After Lockdown – the next challenge….

Although Covid is still a huge threat to lives across the world, with the recent surge in India, referred to in the Economist as ‘catastrophic’, of particularly grave concern; the U.K. is opening up and the prospect of our lives returning to ‘normal’ may now be on the horizon.

The thoughts of many are turning again to the climate emergency and the realisation that the world cannot and, in fact, must not return to the ‘old normal’.

In the future, will this decade be remembered as the one in which world leaders united to turn the tide or will it be seen as a failure?

The IPPC estimated, in 2019, that Agriculture is responsible for 8.5% of greenhouse gas emissions with a further 14.5% coming from land useage change (ie land clearing and deforestation by farmers in the developing world).

Food and agribusiness supply chains, and those companies who control and manage them, therefore have a huge role to play in addressing the impact of climate change and indeed consumers, across the globe, are increasingly expecting and demanding that they do so.

Sophisticated supply chain mapping can ensure that, for example, soy and palm are deforestation and conversion free (DCF) and engagement with and market based incentives for farmers can change their behaviours.

Sustainable grazing practices, along with carbon sequestration, are being introduced in Canada and across 1 million acres the southern plains of Texas, which produces 30% of all US beef and The Guardian reported recently, that seaweed in cattle diets has now proven effective in reducing greenhouse gasses.

Environmental Impact

Demand driven, rising aquaculture and seafood production must and can go hand in hand with better fish welfare, sustainable feed ingredients sourcing and improved farm productivity, in order to significantly reduce its environmental impact.

Difficult decisions have to be taken and bold targets must be set, but, as has been demonstrated in last year’s rapid development of successful Covid vaccines, this is entirely possible.

Alongside the Covid pandemic, sits one of pollution which, reportedly, accounts for 7 million premature deaths every year and can be harmful even at low levels.

(Although many have challenged the bleak portrayal of the health of the worlds‘ oceans, as set out in ‘Seaspiracy’,)  Dr Howard Dryden, of the Goes Foundation at Edinburgh University also sends out a stark message:

‘ The oceans represent our greatest carbon bank with a potential to sequester most of the carbon generated by the burning of fossil fuels, but productivity and biodiversity in the oceans has dropped 50% and is decreasing at the rate of 1% per year. ‘

Hopefully COP26, in Glasgow, will highlight the extent to which we ‘have neglected nature and the biological mechanisms for regulating the environment’ and so start to bring about real change and drive ecological regeneration.

Addressing these threats, possibly the greatest that the world has ever faced, requires talented people and team work across businesses and organisations in both the private and public sectors, worldwide.

New Challenges

New challenges and opportunities abound across the whole of Agribusiness, Food Production and Food Manufacturing. Many are and will be be in areas, as was the case, until recently, with plant based meat alternatives, that are almost entirely new.

They all have one thing in common.

They all require Talent.