Nearly a third of all food produced in the world goes uneaten each year, costing the global economy $940 billion and emitting 8% of planet-warming greenhouse gases. We can't afford for that to go on.
Sustainable Development Goal 2
End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.
In 2017, an estimated 821 million people were undernourished, up from 784 million in 2015. The following year, climate disasters forced an additional 29 million into acute food insecurity. Solutions to end hunger must address not only immediate needs, but also future consumption, as the global population, now at 7 billion, soars to an estimated 9.7 billion people by 2050.
Feeding the planet will require deep transformation of a food system that is extremely resource-intensive. Agriculture is currently responsible for 70 percent of global water use and almost one-quarter of greenhouse gas emissions, while one-third of all food produced is wasted. The world needs immediate, effective approaches to achieving food security and reducing detrimental environmental effects of current agricultural practices.
WRI identifies solutions and strategies to reduce the impact of agriculture on water and terrestrial ecosystems (SDG 2.4) and improve the incomes and well-being of producers, especially small-scale farmers (SDG 2.3). Our food program and its associated Better Buying Lab are devising strategies to encourage high-income consumers with meat-heavy diets to shift to plant-based foods, applying lessons from marketing and behavioral economics. Our August 2019 report, Reducing Food Loss and Waste: Setting a Global Action Agenda, identifies a three-pronged approach to meeting SDG 12.3, halving food loss and waste by 2030.Thanks to the work of WRI’s Food Loss and Waste Protocol and Champions 12.3 initiative, nearly two-thirds of the world’s 50 highest-revenue food companies are measuring their food loss and waste and setting ambitious targets to reduce it.
This report lays out a Global Action Agenda to reduce food loss and waste and achieve SDG Target 12.3 – action that can contribute to achieving the Paris Agreement on climate change and sustainably feeding the planet by 2050.
By 2050, nearly 10 billion people will live on the planet. Can we produce enough food sustainably? World Resources Report: Creating a Sustainable Food Future shows that it is possible – but there is no silver bullet. This report offers a five-course menu of solutions to ensure we can feed everyone without increasing emissions, fueling deforestation or exacerbating poverty. Intensive research and modeling examining the nexus of the food system, economic development, and the environment show why each of the 22 items on the menu is important and quantifies how far each solution can get us.
How can the world feed nearly 10 billion people by 2050 while also advancing economic development, protecting forests and stabilizing the climate? Technological innovations like plant-based "beef" and low-emissions rice can help.