The We Forum has suggested three “must haves” in order to maintain, grow and feed our world in the most sustainable and healthy way possible.
They report that today, for every dollar spent on food, society pays two dollars in health, environmental, and economic costs– which amount to $5.7 trillion per year globally – and equal those related to issues such as obesity, diabetes, and malnutrition.
Here are their three ways to build a better circular economy for our food:
1. Source food grown regeneratively and, where appropriate, locally.
By interacting with producers in their peri-urban and rural surroundings, cities can can collaborate with farmers and reward them for adopting these beneficial approaches and use their demand power to move to active catalysts. Examples of regenerative agricultural practices include shifting from synthetic to organic fertilisers, using crop rotation, and promoting biodiversity through increased crop variation.
2. Make the most of food
We Forum says that we have to make the most of our food. Rather than disposing of surplus food, cities can redistribute it to help tackle food insecurity to those in need. Food supply and demand can be better matched, storage improved to minimise spoilage, and soon-to-expire products discounted.
3. Design and market healthier food products
Plant-based proteins require far fewer natural resources, such as soil and water. Using food by-products as ingredients and avoiding certain additives that harm the soil.
Together, they say, these three ambitions are worth $2.7 trillion by 2050. Greenhouse gas emissions would decrease by 4.3 Gigatonnes (Gt) of CO2 equivalents, which corresponds to taking one billion cars permanently off the road.