of the pandemic and rising food prices, we must push for progress to achieve Goal 2: Zero Hunger. “800 million people don't have access to food,” he shares. It’s time to act now.

Photo of Massimo and Annemarie
Massimo Bottura, Chef, food systems activist and UNEP Goodwill Ambassador takes a tour of the SDG Pavilion Global Goal 2 with Executive Director of UN Partnerships Annemarie Hou. Photo credit: UN Partnerships/Pier Paolo Cito

Actions you can take, according to Chef Massimo:

Small steps can make a big change. Bottura advocates for putting a stop to food waste through a few simple actions at home, while dedicating more time and efforts to shop locally and seasonally. 

“What we should do all together—because we are the revolution you know—is just buy local, buy with consciousness and the sense of responsibility,” says Bottura. “You’re going to eat better. Also, you're going to save money.”

The benefits are endless to working in your community to end hunger and overconsumption. 

A testimony to persevere in the Second Half

The SDGs are down at halftime, but any given match is won in the second half—that’s what the SDG Halftime Campaign is all about. Bottura reflected on a time when he struggled and was down during his career and advocacy work for transforming food systems and raising his voice for people in need.

“I had my ideas and I believed in my ideas. I kept fighting for my ideas and I had to sell everything I had that time, for years, after years, after years until someone recognized what I was doing.”

Massimo Bottura has remained strong in his call to action since the beginning of his journey. He shared that at times people would question his words, but he never gave up. His journey of perseverance and resilience can be applied to any cause you believe in—whether it be food security, sustainability or ending inequalities. 

“I understood the importance of me stepping out of the kitchens and sharing all my experiences with people, they really need power and strength to keep going in their everyday life.”

We can all learn from Bottura and apply this motivation to keep going and work together to achieve the SDGs for people and planet.