The United Nations projection is for today’s global population of an estimated 7.6 billion people to expand to a global population of 8.6B by 2030 and 9.8B by 2050...and then to 11.2 billion in 2100 (says the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs report, June 2017). Each year, says the UN, 83 million more people are added to the world’s population.
If we go back 1,000 years, the world population was an estimated 300 million people. And then, only 4% (about 4 million square kilometers) was used for farming, according to the University of Oxford (ourworldindata). Today, half of the world’s habitable land is used for agriculture (excluding deserts, beaches, rocks, etc.) – that is 51 million KMs. There is also land (additional 40 million KMs) used for livestock, meat, and dairy. Protein supply is largely from plant-based food for much of the world population. (Data – UN Food and Agricultural Organization).
So as the population grows and grows, will we be able to feed millions and then billions of additional people? Where will the capital be needed for food & ag expansion?
Will investors and other stakeholders have enough information – especially reliable, comparable data sets – to understand where the food & ag industry players are…to meet the daily food needs of many more people…to use available arable land wisely and sustainably…to understand what food manufacturers and marketers are doing to be more sustainable and responsible?
We’ve selected a few items in our Top Stories to explore these questions, especially as investors look for agriculture and food trends that fit into the ESG bucket.
This is just the introduction of G&A's Sustainability Highlights newsletter this week. Click here to view the full issue.
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