Sustainable agriculture, a crucial contributor to substantial greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions as well as supplying the world with healthy food while supporting biodiversity, made it onto the agenda of the January World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in Davos, Switzerland.
Business leaders, politicians, economists, and scientists discussed sustainable agriculture as a key tool to address the interconnected issues of food security, environmental sustainability, and economic growth.
The New Vision for Agriculture initiative, led by the Consumer Industries Community of the WEF, launched a roadmap to increase food production, cut GHG emissions, and reduce poverty by 20% over the next decade.
The "new vision" aims to address the urgent need to develop sustainable agricultural systems. They warn that "by 2050, the global population will surpass 9 billion people, and demand for agricultural products is expected to double. At the same time, the world’s agricultural systems will be increasingly challenged by water scarcity, climate change and volatility, raising the risk of production shortfalls."
17 global companies – many of them known for unsustainable agricultural practices – are leading the effort: Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill, The Coca-Cola Company, Kraft Foods, Monsanto Company, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Syngenta, Unilever, and Yara International.
We seriously question Monsanto’s motivation, since it leads the charge to convert the world’s basic crops – soy, corn, alfalfa, etc – to genetically modified organisms. Nestle is known for its takeover of local water sources for its water bottling business, and Cargill has been taken to task for the products it makes from rainforest destruction in Indonesia.