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The Global Food Challenge Explained in 18 Graphics

The world is projected to hold a whopping 9.6 billion people by 2050. Figuring out how to feed all these people—while also advancing rural development, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and protecting valuable ecosystems—is one of the greatest challenges of our era.

So what’s causing the global food challenge, and how can the world solve it? We begin to answer these questions through a series of graphics below. For more information, check out the interim findings of Creating a Sustainable Food Future, a report produced by WRI, U.N. Environment Programme, U.N. Development Programme, and the World Bank.

Creating a Sustainable Food Future: Interim Findings

A menu of solutions to sustainably feed more than 9 billion people by 2050

The world’s agricultural system faces a great balancing act. To meet different human needs, by 2050 it must simultaneously produce far more food for a population expected to reach about 9.6 billion, provide economic opportunities for the hundreds of millions of rural poor who depend on...

3 Things To Think About Before Buying Your Thanksgiving Turkey

Recent analysis from the World Resources Institute finds that nearly one-quarter of all food (measured by calorie) produced for people globally is lost due to spoilage or waste. In the U.S., the number is even higher, with a whopping 42 percent of all calories not reaching people’s mouths. Of that, about 20 percent of meat is lost or wasted. That means come Thanksgiving Day, of the approximately 46 million turkeys likely to be purchased, over 9 million will go uneaten.

Weaving the Net

Climate Change, Complex Crises and Household Resilience

Complex crises produce impacts that cascade across space and time in unpredictable ways, and create severe hardship among vulnerable groups in developing countries. This paper uses the food crisis of 2008 as a basis for...

One-Quarter of World’s Agriculture Grows in Highly Water-Stressed Areas

A new interactive map from WRI’s Aqueduct project reveals that more than 25 percent of the world’s agriculture is grown in areas of high water stress. This figure doubles when looking at irrigated cropland, which produces 40 percent of global food supply.

This analysis highlights the tension between water availability and agricultural production. Finding a balance between these two critical resources will be essential—especially as the global population expands.

Agricultural Exposure to Water Stress

This data set shows the percentage of total crop production in areas facing different levels water stress. Crop production data is overlaid on Aqueduct's baseline water stress indicator, a measure of demand and supply for water in a given area.

New Protocol Will Take a Bite Out of Global Food Loss and Waste

Earlier this year, WRI analysis found that one in four food calories produced go uneaten. Yesterday a group of experts took the first step toward helping to curb this massive amount of food loss and waste.

At the Global Green Growth Forum in Copenhagen, WRI announced the launch of a process to develop a global standard for measuring food loss and waste. This standard, known as the “Global Food Loss and Waste Protocol,” will enable countries and companies to measure and monitor the food loss and waste that occur within their boundaries and value chains in a credible, practical, and consistent manner.

COPENHAGEN//WASHINGTON — The World Resources Institute (WRI) today announced the first step in designing a global standard for measuring food loss and waste. The forthcoming guidance, called the “Food Loss and Waste Protocol,” will enable countries and companies to measure and monitor the food loss and waste that occur within their boundaries and value chains in a credible, practical, and consistent manner.

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