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Sustainability at the heart of food and agriculture

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A rapidly growing population is driving the demand for meat and other animal-based products to new heights. Blue & Green Tomorrow takes a look at the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO) efforts to implement solutions to “end hunger and make the transition to sustainable agricultural and food systems”.

In its 2012 report ahead of the Rio+20 Earth Summit, entitled Towards the Future we Want , the FAO predicts that pressure on the world’s agricultural and food systems will peak if the world population rises to the expected 9 billion mark by 2050. Recent current events in agriculture indicate that trend is still relevant today.

“Even if we do increase agricultural output by 60%, the world would still have 300m people hungry in 2050”, says FAO director-general, Jose Graziano da Silva in the report.


“For them, food security is not an issue of insufficient production; it is an issue of inadequate access. The only way to ensure their food security is by creating jobs, paying better wages, giving them access to productive assets and distributing income in a more equitable way.”

Back in May, the FAO hosted a week of meetings among with member countries that make up the organisation’s Committee on Agriculture. B&GT spoke with communications officer Robert Palmer, who said: “The Committee on Agriculture (COAG) takes place every two years to advise the governing council and the director general on the organisation’s programme of work related to agriculture, livestock, diet, nutrition and other critical topics.

“The overarching theme of this year’s COAG session is sustainability”, he adds. “This includes sustainable livestock development, crop production intensification, and the use of land and water resources in a changing climate.


“In addition, there are discussions on updating the international code of conduct on the distribution and use of pesticides and improving statistics for food security, sustainable agriculture and rural development.”

Human beings are at the centre of concern for sustainable development. They are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature. – Rio Declaration, 1992

A growing divide is emerging. The FAO believes that while traditional farmers and smallholders (the primary support for local livelihoods and food security) risk marginalisation, large-scale industrial producers are overtaking in the race for public and private investment.

Three major areas require the attention of all stakeholders: harnessing the potential for a growing livestock demand to alleviate poverty and improve food security; increasing the sustainability and financial wealth of natural-resource use; and improving efforts to manage animal diseases.

“All actors – industry, governments, international organizations, NGOs and others – have an important role to play”, explains Palmer, emphasising the strong linkages between resilient and productive ecosystems, and responsible environmental stewardship.

“FAO is in a unique position to provide a neutral forum for consultation, research and analysis in order to make the best use of resources while minimizing wastes throughout the production chain.”

In an effort to “close the efficiency gap” in natural resource use, FAO launched the Global Agenda of Action in Support of Sustainable Livestock Development. The objective of the workshop was to create an inclusive international forum on realising the change that is necessary in the livestock sector.

This week, sustainability again claimed the overriding theme at the World Meat Congress in France. More than 700 delegates from around the world were told by the new French agriculture minister, Stephan Lefoll, that the IMS Sustainability Committee has been working closely with the FAO, particularly in matters of cattle breeding.

The organisation’s previous work with egg, poultry and dairy industries has addressed livestock’s 40% contribution to the global value of agricultural output, and its vital support of the livelihoods and food security of almost a billion people. Now, it’s the turn of the meat industry to find sustainable solutions.

FAO believes that feeding an amplified population without marginalising access to food is possible. The agriculture issues raised over the last couple of months depend on crucial decisions made at the Rio+20 conference in less than two weeks’ time.

Further reading:

Cool Farm Institute speaks out on agricultural development

Global food system crisis

The role of agriculture in promoting a sustainable economy 

Climate-smart agriculture: responding to the challenge

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Green Weddings Trend: Why 70% of Newlyweds Are Going Green

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A couple of months ago, my best friend got married to her new husband. They are both very eco-conscious people, so they decided to have a unique twist on their wedding. They asked for the following:

  • They arranged a carpool with their friends.
  • They didn’t have any balloons. Instead they used umbrellas.
  • They used plant materials instead of plastic confetti.
  • My friend insisted her husband not purchase a diamond. In addition to being ecologically conscious, she didn’t like the idea of having a stone that was used in conflict zones.

My friends aren’t the only ones making these changes. In fact, nearly a quarter of all newlyweds are organizing green weddings.


Green Weddings Are Becoming the Norm

People are more concerned about green living than ever before. They are trying to incorporate environmental protectionist ideas into every facet of their lives, even the most intimate, such as marriage. A growing number of people are trying to have green weddings, which can make a big difference in reducing their carbon footprint.

How much of a difference can this make? Here are some statistics to bear in mind:

There are a number ofreasons that green weddings are becoming more important. Here are a few.

People Are More Worried About Environmental Preservation than Ever Before


Green living in general is becoming a greater concern for most people. Even younger conservatives are breaking from their older counterparts by insisting on fighting climate change. According to a poll from Pew Research earlier this year, 75% of Americans say that they are very concerned about protecting the environment. Having green weddings is a good way to act on this concern.

One of the biggest changes people are making is using recycled products for their green weddings. This is explained by the research from Pew:

“Overall, 32% of U.S. adults say they are bothered a lot by people throwing away things that could be recycled. Roughly six-in-ten Americans (61%) who say they always try to live in ways that protect the environment say it bothers them “a lot” when others throw away things that could be recycled. Among those who are less focused on environmental protection, only a quarter say it bothers them a lot when others don’t recycle. People who are environmentally conscious are also twice as likely as others to say that seeing someone incorrectly putting trash in recycling bins bothers them a lot (42% vs. 21%).”

Indifferent Politicians Are Driving them to Take More Initiative

Many politicians in power have been very hesitant to take action on climate change. Many of them have openly stated that it is a hoax. These politicians are forcing people to do what they can in their own lives to make a difference. Making small changes, such as hosting green weddings, is a great way to improve the environment without waiting for political momentum.

Cost and Simplicity

A couple of the biggest reasons that people want to host green weddings have nothing to do with their concern for the environment. Running green weddings is simply cheaper and simpler than having a massive, traditional one. One of the biggest changes is that they are buying green engagement rings from the best brands.

Green Weddings Are the Future

Green weddings have become very popular over the past few years. They will probably account for close to 90% of all marriages by 2025. People that are planning to get married should look into the benefits and plan accordingly.

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Green Tech Start-Ups: Are they the Future?

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Endless innovations are occurring in green companies, reinventing the industries they belong to. Gradually, they are beginning to amass more success and popularity. Consequently, these factors serve as a good indicator for green technology businesses, and their development must begin somewhere.

Green tech start-ups boast a wide array of opportunities for the economy and environment, while boosting recruitment openings with valuable services. While the technology industry is littered with high revenues and competition, the green tech start-ups are the clear sign of a cleaner future.


Fulfilling a Genuine Need

Many tech companies will market themselves as the ultimate tech giants to shift stock and make profit. As they all vie for attention through warped corporate rhetoric, there is only one ethical winner; the start-up green tech company.

Some argue that mainstream tech businesses have grown far too big, branching out into other industries and standing between the consumer and practically everything they do. However, green tech start-ups go beyond the shallow ambitions of a company, answering a call to sincerely help the customer and climate in any way they can. Of course, this is an attractive business model, putting customers at ease as they contribute to a humanitarian cause that is genuine through and through.

After all, empathy is a striking trait to have in business, and green tech start-ups maintain this composure by their very nature and purpose.

Creating Opportunities

Despite the pursuits for clean energy still needing more awareness, green tech is an area that is ripe for contribution and expansion. There’s no need to copy another company or be a business of cheap knockoffs; green tech start-ups can add a new voice to the economy by being fresh, fearless and entrepreneurial.


Technology is at its most useful when it breaks new ground, an awe that eco-friendly innovations have by default in their operations. Of course, green tech start-ups have the chance to build on this foundation and create harmony instead of climate crisis. Ultimately, the tech advancements are what revolutionise clean energy as more than an activist niche, putting theory into practice.

Despite the US gradually becoming more disengaged with green technology, others such as China and Canada recognise the potential in green technology for creating jobs and growth in their respective economies. The slack of others spurs them on, which creates a constant influx of prospects for the green tech sector. Put simply, their services are always required, able to thrive from country to country.

A Fundamental Foresight

Mainstream technology can seem repetitive and dull, tinkering with what has come before rather than turning tech on its head. Since 2011, technology has been accused of stagnation, something which the internet and petty app services seem to disguise in short reaching ideas of creativity.

However, green tech start-ups aren’t just winging it, and operate with a roadmap of climate change in the years ahead to strategize accordingly. In other words, they aren’t simply looking to make a quick profit by sticking to a trend, but have the long-term future in mind. Consequently, the green tech start-up will be there from the very start, building up from the foundational level to only grow as more and more people inevitably go green.

They can additionally forecast their finances too, with the ability to access online platforms despite the differing levels of experience, keeping them in the loop. Consequently, with an eye for the future, green tech startups are the ones who will eventually usher in the new era.

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