Nearly $8 trillion is spent on product or production in the food industry worldwide, and it increases annually based on population and household income. This increase in global food demand is projected to increase by 56% between 2010 and 2050.
Climate change serves as an enormous threat to the food industry and the agriculture industry at large. Due to climate change, we have been facing a critical shortage in crop production that together with an increased demand for food has resulted in the increased price of food. The reduction and adaptation to climate change is crucial to saving the agriculture industry.
Leading Impacts of Climate Change on Food Production
1) Decreased Yield in Crops Produced
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are one of the leading factors of climate change. As greenhouse gas emissions from human activities increase, they build up in the atmosphere and warm the climate, resulting in many other negative changes around the world, such as in the atmosphere, on land, and in the oceans. One study conducted by Arizona State University found greenhouse gas emissions could cause the yield of vegetables to fall by 35% by 2100. The reasons for the lower yields varied between factors, such as water shortages and an increase in salinity, and decreased filtering of the sun’s rays.
2) Demographic Changes
Population increases and industrialization are contributing greatly to not only the increase in GHG emissions but also the increased demand. To keep up with demographic change, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that world food production must rise by 60%. However, this becomes an issue when we factor in climate change. Climate change slows down this process. Areas of high population growth and exposure to climate change often have impacts overlapping. The poorest countries are most vulnerable to climate-related hazards such as floods, droughts, and landslides. These catastrophic events combined with
3) Decrease in Marine Life & Sea Animals
With temperatures continuing to rise it is predicted to lead to the reduction of the world’s main fish species by 40%. These rising temperatures in oceans and other water sources can cause coral bleaching and the loss of many types of marine life and sea animals. There are over 3 billion people in the world who rely on fish as their main source of protein. With climate change being such a threat, the potential and ever-growing decrease of marine life will continue to affect a main source of food for many people globally.
4) Change in Seasons of Crop Production
Climate change is directly affecting the weather. The weather is a crucial part of food production. Climate change is causing growing seasons to start earlier than ever before. Climate change is also leading to rising temperatures and a warming climate. A longer growing season can cause a rise in pest populations, early spring onset, and a lack of grain storage. Early spring is dangerous for food production and the food industry because it causes crops too soon when the soil is not ready to hold the proper amount of water and nutrients. This causes fruit to be ruined much quicker.
How Businesses Can Help Combat Climate Change:
There are numerous things businesses can do to combat climate change no matter what industry they operate in. Ultimately climate change affects everyone, and food production is necessary globally.
Measure Your Carbon Footprint:
Measuring your carbon footprint as a business will allow you to implement better business operational practices, resulting in credibility amongst stakeholders. Once a benchmark is set, you can work on reducing your carbon footprint. Automation of environmental management can significantly improve the integrity of your captured data and reduce lost productivity hours measuring your carbon output.
Create an Action Plan:
It’s time to create a plan. This means planning action around the results you received. Every business is different so there will be a varying number of things each business can do to tackle their individual goals. Some key focus areas and KPIs to establish could include reducing CO2 and GHG emissions, resource consumption, and waste.
Once you’ve set targets and implemented a plan, it’s essential to monitor your progress. To measure the results of control measures, ongoing monitoring of established targets is essential to gain insights into opportunity areas for improvement. As a start, determining your return on sustainability investment (ROSI) can be used to evaluate the gains produced as a result of corporate sustainability initiatives relative to the amount of money invested in those initiatives. Such sustainability initiatives could be a business’ attempt to reduce cost by driving down energy usage, reducing waste, and minimizing environmental impact to meet organizational goals and stakeholder expectations.
As a business, your contributions to reducing climate change and adverse impacts on the environment have a direct correlation to consumer spending. An increased number of consumers have shifted their spending to environmentally friendly organizations. Also, more businesses are reaching upstream to suppliers to understand supply chain risks to their own sustainability measures. To ensure success, it is critical to ensure you’re tracking, measuring, and reporting your sustainability performance to prevent impacts on your organization’s bottom line and satisfy demands from internal and external stakeholders. For more information, read the Forbes article to learn about more ways your business can tackle climate change. Or visit Gensuite.com to learn more about how Gensuite provides best-in-class health and safety management software for subscribers.