Each year, the global economy is taking on a $4 trillion loss to finance a food system that is unsustainable, inequitable and one of the biggest contributors to climate change. Many investors may not realize it, but today's global food system is responsible for 70% of global water use, over 50% of biodiversity loss and a third of greenhouse gas emissions. Food producers are significant contributors of GHG emissions through not only the cultivation of crops and livestock, but the full cycle of food production, including supply chain distribution, packaging and retail.
Our food system is both a major driver and a victim of climate change's far-reaching effects. Further, food system GHG emissions are creating a negative feedback loop; as GHG emissions and temperatures rise, food nutrient levels and farm yields fall. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, by 2050, the global food system will need to produce 70% more food than today to feed more than a billion additional people. The World Resources Institute estimates this additional food production will require a land space equal to roughly two-thirds of the United States. To hold global warming below the internationally agreed upon 2 degrees Celsius, the agricultural sector will need to increase food production while simultaneously reducing GHG emissions.