The We Forum has suggested three “must-haves” to maintain, grow and feed our world in the most sustainable and healthy way possible.
It reports that today, for every dollar spent on food, society pays $2 in health, environmental, and economic costs—which amounts to $5.7 trillion per year globally—relating to issues such as obesity, diabetes and malnutrition.
Here are the We Forum's 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 collaborate with farmers and reward them for adopting these beneficial approaches. Examples of regenerative agricultural practices include shifting from synthetic to organic fertilizers, using crop rotation and promoting biodiversity through increased crop variation.
2. Make the most of food
We Forum says we have to make the most of our food. Rather than disposing of surplus food, cities can redistribute it to help tackle food insecurity for those in need. Food supply and demand can be better matched, storage improved to minimize 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 byproducts as ingredients and avoiding certain additives that harm the soil.
Together, the We Forum says, 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 1 billion cars permanently off the road.