Connect with us

Economy

Feeding the world sustainably means investing in better solutions

Published

on

According to the World Food Programme, “People are considered food secure when they have all-time access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life.” The world does not only need to be food secure but also food available.

Feeding the world in the next century is perhaps the greatest challenge that confronts the future generation. The problem of the growing population only becomes more evident as the hunger rate rises unprecedentedly.

The big question is, can our activities today vicariously affect the food security of the future? How do we measure sustainability? More so, how do we measure unsustainability?

Most of the food found in the supermarket is the product of an untenable food system. The food is dependent on overseas soil, polluted water and it has caused disease outbreaks, and worse, may be robbing your future grandchildren of the ability to grow food at all.

The struggle is getting real

Based on studies, at least a billion of the seven billion people on Earth are undernourished. In Asia and Africa, where growth rates far outstrip the annual global average of 1.17%, population continues to rise.

By the middle of this century, world population is predicted to hit 9 billion despite the overall growth rate decelerating. Wealthier people create great demand for food; particularly processed food, meat, fish and dairy. This swelling demand spawns increased struggle and places more burden on good land, as well as draining clean water and energy resources.

In some countries, like India, for the GDP growth to translate into real employment generation will take decades. While the journey of GDP growth to employment generation and poverty eradication is an ongoing process, we should remember that a hungry man becomes insubordinate not when he’s hungry but when he sees himself hungry and a segment of society getting more successful every day.

No food security or employment guarantee scheme can lay the underpinning of a sustainable development and prosperous nation, but they can ensure that the basic needs of the people are addressed. The Food Security Law in India does not at all guarantee each mouth will be fed properly and sufficiently.  However, it ensures that efforts will be made to keep feeding mouths as close to necessary as possible.

(Un)natural disasters

Numerous aspects of food security are contingent directly on environmental conditions including weather and climate; among them are food production and efficient distribution systems.

Remarkably, December 2013 marks the 346th consecutive month of above average global temperature. The growth in agriculture this century is also unparalleled due to the growth of new technologies to increase crop yields.

However, climate unpredictability causes significant fluxes in crop yields and output. On top of that, day-to-day variations in weather which manifest themselves in the form of hurricanes and typhoons, floods and dry spells often lead to mass displacement of populations and cause damage to food production systems, resulting in food shortages and famine.

It is also notable the reasons behind tree decline. Only a few take the blame to it, making it a pretty dire issue. As some experts say, trees and plants are the future solutions to world hunger. Remember, nature does not negotiate, people do.

Consumer intervention

Frequently, consumers are regarded to hold power but to stop being a number in the consumer line is more compelling. Deciding not to support the industrial food system is the start of sustainable consumption. The difficulty is that we are detached from the origins of our food. So while we may appreciate that buying organic is key, organic is now just as commercialised as conventional foods.

In this case, corporations are at the forefront of combating food shortage as part and parcel of their corporate social responsibilities. Organisations such as Oxfam aim to promote food security all over the world. Mitigating food shortage is no easy task. In fact, a widely suggested yet unwise solution to meeting the world’s food needs is to simply produce more food.

A report, though, entitled Rising to the Challenge of Changing Course to Feed the World in 2050 and based on a review of recent economic studies by researchers, finds that demands to double food production by 2050 to feed a projected population of 9 billion are based on faulty forecasts and deceptive reports of recent research. It has been reiterated in past literatures that climate has a lot to do with food supplication. Thus, it is overbearing for companies to invest in agriculture, especially natural resources that produce higher yields and achieve global food and nutritional security.

It is noteworthy that agriculture currently requires 70% of the entire world’s freshwater to produce the food necessary to feed a growing population. What needs to be done is to invest in better crops, better nature and a better world. Exploring other food options that are high in nutrition but are easy to produce, may also fill in the gaps in food security.

True to form, feeding the world in the next century is an enormous task. This responsibility is highly likely to be shouldered by the first world countries in aid of the third world ones. Will problems arise in the future with regards to food security? Such must be the responsibility of the feeders as well as the one who shall be fed.

The continuous effort to feed the make the world sustainable has brought about immense research and studies to further the goal of first world countries. Thus, the global community can only expect so much in the future.

Kimberly Grimms is a futurist and writer. 

Further reading:

World Food Day focuses on creating a sustainable food system

Consuming nothing to consume everything

Tackle food waste to tackle inequality, government report says

World wasting up to half of global food

Global food system crisis

Economy

Report: Green, Ethical and Socially Responsible Finance

Published

on

“The level of influence that ethical considerations have over consumer selection of financial services products and services is minimal, however, this is beginning to change. Younger consumers are more willing to pay extra for products provided by socially responsible companies.” Jessica Morley, Mintel’s Financial Services Analyst.

Consumer awareness of the impact consumerism has on society and the planet is increasing. In addition, the link between doing good and feeling good has never been clearer. Just 19% of people claim to not participate in any socially responsible activities.

As a result, the level of attention that people pay to the green and ethical claims made by products and providers is also increasing, meaning that such considerations play a greater role in the purchasing decision making process.

However, this is less true in the context of financial services, where people are much more concerned about the performance of a product rather than green and ethical factors. This is not to say, however, that they are not interested in the behaviour of financial service providers or in gaining more information about how firms behave responsibly.

This report focuses on why these consumer attitudes towards financial services providers exist and how they are changing. This includes examination of the wider economy and the current structure of the financial services sector.

Mintel’s exclusive consumer research looks at consumer participation in socially responsible activities, trust in the behaviour of financial services companies and attitudes towards green, ethical and socially responsible financial services products and providers. The report also considers consumer attitudes towards the social responsibilities of financial services firms and the green, ethical and socially responsible nature of new entrants.

There are some elements missing from this report, such as conducting socially responsible finance with OTC trading. We will cover these other topics in more detail in the future. You can research about Ameritrade if you want to know more ..

By this report today: call: 0203 416 4502 | email: iainooson[at]mintel.com

Report contents:

OVERVIEW
What you need to know
Report definition
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
The market
Ethical financial services providers: A question of culture
Investment power
Consumers need convincing
The transformative potential of innovation
Consumers can demand change
The consumer
For financial products, performance is more important than principle
Competition from technology companies
Financial services firms perceived to be some of the least socially responsible
Repaying the social debt
Consumer trust is built on evidence
What we think
ISSUES AND INSIGHTS
Creating a more inclusive economy
The facts
The implications
Payments innovation helps fundraising go digital
The facts
The implications
The social debt of the financial crisis
The facts
The implications
THE MARKET – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Ethical financial services providers: A question of culture
Investment power
Consumers need convincing
The transformative potential of innovation
Consumers can demand change
PUTTING FINANCIAL SERVICES IN AN ETHICAL CONTEXT
An ethical economy
An ethical financial sector
Ethical financial services providers
GREEN, ETHICAL AND SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE ISSUES IN FINANCIAL SERVICES
The role of investing
Divestment
The change potential of pensions
The role of trust
Greater transparency informs decisions
Learning from past mistakes
The role of innovation
Payments innovation: Improving financial inclusion
Competition from new entrants
The power of new money
The role of the consumer
Consumers empowered to make a change
Aligning products with self
THE CONSUMER – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
For financial products, performance is more important than ethics
Financial services firms perceived to be some of the least socially responsible
Competition from technology companies
Repaying the social debt
Consumer trust is built on evidence
Overall trust levels are high
THE ETHICAL CONSUMER – SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE ACTIVITIES
Payments innovation can boost charitable donations
Consumer engagement in socially responsible activities is high
Healthier finances make it easier to go green
SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE COMPANIES
37% unable to identify socially responsible companies
Building societies seen to be more responsible than banks….
….whilst short-term loan companies are at the bottom of the pile
CONSUMER TRUST IN THE BEHAVIOUR OF FINANCIAL SERVICES COMPANIES
Overall trust levels are high
Tax avoidance remains a major concern
The divestment movement
Nationwide significantly more trusted
Trust levels remain high
CONSUMER ATTITUDES TOWARDS GREEN AND ETHICAL FINANCIAL PRODUCTS
For financial products, performance is more important than principle
Socially conscious consumers are more concerned
CONSUMER ATTITUDES TOWARDS TRANSPARENCY
Strategy reports provide little insight for consumers
Lack of clarity regarding corporate culture causes concern
Consumers want more information
THE ROLE OF FINANCIAL SERVICES FIRMS IN SOCIETY
The social debt of the financial crisis
THE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITIES OF FINANCIAL SERVICES FIRMS
For consumers, financial services firms play larger economic role
Promoting financial responsibility
CHALLENGER COMPANIES AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
Consumer trust is built on evidence
The alternative opportunity
The target customer

Continue Reading

Economy

A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon

Published

on

By

energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Facebook

Trending