How Can 9 Billion People Get Protein Without Destroying the Environment?

The Protein Challenge 2040 has formed to tackle how humans will be able to get the protein we need without destroying the environment.

The question is, how can we feed 9 billion people enough protein in a way that is healthy, affordable and good for the environment?

Facilitated by the UK non-profit Forum for the Future, the group includes World Wildlife Fund, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, Target, Hershey and other corporations.

For the first time, they have mapped the interrelationships in the entire protein system around the world, and they plan to take immediate action on:

  • increasing the proportion of plant-based protein consumption in diets
  • scaling sustainable feed to meet demand for animal protein
  • tackle the loss and waste of protein across the system

They are also looking into restoring soil health; using indigenous plants as protein sources for local communities; and scaling sustainable aquaculture for food and animal feed.

Fish vs Beef

"Protein is essential for human health, but the current state of how it’s produced and consumed is just not sustainable in the long term," says Andy Richardson, Head of Corporate Affairs at Volac.

When we talk about protein, that’s a code word for meat. We all know we have to eat less of it for our health and the environment. Most of Latin America’s soy crop is used for animal feed, driving deforestation, and conventional agriculture is a major contributor to climate change. The other major form of protein is fish, which is bringing fish populations close to collapse.

Read our articles, Pacific Northwest Shows How Quickly Fish Populations Can Rebound and We’re Edging Toward a Local, Organic Food Revolution.

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