Guest Blog from Katerva: Embracing the challenge of feeding the world
Feeding 9 Billion People will challenge us to embrace agricultural practices that can produce enough food without creating too much harm for the planet. The challenges associated with producing a high enough quantity of quality food is outlined in the second Sustainable Development Goal put forth by the United Nations: Zero Hunger.
So it is no surprise that one of Katerva’s 10 awards categories focuses exclusively on Food. Our aim is to accelerate advances in food security, production, and more sustainable resource use in the agricultural sector. A growing human population is placing increasing demands on the agriculture system, which in turn places increased strain on the environment. Producing food sustainably will be essential to maintaining global stability and feeding a population estimated to reach 9.7 Billion by 2050.
Advancements in resource use, such as reducing water or fertilizer use can help limit the environmental impact of food production. But innovations will be required across the food system in order to address issues at all stages, from production, distribution, consumption to waste.
The wonderful thing is, once you start looking you can find such projects everywhere: from projects that help reduce plastic waste associated with food - such as an edible spoon or edible packaging, approaches to reduce waste in kitchens - such as winner of Katerva’s Beharioral Change category 2018, Winnow, to making sure less food is being thrown away because it is not ‘pretty’ enough such as 2018 runner-up Full Harvest Technologies. Previous Katerva winners in the Food category have addressed issues from crop growth to food storage to the development of consumer products to address the many unsustainable facets of the food system.
There are many innovators working to improve the sustainability of the food system. These innovations range from changes in individual dietary choices, to how food is produced and distributed. While the type and motivation behind these innovations vary, increased integration of sustainable practices in food can only bring positive change throughout the system. Latest innovations and trends that are currently reshaping the food industry are showcased in a recent Forbes article. For a global plan for feeding ourselves sustainably read “Nourished Planet”, a book edited by Food Tank founder Dannielle Nierenberg - Food Tank was part of our 2013 Awards Process.
This year’s Food Category and Grand Prize winner Protix, is tackling the challenge head-on by incorporating an underutilized resource into the food system in order to improve access to sustainable protein sources: insects. Insects offer an abundant and sustainable high-protein food source for livestock that can significantly reduce the environmental impact of animal agriculture.
Protix notes that “Insects have the amazing ability to turn low-grade food waste into valuable high-end proteins and fats…have a low ecological footprint and are the perfect sustainable alternative to regular protein sources” The limited resources required to raise insects compared to other protein sources as well as their ability to efficiently convert food waste into usable energy makes them a perfect choice for strengthening circular production in the food industry. Protix has used this approach to develop products for soil enhancement, and animal as well as human consumption.
There are many other changes underway aimed at making food more sustainable. Yet despite progress on reducing hunger worldwide, increased food demand from population growth and decreased production has led to rising hunger levels. The human cost of failing to address this disparity is far too large to ignore and will require a rethinking of how we view and produce food.
Much work remains to be done!
If you are aware of some exciting sustainable disruptive innovations in the field of food security, let us know, so we can help accelerate and scale them, for the benefit of all of us.
My new book Stakeholder Democracy: Represented Democracy in A Time of Fear (Routledge) is on advance order on amazon - out July 9th.
I would also like to thank my co-authors Jan-Gustav Strandenaes, Carolina Duque Chopitea, Minu Hemmati, Susanne Salz, Bernd Lakemeier, Laura Schmitz, and Jana Borkenhagen for their chapters - which are awesome!! While underscoring that my co-authors do not necessarily agree with the chapters written by other people.
The book will be out in July for the High Level Political Forum where we will be launching the book. Let me share with you the introduction for the book...and a few reviews out already. “A revolution is coming — a revolution which will be peaceful if we are wise enough; compassionate if we care enough; successful if we are fortunate enough — But a revolution which is coming whether we will it or not. We can affect its character; we cannot alter its inevitability.” (Kennedy, 1966) A changing world
The revolution that Bobby Kennedy was talkin…
Those who are reading this blog will know I am a huge fan of Principles as an important first stage to address key areas. We have the principles for responsible investment, the same for banking. We have principles for people first PPPs for the SDGs being developed by the UNECE. They in their latest on their forum call for other regional commissions to develop a similar approach relevant to their specific circumstances. Now we have some for Sovereign Wealth Funds.
For those who can remember this was one of the recommendations form the Resilient People, Resilient Planet: A future worth choosing The report of the United Nations Secretary-General’s
High-level Panel on Global Sustainability in 2012. The report said:
"174. Sovereign wealth funds are also important in this regard. The total assets of such funds currently stand at nearly $3 trillion and are expected to reach between $6 trillion and $10 trillion by 2013. Twelve new sovereign wealth funds have been established since 2005 …
Guest Blog by: Oli Brown Associate Fellow, Energy, Environment and Resources Department, Chatham House. The original is published here.
Make no mistake, when Erik Solheimresigned as head of UN Environment on 20th November 2018, less than two and a half years into what most likely would have been an eight-year tenure, the timing was not of his choosing.
The proximate reason for his defenestration was a damning report by the UN’s internal auditors, known as the Office for Internal Oversight Services. The report excoriated his travel expenses, which amounted to nearly $500,000 spent on business-class flights and hotels over the course of 22 months. It also detailed a variety of other eye-catching issues, such as spending nearly 80% of his time out of the organisation’s Kenyan headquarters and relaxing HR rules for favoured staff members.
It is vanishingly rare for Under-Secretary-Generals (USG) in the UN system to be forced out of office. Getting one of those jobs involves extensive lo…