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How can we feed the planet sustainably?

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In recent decades, the food industry has been Wasteful, Idle, Lopsided and Dirty (WILD). We’ve been over exploiting crops and destroying the earth’s most important resources, including land quality and biodiversity. Today, our food production accounts for around 30% of the world’s energy consumption and 22% of global greenhouse gas emissions which is more than all transportation emissions combined.1 By 2100, the planet’s population is set to reach 10 billion. Feeding this population a healthy diet within the earth’s boundaries requires an urgent transition to a sustainable model – one that is Circular, Lean, Inclusive and Clean (CLIC™).

The COVID-19 pandemic, whilst abruptly devastating millions of lives and disrupting our economies, also highlighted the fragility of our food chains and accelerated the urgency to transition to a sustainable food system. Companies are leading the way by developing game-changing innovations in food production, waste reduction and in promoting dietary choices. We believe this sustainable agriculture revolution should offer investors cause for excitement. Transforming our food and land use systems may reduce costs by USD 5.7 trillion per year and create new business opportunities amounting to USD 4.5 trillion per year by 2030.

Over the past 50 years, meat production has more than quadrupled leading to a global production of 320 million tonnes each year3. Today, food emissions contributes to over a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions4 and livestock is responsible for up to 40% of these emissions. Yet, that’s not all. Livestock used for meat production also heavily contributes to land and water degradation, biodiversity loss, deforestation as well as intense energy use. As the global population continues to grow in size and wealth, meat consumption may not necessarily fall. A change in diet behaviour and the development of concrete solutions will be essential in turning the tide.

Worldwide, demand for healthier alternatives is growing at a startling rate. In the US, self-reported veganism has increased 600% in just three years, a trend mirrored in other markets5. A study finds that more than 50% of millennials are trying to incorporate plant-based alternatives into their diet6. Companies have taken actions to answe.