These Changes To Our Food Systems Could Improve Human And Planetary Health

Posted: Oct 26, 2020

On the recent World Food Day, the clarion call was clearer than ever: We must fix our food systems to improve human health, drive economic growth and save the planet from environmental collapse.

The challenges facing us are wide-ranging. The way the world produces and consumes food causes huge environmental impacts, and yet 3 billion people worldwide are unable to afford a healthy diet, and up to a third of the food we produce is wasted.

What’s more, hunger and micronutrient deficiencies are concentrated among the poorest and most vulnerable — often including those who produce the food we eat.

Meanwhile, the so-called double burden of malnutrition is on the rise: hunger and malnourishment coexisting with overweight and obesity, often in the same countries, communities or even individuals.

Tackling these multiple challenges and threats requires coordinated action from the public sector, private sector, NGOs, civil society, innovators and actors throughout the food value chain. In my role at the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (a Swiss-based foundation on a mission to advance nutrition outcomes by improving the consumption of nutritious and safe food for all people, especially the most vulnerable), I am constantly inspired by the passion and commitment of our partners across these sectors.

In particular, young leaders who refuse to accept the status quo are already driving real change and positive impact in food and ag. Over the past two months, I reached outside my usual network to discuss this topic via email with six fellow honorees from the 2020 GreenBiz 30 Under 30, to which I was named in June.

In particular, our exchange explored how food systems can be made healthier and more sustainable as we look to a future in which we’ll need to find a way to produce enough food to nourish as many as 10 billion people while staying within planetary boundaries. We also considered the role of young leaders from the private and public sectors in this essential transformation.

By Oliver Camp
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