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Feeding 9 Billion and Maintaining the Planet

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WWF was founded 50 years ago I'm sorry. For those of you who weren't here WWF was founded 50 years ago We were created to protect biodiversity ecosystems services and we new that we would have to also work with habitats. So we work with governments to actually create protected areas, national parks, etc What we discovered early on was that most biodiversity and ecosystem services don't exist in parks don't exist in protected areas. So we had to start working with communities with land owners, because that's where most biodiversity is on the planet Over time, as we've worked in areas of human use, on more sustainable resource use We've begun to look at what the threats are, the drivers of deforestation, of species loss the drivers of habitat destruction and we've come to realize that there is one that is more important than all the others If we don't get food production right, both where we produce it and how we produce it In the next 40 years, as a conservation organization, we can turn out the lights and go home That's how serious it is What I'm gonna talk about today, or what the business as usual transaction with food production What we are doing about food production, what some companies are doing, what you can do about it But make no mistake. This is a serious issue, we have to address this issue, and this is why In the next 40 years, we have to produce as much food as we have in the last 8,000 That's the challenge It's going to become tougher every year Whatever was sustainable per capita with 7 billion people will not be with 9 billion people Specially 9 billion people consuming twice as many resources per capita We've gotta do it on a single planet. We don't have another one This is the one that we've got to use And we can't get away from the basic math The population x consumption has got to equal the planet And you've just heard, it doesn't. Right now we're living on 1.5 planets We're living off the capital, not the interest If we were farmers, we would be eating our seeds right now We are literally eating the planet And agriculture is the biggest threat to biodiversity and ecosystem losses It's the main cause of deforestation and habitat loss in the planet It uses twice as much water as all other human activities It's the largest source of pollution on the planet It uses more chemicals than any other human activity It produces as many greenhouse gases as any other sector on the planet and if we could measure them better, probably even more than any other industry on the planet And agriculture is eroding it's own base 70% of farmers today lose more soil each year than they create They're living off the principal, not the interest In the last 150 years we've lost half of the topsoil on the planet That's not a very good place to start from, when you have to double production in the next 40 years So let's look at how we're using land on the planet today About 33% is used to produce food So, 67% exists that isn't. What's the problem here? But if you dug the deserts that are on the planet and mountains, and the rivers, and the lakes, and the cities, and the infrastructure and then take the lands that we put into protected areas as about 12% We've got about 30% left Well, 30% is still quite a bit of land, so what's the problem? at the current burn rate, and I use the term burn advisedly We are going through land, we are adding more land to our agricultural base at the rate of 0.6% per year Multiply 0.6 x 40. It's 24% If we continue business as usual for the next 40 years 6% of the land on the planet will not be farmed that could be That's not very much room for biodiversity when we know that most biodiversity, traditionally at least, has not been in protected areas We've gotta freeze the footprint of food. And we've gotta start doing it now WWF can't do everything. We can't work everywhere. We don't have enough resources We have to focus We've gotta decide strategically where we're gonna work And we've chosen 35 places After looking at those places and doing an analysis of the threats We've decided that 15 commodities are the most significant threats across the board to those 35 places And these are the 15 commodities How are we gonna work on those 15 commodities? are we gonna convince 6.9 billion consumers to by products differently? products that are often ingredients lost in translation in grocery stores We'd have to be working in about 7,000 languages globally. At least 350 global languages kinda daunting are we gonna work with 1.5 billion producers? Is that really the role of an environmental NGO to do agriculture extension? To work with forests etc? That seems a bit far fetched, a little bit of a challenge, this deep curve, if you will, for us But we've also found that 3 to 5 hundred companies control 70 to 80% of the trade of each of those 15 commodities this seems like a better route and what we did was then start doing research on which companies are involved in each of our commodities and we've begun to prepare lists and charts like this and what you see, is what we saw, is that Cargill is here, Cargill is there, Cargill is everywhere a lot of companies are in these matrices in multiple places and as we begun to do the analysis what we came to realize is that a 100 companies control 25% of the trade of all 15 of the commodities we care about a 100 companies we can get our arms around As we've started to work with these companies, we've actually come to realize that it's not a 100 companies. In fact it's only about 58 companies that control 25% of the trade of these 15 commodities The reason 25% of the trade is so important is that 25% of trade gives us 40 to 50% of producers because producers will compete to sell into those better markets and so we can leverage almost half of global production by working with those 100 companies The ones in green are the ones we've signed agreements to work with The ones in yellow are the ones we are negotiating with, now this is about 3,5 to 4 years of work By 2050, 9 billion people are gonna consume twice as much food per capita as they do today So, how do we produce this food? what we've come to think is that there's no silver bullet There are multiple strategies, everybody can do something No institution, no individual can do everything but there are plenty of opportunities We think there are about 9 food wedges That include waste genetics, technology, better practices degraded land, property rights, over and under consumption carbon and urban agriculture I want to talk about just a few of these to explain why they are so important Let's start with waste Right now, we waste one out of every three calories produced we do it differently in developed countries than we do it in developing countries but the average is about the same put in another way, if we eliminated waste today, in the food chain we could reduce the amount of new food we need to produce before 2050 by half that's how significant waste is Waste in developing countries looks like this It's post harvest losses, it's lack of infrastructure, lack of storage etc In developed countries it looks like this It's post consumer, post restaurant, post household it's the things you throw away out of your refrigerator because you don't have a little handheld device for less than a US$100 that can tell you whether the food is still good or not whether the Chinese take out is still good, the soup that you made two weeks ago is still good or not We also tend to think that sell by equals throw away by huge amount of waste. We need to have consistent labeling on products so that we can reduce waste I come from the Midwest, from a state called Missouri We have a saying there that goes something like this: Dance with the one that brought you Over the last 8000 years, the reason why we're here on a room in a city is because of genetics, because of plant breeding, because of creating surpluses that allowed for urban development without plant breeding, without selecting traits, without selecting for productivity we would still be hunting and gathering genetics got us here, we can't take it off the table but genetics doesn't mean GMO's, and we gotta be clear about that We've got to be able to select for traits and breed them that's absolutely what's going to get us to 2050 as well, this is one of the major food wedges Right now we depend on less than 10 crops per about 75 to 80% of the calories we consume on the planet only two of those will double in production by 2050 without simply increasing the amount of land planted So, we've got to look at genetics to increase productivity to increase drought tolerance in an era of climate change to improve disease resistance and to increase the nutrients in the different foods We also need to shift our thinking from temperate crops Why do we spent so much money torturing corn and soybeans to figure out how to grow them in the tropics? Why don't we focus on tropical crops? Like these Bananas produce, in Costa Rica, 20 times more calories per hectare than corn in Iowa Why is all the money being spent on corn? Why don't we work on bananas, or cassava, or palm oil, or other crops that are important? NiPAD, MARS and WWF recently launched an initiative, at the Clinton global initiative to map the genomes of 25 to 30 most important crops, food crops in Africa Why? Because we need to focus on the crops in the areas where populations are gonna increase the most and where consumption is gonna increase the most In Africa, that's 25 or 30 crops Let's map the genomes, put it in the public domain, forget about the intellectual property and let plant breeders to have access to all these informations so they can focus on the real issue How to get better planting materials to farmers? It's odd that an environmental group, a candy company and a political organization had to come to this conclusion, rather than the major universities and the agriculture research centers Why does MARS care about genetics? because they have found, in the plantations that they buy coco from that 20% of the trees produce 80% of the crop and that you can provide water to those trees during the dry season for two or three months, you can double production or rather you can reduce the losses which are normally about half What that means is that by focusing on those 20% of the trees selecting for those productivity and drought resistance traits they can actually produce 3 to 4 times as much on less than half the land MARS mapped the genome of the coco plant and they put it in the public domain so every plant breeder would have access to it because they're not an IP company, they are not a bunch of lawyers trying to protect they're intellectual property they are trying to get planting materials to farmers and they think the best way to do that is to put the material out in the public domain So they have focused on increasing productivity to take pressure off of land to increase farmers incomes they made another commitment, which is kinda of startling they won't buy certified poverty Right now, no certification program of any kind on the planet, certifies productivity and yet productivity is one of the things that we need to begin to focus on So MARS is saying they won't buy coco from farmers if they can only produce 300 or 400 kilograms of coco per hectare, because a farm family can't make a living on that If they are gonna have farmers in the future, then they need 1000 or 1200 kilograms So the kids can go to school, so they can actually enjoy a better life, so they see farming as not just the place you end up because you had no other opportunities, but a place you end up out of choice Today's technology: Agriculture uses about 70% of the water That's more than twice as much as everything else We know that water is scarce already with climate change, water availability is gonna be more variable, and it's gonna become more extreme in terms of scarcity Right now, today, it takes one litter of water, on average, globally, to produce one calorie of food We gotta get better Can we use half a litter to produce two calories? This is the kind of thinking that we need to do So, what's the best technology to do this? Is it flood, is it furrow, is it center pivot, is it drip? The answer is it depends It depends on what crop you're growing, it depends on where you're growing, it depends on local conditions There is no easy answer to this. But we do know that every farmer should be able to to produce twice as much using whatever technology they're already using if they were more efficient In fact, what we've found is that better practices, globally, those farmers that are the most productive are a hundred times more productive than those that are least productive Within a given county, a province, a state, the best producers are ten times better Whether it's Iowa, the Cerrado in Brazil, etc, they are ten times better than their counterparts In the age of IT, we need to get better practices spread more quickly It takes about ten years today to get better practices spread around the globe We need to do it in two or three The planet actually, depends on it So, which gives us more food over the long term? Recognizing the best producers and certifying them? Or moving the bottom? Moving the rest? Most environmental groups care about the impacts of production That's why they get involved in certification programs The bottom 25% producers produce 50 to 75% of the impacts that we care about Certification programs move the top. We gotta start moving the bottom So that we can shift the whole performance curve Means we've gotta work with governments, we've gotta work on policies We've gotta get government policies to be aligned with certification strategies so that we can shift the whole performance curve Ikea and WWF work in partnership around cotton Why does Ikea cares about cotton? Because they are the second largest buyers of cotton in the world Why does WWF care about cotton? Because that uses more pesticides than any other commodity on the planet It also uses a lot of water in areas that are water scarce We started by working with 450 farmers, today we're at about 70,000 The impacts have been a 50% reduction of pesticide use and water use amongst those 70,000 growers and an increase in income of about 40% Now, this source of cotton is 25% of Ikea's total purchase at this point and within 3 to 4 years, they think that a 100% of their cotton will be certified and will be produced with fewer pesticides and less water We also work with Unilever and Unilever has made similar kinds of gains through their supply chain management One of their products is toothpaste and, for those of you that don't know it, toothpaste is mostly starch. That's the basic material in it and starch used to be purchased by Unilever globally it came from global chemical companies today they buy starch locally, that's produced by farmers from things like cassava, this particular crop by making that one decision to change the way they source they support the full time equivalent of 35,000 farmers in Indonesia alone they only have 3,000 employees themselves But they are not just doing this in Indonesia, in India they are supporting gurken or cucumber projects They've doubled production, and reduced pesticide use by 78% This is what companies are beginning to do But Unilever's commitment is far more than just these two commodities By 2020, more than 3,000 raw materials that they source will be certified as sustainable That's their commitment, their own record. They don't have a clue how they're gonna get there But that's where we all come in to help them Because it takes vision and it takes leadership To plant the flag further than you can actually see the journey and that's what they've done What we all have to do on a finite planet, is more with less 100 companies can move 50% of production they are 25% of demand will actually achieve that The question is: What can you do? Can you cut waste? Can you become a conscious consumer? Can you change your lifestyle? Think about it, thank you very much

Video Details

Duration: 21 minutes and 55 seconds
Country: Brazil
Language: English
Producer: WWF
Director: WWF
Views: 113
Posted by: eduardoschenberg on Nov 11, 2011

Jason Clay - WWF’s Senior Vice President of Market Transformation - explores why food production is the most important conservation issue in the 21st century, where we stand today and with ‘business as usual’ projections for 2050, and what the nine food wedges are that would allow us to produce enough food for all, but still have a planet.

There is no silver bullet to solve this problem, but there is something that each of us can do.

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