Stockholm (NordSIP) – As global interest in climate change and sustainable economic practices continues to gain ground despite COVID-19, policy-makers and sustainable investors must consider the future of the food industry, according to a recent article posted on the IMF blog.
Conjuring the memory of the panic purchases in the early weeks of the pandemic, which saw empty super-market shelves in the developed world for the first time in 80 years, the authors warn that “2020 will be a year of reckoning for the world’s food systems”. In the developing world, the impact of the crisis on economic activity is such that the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Program expect “a doubling of people starving may soon eclipse the coronavirus, unless action is taken.”
Beyond the failure of our modern food industry to completely eradicate starvation while facilitating obesity, authors Nicoletta Batini, James Lomax, and Divya Mehra highlight the problems posed by our unsustainable pattern of agricultural production. It “degrades natural resources faster than they can reproduce and causes a quarter of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions,” and is expected to account for another 25% by 2050.
To overcome these challenges, the authors recommend an economic reset focused on resilient food supply chains to mitigate food security risks, curbing overconsumption by retargeting agricultural subsidies and food taxes, regenerative farming and conservation. “By prioritizing food system reforms in our “build forward” agendas, we can instead make concrete inroads toward the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement,” the authors conclude.