By Priyanka Srinivas, CEO The Live Green Co
With the world population set to reach 10Bn by 2050, Sustainability is the biggest issue of our time. Global efforts to drive sustainability in food production & consumption will prove crucial to achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, which include Zero Hunger, Good Health and Well-being, and Responsible Consumption and Production.
Climate change and food security are inextricably linked, and if unsustainable food production practices continue, billions of people will suffer from not having their most basic dietary needs met. Food companies, be it traditional giants or innovative startups, that wish to thrive will need to lead from the front in combating these challenges. This means adopting ‘360° Green’ practices that cover Product, Production & Packaging.
#1) Adopt Ethical Products, which means adopting plant-based alternatives as much as possible, sourcing raw materials locally, and employing minimal-processing production methods as much as possible. It also means eliminating synthetic and highly processed additives from our diets. Did you know? As per a recent Euromonitor report, 42% of global consumers already identify as flexitarians. They are increasingly consuming more plant-based meals on a daily basis.
#2) Implement Supply Chain Sustainability, which means integrating environmentally (and financially) viable practices into the complete supply chain lifecycle including product design & development, material selection, manufacturing, packaging, transportation, warehousing, distribution, consumption, return and disposal. The dividends for implementing sustainable supply chains go beyond simply boosting the company’s brand, because it can actually reduce its costs and increase profitability in the long run.
#3) Ditch Plastic Packaging, which means that packaging is one of the most important aspects we need to upgrade. Plastics remain widespread, and presents two problems – the material is literally impossible to break down, and the inks and dyes from such packaging seeps into soil and groundwater. There is now a growing field of sustainable packaging options, including biodegradable plastic alternatives including packaging made from the likes of corn starch, olive pits, sunflower seeds, organic fish waste and algae, and mushrooms.
The confluence of changing consumer demand, pressing environmental needs and rapidly developing technology means that it is becoming increasingly untenable for food companies to continue along unsustainable pathways. With the pandemic laying bare the necessity for global climate action as Covid-19 lockdowns proved to have little impact on reducing emissions, consumers are waking up to the crisis that lays ahead if drastic changes aren’t made.
It is no more about a few living green perfectly,
It is about billions doing it even if imperfectly.