The global food system holds nearly 1/3 of human-generated greenhouse gas emissions. Out of those emissions, most can be attributed to agriculture and land use. However, food can be seen as an incredible solution. Also, the companies dealing in the food and beverage sector can help government and civil societies owing to their immense power to the major climate goals. However, if not done properly, they can also do the opposite.
“We’re not going to solve this by waiting for the government, COP, the UN, or anyone to solve it. This is something that requires individual action, and to be frank, it requires radical action,” Patrick Brown, CEO of Impossible Foods, says at a Global Landscapes Forum panel hosted by Oatly and moderated by Food Tank President Danielle Nierenberg at COP26 on November 6.
Numerous of the given solutions are instilled in the animal agriculture sector. As per Brown, discussing the food system as a climate issue is similar to calling out liquids as an issue in place of the oil sector.
Society, businesses, and policymakers are developing new business models that encourage eaters, farmers, and businesses alike. However, the major focus of the action will be highly inspired by learning what’s already functioning fair. For instance, indigenous people hold around 5% of the global population and around less than a quarter of the land; thereby, they maintain 8% of the existing biodiversity.
“When we think about what we should be doing differently, it’s learning from many of these Indigenous practices,” says Tania Eulalia Martinez Cruz, Indigenous Activist, and Researcher. Policies should be designed with this context in mind, she says, accounting for the rich tradition within Indigenous food systems.
Of course, there are concerns that consumers are posing a huge demand for healthier solutions that require in-depth insights regarding the supply chains. However, farmers are extensively suffering in the existing food system model. Businesses play a vital role in inducing a massive shift towards a sustainable food system that leaves no residue.
Oatly is dedicatedly working to welcome food products’ carbon footprints in front of labels and conversations relevant to sustainability. However, Apeel Foods is supporting the consumer to prevent the low-hanging fruit of food waste.
In addition, modernization is not the only solution to move forward. As per Louise Mabulo, Founder of the Cacao Project in the Philippines, localized solutions are much more economical and practical. The food system can effectively scale sustainably by exploring the sweet point where local knowledge means modern technology.
However, all the business production models required sustainability. The food and agricultural organization has shown the red flag and indicated that the planet has very few harvests left. If the businesses globally do not invest in sustainable practices right now, they will not be able to do any business down the line.
“If we move fast enough, is there potential for us to not just address food loss and waste, increase income opportunities by creating market access, but maybe even leapfrog the cold chain in some instances,” says Vieira.
According to Nierenberg, by forcing unconventional working and partnerships along with building on indigenous knowledge systems, transformation is not only possible, but it’s also necessary.