Excessive use of pesticides, antibiotics in livestock farming, and poor management of fertilisers are all significant threats to human health, a new report developed by the World Economic Forum in conjunction with the Ellen McArthur Foundation, has found.
The report, Cities and Circular Economy for Food, claims that up to five million deaths could be caused each year by 2050, if curbs are not introduced on the use of synthetic fertilisers and other soil and water contaminants.
The report was launched on 24 January at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
“The way we produce food today is not only extremely wasteful and damaging to the environment, it is causing serious health problems. It cannot continue in the long term,” Ellen McArthur commented.
“We urgently need to redesign the system. People around the world need food that is nutritious, and that is also grown, produced and delivered in a way that benefits their health, the environment and the economy.”
The report says that cities are key to instigating a ‘food revolution’, with 80% of food consumption set to take place in cities by 2050.
Cities can unlock $700 billion a year by using organic materials to help produce new food and products, and by reducing edible food waste, according to the report.
“We cannot achieve a healthy planet and healthy population without a fundamental transformation of our entire food system,” said Dr Gunhild Stordalen, founder and executive chair of the EAT-Lancet Commission on Food, Planet, Health.
“Cities and Circular Economy for Food describes an approach starting with cities and presents a vision of a future where the way we produce and consume food contributes to environmental and health benefits, instead of damaging human health and the environment.
"Achieving this is urgent, but no quick fix will get us there. We do have the knowledge and tools to act – and the circular economy approach will be a critical component.”
© 2019 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.