The provision of universally accessible and affordable, healthy and sustainable protein is critical to human nutritional needs and meeting the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, as well as keeping within the Paris Climate Change Agreement targets. And yet existing research suggests it will be impossible to grow the animal-based protein supply to match future demand and keep within these targets using today’s production systems. For example, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, total emissions from global livestock today represent 14.5% of all anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. Further, the need for grazing land and for arable land to grow animal feed is the single greatest driver of deforestation, with major consequences for biodiversity loss. These impacts – were they to double as demand doubles – illustrate that business as usual is not an option for the future of the global protein delivery system.
Solutions range from improving sustainability of current production, to advancement of alternative proteins, to changes in behaviour; however even within these pathways there is no silver bullet and approaches will need substantial tailoring to local contexts, cultures and environments. To truly deliver on the protein needs of tomorrow’s population will require unprecedented collaboration across all pathways, based on the common objective of delivering universally accessible and affordable, healthy and sustainable protein to a population of ten billion but attuned to taking different approaches in different geographies and cultures.
The Future of Protein is engaging leading environment and food security experts, business leaders, governments, civil society, investors and technology innovators from around the world to accelerate the systemic changes needed.