Two landmark reports say time is running out for change – but 2021 could be a turning point
Time is running out for mankind to make the changes needed to continue feeding itself. Food production has been the biggest destroyer of biodiversity in recent decades, the damage to the natural world has been dramatically undervalued, and radical change to production and consumption is urgently needed to avoid collapse of food systems.
So said two landmark reports in the past week – ‘The Economics of Biodiversity: The Dasgupta Review’ commissioned by the UK government, and ‘Food system impacts on biodiversity loss’ by Chatham House.
Yet the next 12 months could also see a new dawn for the world’s food systems. For decades, food has driven issues in public health, nutrition, and environmental sustainability, and 2021 presents a unique opportunity to put things right.
A series of international summits has raised hopes that governments can be catalysed into action in addressing the need to balance our ever-growing food demands against the burden such production can place on the natural world. Alongside that, governments will continue to pump unprecedented levels of public investment into economies recovering from the global pandemic, many in search of a ‘green recovery’.
The big issue is what the roadmap for food systems reform would be. It’s a question the two reports set out to answer.
So what are they proposing? What would those proposals mean for the food sector? And what are the prospects for change?