In addition, globalization, demographics, climate change and geopolitical transformations are already making a significant impact on the work landscape.
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As environmental issues and the future of protein begin to top the agenda for global government and business leadersthere is a growing widespread recognition that current trajectories of meat, dairy and farmed fish consumption is unsupportable in the long term.
And animal feed is emerging as a vital yet unseen input to the food industry that has significant implications for environmental health and food security. Over half of global agricultural land is used for feeding animals, and many of the crops we presently grow for animals are highly nutritive foods like soy and maize that are edible for humans.
Cultivation of feed crops is closely associated with extensive deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. So the question here is not just about the future of our food system, but also about how we use our critical natural resources like land and water.
Around the world, there are signs of an emerging regenerative approach to agriculture and food production — giving more back to environment and society than is taken out.
The business case is clear. Public attitudes are changing towards food and consumers increasingly demand end-to-end transparency in their food, and scrutiny will increasingly fall on animal feed. But it is also a golden opportunity for food businesses to reduce dependency on imported feedstocks and uncertain commodity prices, as well as to create shorter supply chains that build resilience and strengthen relationships with suppliers.
There has already been some progress on this agenda. Many retailers have made strong commitments to work on traceability and certified sources of sustainable soy.
Some individual companies have gone further, such as Waitrose, which is working towards sourcing more feed raw materials from the UK and Europe.
These range from insect-based protein which forms a natural part of poultry and fish dietsto oils from marine algae, feed additives like amino acids, and protein sourced from methane-digesting bacteria. While these innovations might not yet be at scale, food-related businesses could play an important role in helping to scale promising solutions more quickly, by working with suppliers to provide a supportive environment to trial these ingredients.
Effective action will require a shared understanding and agreement across the supply chain, from retailer to producer to feed company, on the characteristics of future-fit animal feed.
This set of criteria addresses the full spectrum of impacts associated with animal feed, from greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity to high labour standards. We want the whole supply chain, from retail to feed company, to reach a common vision of how to compare different feed ingredients, and give their backing to the most future-fit.
It is undoubtedly vital to shift public habits to consume much more protein from plants and alternatives. But it is also crucial to shift animal based diets in order to reduce the sustainability impacts of valuable animal proteins.
There is no silver bullet to this complex challenge, and solutions specific to different local contexts are needed. But if we want meat, dairy and fish to be a sustainable part of our future food system, retailers and food businesses need to start addressing animal feed by taking a lead and working with animal protein and feed producers.Additionally, the Forum partners with WGBH Boston to develop dedicated programming on the future of higher education.
The Forum is resident at MIT.
Previously, the Forum has been resident at Yale, Stanford and Columbia universities. Forum for the Future of Higher Education American research universities are arguably the world's most powerful engines of innovation and discovery. Yet they are widely misunderstood and in danger of losing their capacity to drive economic progress and improve our lives.
Project Hubs / Find out how Forum for the Future is working towards a sustainable future. If you’re interested in creating a digital community page for your project, please contact us at [email protected] EFECS - European Forum for Electronic Components and Systems.
EFECS is the international forum with a focus on ‘Our Digital Future’ along the Electronic Components and Systems value chain in Europe. Oct 07, · Overall, the success of Forum for the Future this year appears to be an affirmation of its continued relevance, and a suggestion of exciting things to come.
Editors Note: This article had originally stated that Remy Pinson, Cat Blakelock, Gavin Landgraf, and Madeline Hall were in the class of Future City is a project-based learning program where students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades imagine, research, design, and build cities of the future.