As sustainability increasingly becomes a global priority, virtually every industry is making concerted efforts to develop business practices that are both environmentally responsible and fiscally sound.
The stakes for sustainable transformation are especially high for agriculture. Annually, the sector produces an estimated 1.6 billion tons of food waste and 3.3 billion tons of greenhouse gases. Directly impacted by climate change’s effects on weather patterns and extreme events, the sector also faces escalating demand as the global population swells and navigates geo-political disruptions. At the same time, consumers seek food products that are sustainable, local and organic, with 39 percent of Americans claiming that their concerns over sustainability drive their food purchases. A desire to prioritize sustainable food is even stronger in the European Union, where more than 59 percent of consumers cite sustainability as a factor shaping their decision to purchase and eat certain food products.
What can the agriculture sector do to meet demand, adapt to climate change and adopt sustainable practices? The concept of a circular economy offers a path forward, one that meets customers’ expectations, satisfies farmers’ needs and safeguards the environment, all while maximizing profitability.