Giving Compass' Take:

• Danielle Gould interviews Eric Kessler and Cyrus Kharas about investing in food systems to effectively increase biodiversity.  

• Are you prepared to invest in food systems? Are there local entry points for investing in the food system in your community? 

• Find out why women are key to achieving a more sustainable food system

DG: What is the business case for products that promote a more biodiverse food system?
CK & EK: The market has shown that the economic case for healthier foods sourced from sustainable locations via transparent and humane practices is strong and growing. If we think about how niche an organic market was 20 years ago versus the prevalence of organic produce and markets today, the trend is incredible. The markets for organic or local produce, grassfed proteins, fair-trade coffee and chocolate, and other products have emerged and grown is all an investor needs to see to understand the value the market is putting on environmental and social values like biodiversity.

DG: What investments need to be made to create a more biodiverse food system?
CK & EK: Investors need to support the development of the food supply chain and the creation of new technologies that support transparency and connect consumers with producers. It will be critical for entrepreneurs to effectively and efficiently reach the end consumer, which makes supply chain developments for small-scale farmers or innovative clean-protein products essential. Investments in technologies – ranging from biofertilizers to enablement software to get products in front of consumers – will be critical at each juncture of the supply chain to ensure an efficient market that can support businesses that have recognized the importance of biodiversity in their business model.

DG: How might we reinvent capital structures or create incentives to create more investment in biodiversity?
CK & EK: We already see great momentum in the investment world concerning biodiversity and healthy food systems. For one, there is much more money, attention and talent focusing on the sector. Naturally, that activity leads to competition, innovation and creative solutions. Demographic trends also drive more visibility of market opportunities in the broader food system. For example, many people understand that global population growth will require improved efficiency in food production and delivery. Cutting-edge companies are now exploring cost-effective ways to develop proteins to feed the growing population using controlled and sustainable methods, and investors have noticed.

We can also continue to look at technology for ways to reinvent capital or incentives for investment to drive improved biodiversity. With new technology, consumers can track where their food comes from and how it gets to them. This transparency will allow open and efficient markets to determine the supply/demand dynamics for products that build a focus on biodiversity into their model.

Read the full interview with Eric Kessler and Cyrus Kharas about investing in food systems by Danielle Gould at Food Tech Connect.