The world’s population faces increasing economic, social and environmental challenges. The past decade has seen an increase in hunger, malnutrition, conflict, economic crisis, inequality and epidemics. This is exacerbated by the climate dilemma, the tragedy of biodiversity, the increasing pollution and the loss of the ecosystem. The COVID pandemic has intensified the situation and exposed many weaknesses of the current industrial development approach, particularly the weaknesses of our food. The Russia-Ukraine war further exacerbated the situation.
While opinions differ on the depth and scale of the changes needed to tackle the converging crises while eradicating poverty, hunger, malnutrition and inequality; most agree that an inclusive and sustainable future requires transforming our economies and societies. Business as usual is no longer an option. The global food system is driving multiple environmental pressures. It is the primary consumer of freshwater, extending over more than half of the planet’s habitable area and accounting for 80% of land conversion and biodiversity loss, including the collapse of major aquatic ecosystems. It emits 30% of all anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and is responsible for soil degradation, water pollution and depletion. However, hunger is increasing and more than 900 million people sleep on an empty stomach, not knowing where their next meal will come from. Globally, 3 billion people cannot afford a healthy diet; 2 billion of which are deficient in micronutrients and/or are overweight or obese; leading to a rise in non-communicable diseases.
Conversely, transforming our food system can be our best bet at restoration, regeneration and resilience. What foods do we grow? How do we grow it? What do we consume? How much do we consume? How much do we lose and waste? Are all critical choices with transformational impacts on the health of people and the planet.
The needed change cannot be pursued by governments, institutions or individuals in isolation, it requires a consolidated collective effort by all to change both production and consumption patterns. It requires a change in mindset, business culture and how we go about our daily life and business.
Thriving Solutions aim to inspire and support individuals and institutions, societies to identify how they can contribute to this collective effort, to develop actionable strategies and roadmaps, and to implement measures that help us transition to sustainable, resilient and just pathways.