By Charles Miers, Managing Director of Footprint.
Can we ever really ‘feed the world’? GM crops have been given the ‘thumbs up’ by the European Union, sugar farmers in South America are being squeezed by large corporations, and dangerous substances are being found in products in India. These scandals, alongside global agricultural upheaval and increased populations, means the food supply chain has never been more important to scrutinize. Charles Miers, Managing Director of leading sustainability consultancy Footprint, based in London, shares thoughts on tackling the challenges of today to meet the demands of tomorrow. Securing the food supply chain is very easily one of the most important issues of our time. The global population is growing exponentially; the United Nations predicts that there will be 9.7 billion mouths to feed in 2050, an increase of 2.4 billion on today’s count, which will require 70% more food. But it’s not production that is the issue; we are certainly able to grow the food we need for everyone. 4 | SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE
The main challenge is enhancing the sustainability of the food supply chain on an international level, incorporating economic, social, and environmental elements. It’s by no means an easy task, but it’s one which must be achieved to avoid some very dire consequences. Collaboration is key. Governments and the private sector must work together on this important issue and it must transcend borders because it is a worldwide issue, and one that threatens to be highly explosive; we all witnessed the winter of 2010 when rising food prices contributed to civil unrest in the Middle East and led to the toppling of two leaders. Then we have to look at the issues of climate change which will continue to have a huge impact on the wider agricultural Industry. In 2010, Russia suffered a severe heatwave, generally considered to be the result of global warming, which led to huge crop losses costing billions of dollars. The farming sector will always be at the mercy of