Giving Compass' Take:

• The UN released the TEEB for Agriculture & Food (TEEBAgriFood) report outlining the health and environmental cost of food production around the world.

• How can philanthropists use this information to inform their giving? How can agriculture systems do the most good for the world? 

• Learn about tackling agriculture challenges through impact investing

The TEEB for Agriculture & Food (TEEBAgriFood) Scientific and Economic Foundations report released June 5th offers a ground-breaking platform to evaluate the real costs and benefits—including environmental, health, and social impacts—of our agriculture and food systems. This Scientific and Economic Foundations Report provides the basis for a major paradigm shift in how we view and manage our agriculture and food systems, demonstrating how to evaluate not just the visible but also the hidden costs and benefits. The timing is critical—with 10 billion people to feed by 2050 and 40 percent of available land already growing food—we need to consider new frameworks and models for how we grow, process, distribute, and consume food, and manage food waste.

Some of the consequences of our current systems outlined in the report include:

  • Agricultural production contributes over one-fourth of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).
  • When considering land-use change and deforestation as well as processing, packaging, transport, sale, and the waste of agricultural products, 43 to 57 percent of GHG emissions are from food production.
  • 70 to 90 percent of global deforestation is from agricultural expansion.
  • An estimated 80 percent of food consumed in food-insecure regions is grown there, mainly by women, while agri-business is a marginal player in food security.
  • According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, if women had the same access to resources (land, credits, education, etc.) as male farmers, they could raise yields by 20 to 30 percent and lift as many as 150 million people out of hunger.
  • Approximately one-third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year gets lost or wasted, enough to feed the world’s hungry six times over.
  • Unsafe food containing harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites, or chemical substances causes more than 200 diseases, and an estimated 600 million people—almost 1 in 10 people in the world—fall ill after eating contaminated food, while 420,000 die every year.
  • 61 percent of commercial fish populations are fully fished and 29 percent are overfished.
  • In a “business-as-usual” scenario, the ocean will contain more plastic than fish (by weight) by 2050.

Read the full article about the TEEBAgriFood Report by McKenna Hayes at Food Tank.