Food Security is being pushed to the brink on account of the growing population.
The food on our plates is disturbing the planet on account of climatic change
Do you know that the solutions to these problems lie in the Food Ecosystem itself?
Achieving a Healthy and Sustainable Food future is urgent!
The UN defines Sustainability as “the idea that something like agriculture, food preparation or fishing is done in such a way that natural resources are not wasted and can be continued in the future without affecting the environment.”
Sustainable food systems depend on farming, waste management, and supply systems. A sustainable food system delivers economically viable and socially beneficial food security to all. Sustainable diets are those diets with a low environmental impact that contribute to food and nutrition security for a healthy life.
How is food impacting our climate?
Approximately 13.7 billion metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents are emitted throughout the food supply chain every year.
- Agricultural land takes up 38% of the earth’s land area. Conventional farming practices have led to land degradation and loss of carbon in the soil.
- Animal agriculture accounts for 80% of GHG emissions. It is a leading cause of deforestation.
- Livestock takes up 83% of farmland. Livestock and its waste are the highest contributors to methane. An estimated 1800 gallons of water go into a pound of beef.
- Cattle ranching and soya production for animal feeds are the key drivers of deforestation.
- Livestock sector is the major user of water and also the cause of water pollution.
- Use of fertilizers has affected the aquatic ecosystem due to the negative impact on water quality.
- The food loss and waste account for 8.2% of total human-made GHGs.
- Food distribution and processing have also become energy-intensive.
- Illegal and overfishing have disturbed the marine ecosystem.
- Food production uses 70 % of freshwater and causes eutrophication.
Sustainable Food Systems
Food transformation on our plate is on the cards! Unlike other sectors, the ways to decarbonize your food is unclear.
Carbon emissions are an integral part of biological systems. Sustainable food trends will be the new consumer demand.
Know your Foodprint
A Foodprint measures the environmental impact associated with growing, manufacturing, transporting, and storing of food, right from the natural resources consumed, pollution, and the greenhouse gases emitted.
- Beef has the highest carbon footprint with the factors of methane from cows, overgrazing, and land use for animal feeds.
- Rice production generates lots of methane
- Fishing vessels use a lot of fuel.
- Carbon emissions from plant-based products are fifty times less than animal-based products.
- Dairy milk owing to methane from cows has greater emission than plant-based milk.
Though the major areas related to sustainability cover environmental impacts like carbon footprint, renewable resources, waste management, water use and packaging, post covid, there has been a considerable shift towards social and health issues
More food must be produced on farmlands with minimal environmental impact. Technology innovations are crucial to bringing this change. Efficient usage of agricultural inputs like water, fertilizers, pesticides, recovering energy from agriculture waste, and sequestering carbon in the soil a are few of the practices that can be adopted.
Usage of renewable energy resources for transport and manufacturing processes can reduce post-harvest emissions. Inventory management and innovations in packaging can improve the shelf life of products and reduce food wastage. Nutritional objectives can be met with optimized farming practices and proper labeled information.
Breeding and feeding strategies for livestock help to reduce methane emissions and also helps in producing leaner dairy products.
A majority of consumers look for products that make them live sustainable and socially responsible life. The growth in eco-labels has been a major trend with Organic being the most popular. The others include Rainforest Alliance and Fairtrade.
Linking diets with human health and environmental sustainability, there have been targets developed for healthy food systems. Transformation to a healthy diet by 2050, will require major dietary shifts. Global consumption of fruits, vegetables, cereals, nuts, and unsaturated oils will have to increase and the consumption of meat, refined grains, and sugar has to reduce.
Pasteur-raised meats and plant-based meats are the latest trends.
Sustainable Food practices
Food Sustainability encompasses all the activities of production, processing, transportation, packaging and consumption of food. The various choices that could be adopted are
- Homegrown harvested food
- Local sourcing
- Focus on plant-based produce
- Usage of sustainably reared livestock and poultry
- Reduction of food waste by donating food
- Drip irrigation and reuse of wastewater
- Local deliveries and green fuels to lower food miles and usage of fossil fuels
- Sustainable packaging with composting and recycling of products
- Switching to plant-based ingredients
- Cooking with seasonal ingredients
Both consumers and producers have major roles to play in sustainable food practices.
While the consumers can do conscious shopping, eating, and disposing of, the producers have a larger responsibility of sourcing sustainable food and adhering to sustainable and welfare practices.
Traceability as a Driver for Sustainability
The brands today promise Sustainability and the Food supply chains need to deliver this. This implies that there is a need for transparency and traceability from source to consumption. The consumer’s demand for sustainable food products drives visibility and product authenticity in supply chains. The upstream visibility with the provenance of inputs and materials, and information sharing with other stakeholders is critical. The downstream visibility of tracing the product’s lifecycle and establishing a digital thread is important. Product authentication builds trustworthy brands for the consumer and validation of certificates nurtures compliance to regulatory standards, giving a competitive edge. See how Sustainable Agriculture can build future brands
The World Economic Forum has set its goal toward accelerating Digital traceability for Sustainable production. Organizations need to redesign their supply chains with traceability, collaborate on a common platform to share secure, authentic data, and realize the sustainability goals for a safe planet.
Blockchain technology provides a verifiable record as to who buys what from whom and this transparency helps consumers to adopt sustainable lifestyles. The brands can leverage these claims to build sustainable brands and improve their sourcing and recycling practices. The traceability ensures provenance and eliminates the risk of counterfeit and fair trade.
The streamlining of the supply chain with immutable real-time records at every stage optimizes the processes and increases the productivity and profitability of organizations. This leads to the conservation of resources, reduced food wastage, and reduced financial costs.
FOODSIGN, TraceX’s blockchain-powered traceability solution provides supply chain traceability, product credibility, and food safety to the end consumer. The cloud-based SaaS platform provides end-to-end traceability, showcasing the entire product journey from farm to fork and ensures validation of all sourcing claims to realize trustworthy brands.
Check out our Solutions and connect with our Sustainability experts
Trust is the building block for ESG reporting and Blockchain technologies can lead the way forward to trusted and standardized sustainability