CALL FOR A NEW FOOD SYSTEM
The Food & Drinks (F&D) sector has the potential to spearhead
our transition towards a Regenerative economy. However,
decades of ingrained practice have created significant
hurdles to doing so. Destructive agriculture, exploitative
supply chain dynamics, and harmful packaging weigh the system down, slow the progress of decarbonisation, and continue to take more from the planet than the sector returns. We are committed to taking on these challenges, promoting evolutionary change at the micro, macro, and community level. Below, we have set out 12 drivers to empower regenerative food systems. Join us by advocating for systemic change in the following domains. See below;
1. PRIORITISE HEALTH
There is no greater way to care for People than by promoting their health & wellbeing. Our fast-paced, work culture means many people are dependent on F&D conglomerates and agribusiness, relying on cheap, processed foods which are riddled with preservatives, additives, fertilisers and pesticides. By offering wholefood alternatives with non-GMO and organic farming methods, we can fight the drivers of declining life expectancies such as heart disease, cancer, and obesity.
2. STAND FOR RADICAL
There is no doubt that climate change is having devastating effects on agriculture, drastically depleting yields and rendering masses of farmland obsolete. Currently, the sector plays a part in these concerning developments, accounting for nearly 30% of greenhouse gas emissions with meat and dairy, whilst using half of the planet's habitable surface. Soil meanwhile has great potential for carbon sequestration. If farmers expanded their use of cover crops to all 88 million hectares of US primary cropland, we could cut total emissions from agricultural production by about a sixth in America alone. By caring for the planet, regenerative businesses can restore our lands and secure future generations’ rights to abundant and nutritious harvests. Responsible sourcing can also mitigate the damaging effects of monoculture such as palm oil and soya production. We, the Positive impact community, have the power to save the sector from the ravages of climate change.
3. TACKLE FOOD SECURITY
A staggering 1 in 4 people continue to face food insecurity, even in the second decade of the 21st Century. From workers queuing at food banks in the UK, to agricultural communities in the Global South fearing failed harvests, no one deserves to worry about whether they will be able to afford their next meal. We believe that a renewed focus on the nutritional content of the food we grow is critical. By redistributing surplus produce and empowering small farmers, we have the potential to make food insecurity a thing of the past.
4. REDUCE FOOD WASTE
Almost one-third of all food produce is wasted; an amount which could feed 2 billion people, more than twice the amount of malnourished people globally. We believe this is unacceptable. This challenge represents a huge opportunity for regenerative businesses to realign our wasteful behaviour and find innovative applications for food waste, repairing our broken systems. We can lead the way for the zero waste future.
5. EMBRACE NEW FOODS
In the age of the ethical consumer, F&D businesses are switching up ingredients to cater for the rising environmental, ethical and health concerns about animal products. Plant-based and technological alternatives hold the key to regeneration. Plant-based milk substantially outperforming cow milk on all environmental indicators: land use, water use, and greenhouse gas emissions. With new foods like mycoprotein having a 90% lower greenhouse gas impact than meat equivalents, fermentation-based proteins innovation truly offers amazing potential for our upcoming societal shift to net zero.
Wayshowers; Quorn is the established player in the mycoprotein space while Oatly, Rerooted, and Good Hemp are examples of some of the “milkmen of the future” with their plant-based dairy alternatives.
6. SHIFT TO BETTER PACKAGING
With 8 million tonnes of plastic entering the ocean from coastal nations every year, our marine ecosystems are at breaking point. Meanwhile, the waste piling up in landfill sites is contaminating groundwater, polluting the air, and damaging soil quality. One-time-use, wasteful packaging is having detrimental effects on our planet. Developments in biodegradable packaging may already provide a real solution; now it is time to act. By adopting innovative packaging solutions, we are changemakers who can turn the tide on our plastic and waste crisis.
7. SHIFT TO REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE
Expanding farmlands account for 70% of global deforestation, and monoculture is rapidly accelerating biodiversity loss. Meanwhile, soil erosion means we only have two generations of intensive farming left. Up to 70% of water taken from rivers and groundwater is used for irrigation, and toxic chemical run-offs are destroying marine ecosystems. No doubt, we need to change the way we feed the world. We believe the answer lies in regenerative agriculture, which is already sowing the seeds for revolution. Small farms are responsible for 70% of global food production, meaning farmers, not industrial agribusiness, will lead the transformation of our food systems. Together, we can throw away toxic pesticides and bring organic farming into the norm, restoring soil health and abandoning the destructive ways of standard monoculture. The path to regenerative agriculture starts nowhere else other than at the roots of the F&B sector.
Each meal we eat is made of ingredients that often come from far and wide. Transportation is guilty for around one-fifth of global carbon dioxide emissions, but inefficiency presents an opportunity for optimisation; an opportunity for F&D trailblazers to reduce their impact. Foods like shrimp and prawns can have up to four times the carbon footprint of beef. We can take action today. Promoting local sourcing, electric vehicles, and encouraging seasonal eating habits are just three of the many ways in which we can support regenerative businesses as they clean up their distribution activities.
9. CREATE HEALTHY
Modern-day supply chains are deserving of the name “chains”; reinforcing poverty-line wages, causing environmental destruction, and failing to safeguard people’s livelihoods. Positive Impact Companies recognise that impact goes beyond the four walls of the business, and actively strive to tackle all environmental and social challenges of their industry. By adhering to Positive’s principles of Regenerative Sourcing, the F&D sector can re-imagine the relationship between business and producer; paying fair taxes, protecting natural capital, and lifting up partners from all across the supply web. We have what it takes to deliver socio-economic change.
10. ACTIVATE PARTNERSHIP FOR CHANGE
Competition goes out the window when working towards Positive change. We recognise that no single business holds the antidote to all the world’s ills. Whether it be local funding for renewable power sources, or industry solutions for repurposing waste, power for change will always be in the collective. By transforming business strategy from fierce competition towards radical collaboration, we can group together to rise up to the challenges of the century. By unlocking the power of collective action we can find solutions for our local energy, supply chains, and food waste challenges.
Wayshower; Freiburg, where around 70% of coffee shops have clubbed together to tackle the issue of single-use coffee cups, bringing in the FreiburgCup scheme to encourage the re-use of cups.
11. SHIFT TO FLEXITARIAN
AND PLANT-BASED DIETS
A meat and dairy rich diet is unsustainable as the population is predicted to grow to over 9 billion by 2050, according to a report from United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP). The report states: “Impacts from agriculture are expected to increase substantially due to population growth increasing consumption of animal products. Unlike fossil fuels, it is difficult to look for alternatives: people have to eat. A substantial reduction of impacts would only be possible with a substantial worldwide diet change, away from animal products.” The lead author of the report, Professor Edgar Hertwich, highlights the size of the problem: “Animal products cause more damage than construction minerals such as sand or cement, plastics or metals. Biomass and crops for animals are as damaging as [burning] fossil fuels.” The Beyond Meat burger uses 99 percent less water, 93 percent less land and 90 percent less fossil fuel emissions than a quarter pound of regular ground beef. The facts speak for themselves, and we laud F&B businesses’ efforts to meet the needs of conscious consumers opting for flexitarian and plant-based diets. By recognising the greatest impact comes from eating green, not local, we can minimise our impact.
12. EXPAND URBAN
Half of the world’s habitable land is used for agriculture. This has severe implications for biodiversity and paints a bleak picture for a future of shrinking arable land and further population growth. Fortunately, regenerative businesses are leading the way towards resource-efficient and weather-resistant agriculture with vertical and urban farming initiatives. Vertical farming uses less water and less land, it renders pesticides obsolete and cancels out groundwater contamination from fertilisers. By nurturing an urban farming sector that safeguards biodiversity, minimises waste, and maximises nutrition, we can make a major contribution to reducing our collective environmental impacts. Incredible Edibles, a UK based charity, calls for thirty percent of food to be grown in cities, and we second this call.
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