We Are What We Eat

The Lempert Report
April 02, 2018

And the same goes for animals and the planet.

GreenBiz 18 took place in Phoenix in early February. Sustainability leaders from the world’s largest companies gather each year at the GreenBiz forum to explore pressing challenges and emerging opportunities in sustainable business.

The event offers a rich blend of presentations, workshops and networking opportunities framed by the State of Green Business report, GreenBiz Group’s award-winning annual research report, analyzing key sustainability metrics and trends. Attendees return from GreenBiz both inspired by what’s possible and ready to tackle their organization’s greatest sustainability challenges.

One of the most heated discussions was about protein. A question that the Protein Challenge group is focused on is that: As we approach the 9 billion global population mark in 2040, how will we feed people enough protein in a way that's affordable, healthy and good for the planet? 

We have already seen a substantial effort to use more plant proteins, and in fact at the recent Fancy Food Show in San Francisco it was clear that everyone was talking and wanting to develop more such foods. 

GreenBiz points out in a blog post that when consumers do eat meat, fish and dairy as part of a diverse diet, we need to make sure they are produced in the most sustainable way possible. Central to this is what we feed our livestock and fish. Animal feed, they say, is a vital yet unseen input to the food industry which has significant implications for environmental health and food security, but yet is rarely talked about. We use precious resources such as land, water and energy to rear animals. Forty-five percent of global greenhouse gas emissions from livestock production are related to feed production and processing. About half of global agricultural land is used for feeding animals, and more than a fifth of wild-caught fish is fed to animals. In many countries, livestock production is accelerating deforestation and biodiversity loss, as well as water scarcity — irrigation of feed crops consumes 12 percent of global groundwater and surface water.

Their new report, "Feed Behind Our Food," is a call for retailers and foodservice to recognize the vital role they have, as trusted intermediaries with consumers, to accelerate progress on sustainable animal feed by collaborating more with their supply chain, from producers and manufacturers to innovators and feed companies. 

Check it out. It is an articulate shared set of criteria for what sustainable animal feed looks like.