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A Sustainable Food System Could Be A Trillion-Dollar Global Windfall

What exactly is meant by a sustainable approach that could achieve this, though? The approach considered by the report is one outlined by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, or Global Goals, which were released last year with the aim of reducing poverty, hunger and inequality around the world by 2030.

The SDG agenda calls for significant shifts in how our food is produced, processed and sold, including growing and consuming more produce and meats that have a reduced environmental impact, embracing sustainable farming practices like low- and no-till agriculture and reducing food waste at both the production and retail level.

Such shifts, the report’s author Fraser Thompson said, aren’t just “pie-in-the-sky” daydreaming or, as some critics of the SDGs have put it, byproducts of a “worthless” “high school wish list.”

“It is important to stress that our business opportunities are based on currently available technologies where there is an existing model in operation in some part of the world,” Thompson told HuffPost by email. “We deliberately took this approach to ensure that the insights from the report were feasible for business.”

According to the report, these global shifts would have the bulk of their impact in developing countries — over 90 percent of the forecast job creation would take place on the continents of Africa and Asia due to the large share of arable land and high future consumption growth, Thompson said.

But there are significant opportunities for the U.S. to seize as well.

The three top areas for possible economic growth tied to a more sustainable food system in the U.S. are largely focused on the consumption side of the food value chain — reducing consumer food waste, reformulating food products to be healthier, and helping consumers switch their diets away from resource-intensive products like beef and toward other proteins like poultry, pork, fish and vegetarian diets.

There are already promising examples of the sort of sustainable practices the commission would like to see other industry leaders emulate in play throughout the world.

One of them Thompson named is Winnow, a London-based startup that is battling food waste through a “smart meter” that connects commercial kitchen operations to the cloud and allows chefs to record and analyze all the food that doesn’t get put to use.

Chefs then use that information to tweak their production practices and reduce their kitchens’ food waste by 50 percent or more. The company’s work was recognized with a Guardian Sustainable Business award earlier this year.

Article source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2016/10/20/sustainable-farming-economic-impact_n_12578132.html?utm_hp_ref=chicago&ir=Chicago