What is Giving Compass?
We connect donors to learning resources and ways to support community-led solutions. Learn more about us.
Giving Compass' Take:
• Thin Lei Win discusses the economic and environmental benefits of shifting the food industry into a circular economy model.
• While the health, economic, and environmental gains of a new food economy are significant, there are the major challenges for implementation and sustaining a circular model. Are you prepared to tackle these challenges?
• Read more about improving the food system.
The pesticide exposure, antibiotic resistance, air and water pollution and other factors caused by industrial food production could kill 5 million people a year by 2050, a new report said.
That is four times the number of deaths caused by traffic accidents globally.
Preventing that from happening requires producing food locally, using eco-friendly methods, eliminating waste and designing and marketing healthier products, said a foundation set up by record-breaking British sailor Ellen MacArthur.
Redesigning the food industry into a so-called "circular economy" model would reduce health costs, save land and water and create new business opportunities, said the report, launched Thursday at the World Economic Forum.
Under the current linear system, food enters cities where it is processed or consumed and only a small portion of the resulting organic waste, in the form of discarded food, byproducts or sewage, gets used again. In a circular economy, raw materials and byproducts are reused and very little is wasted.
Cities would need to source food produced locally in ways that regenerate the ecosystem, distribute the surplus to those who cannot afford it, and turn byproducts into new products from fertilizer to feed to materials for bioenergy. The benefits "could be worth $2.7 trillion a year to the global economy", according to the report.
Scientists are increasingly calling for systemic changes to the way food is being produced and consumed, saying industrial farming has led to a food system that contributes to climate change, cripples the environment and causes a malnutrition crisis.
Agriculture, forestry and other land uses are responsible for a quarter of the greenhouse gas emissions heating up the planet, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
Read the full article about the benefits of a circular economy food system by Thin Lei Win at Global Citizen.