Values Exchange

Forum for the Future: Food

15 Jun 2023
Senior Thinker (2359 XP)
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Forum for the Future: Food


How we think about, produce, consume and value food is changing. The food system is in transition, but will we go far enough and act fast enough?

Food is at the heart of many of the world’s environmental, social and economic challenges. The issues – from soil health to public health and how to sustain a growing global population on finite resources – are complex and cannot be solved in isolation. As it stands, the way we produce, consume and value food is pushing the planet, and its systems on which we rely, beyond their limits.

So how do we ensure we produce enough safe, nutritious and affordable food for everyone in sustainable ways? We call this sustainable nutrition - an approach to food production that optimises health and nutritional outcomes whilst restoring the key ecosystems and farming livelihoods on which we depend.

The world is responding to the need for sustainable nutrition. We’re seeing new products on our shelves, the explosion of plant-based eating, value chains being reimagined with equity and fair trade at their heart. We’re seeing new investments and innovation, everyday. Regenerative agriculture is entering the mainstream.

This all makes for a promising transition, but is it really adding up?


We’re at a crossroads

The food system is at a pivotal crossroads. Its transition will either be deep, deliberate and urgent - tackling the root causes of our challenge.

Or it will fall short, with ‘solutions’ addressing specific problems in isolation but failing to maintain momentum. These ‘fixes’ will ultimately fail - going neither far enough or fast enough, while simultaneously risking unintended consequences.

Which way we go is up to all of us. 

A vision for the future of food 

At Forum, we believe we need a socially just and ecologically safe shift to a food system fit for a radically different future. A food system that optimises for people and the planet, balancing health and nutritional outcomes with restoration of the ecosystems and farming livelihoods on which we all depend. 

This must be underpinned by both climate mitigation and adaptation practices, with a focus on mainstreaming regenerative agriculture, enhancing resilience and transforming the supply chains that deliver key commodities from plant to plate, crop to cup.

So where is Forum focusing? 

By 2030, we aim to have enabled a systemic, urgent transition in our food system to fulfil the needs of diets, livelihoods and land.

To do this, we are focused on four areas where we believe our skills, expertise and experience can make a real difference :

  • Reframing food narratives. The stories we tell ourselves and others must explicitly centre people - from an individual farmer’s right to a livelihood resilient to climate change, to everyone’s need for a healthy diet 
  • Unlocking barriers in the transition to regenerative agriculture. Agricultural techniques need to put back more that they take out, restoring the very soil they depend on. The answer isn’t something new; it’s something old: regenerative agriculture has been around for centuries, and it’s time to make it mainstream 
  • Reconfiguring value chains so that they are socially just, decarbonised, regenerative, and resilient in the face of disruption and discontinuity
  • Reframing the purpose of business in the food system. Why and how can businesses step up in driving healthy, affordable, sustainable diets that don’t cost the earth?
  • Reimagining and reshaping production landscapes. As our global population booms, we need to talk about land. How can we best use what will become (if it isn’t already) one of the world’s most sought after ‘commodities’ so that it is future-fit?




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