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How science-based solutions can secure nutritious and sustainable proteins for all

Taking place in the context of the UN Food Systems Summit 2021, the fully virtual ‘Bold Actions for Food as a Force for Good’ summit by the World Economic Forum featured leaders from a broad spectrum of stakeholders to initiate and accelerate action for food systems transformation. During one of the sessions – hosted by Edith Schippers of Royal DSM – several stakeholders discussed how science-based solutions that ensure a more efficient use of our finite natural resources, can be more rapidly and widely adopted.

The challenges in this field are enormous. We need to nutritiously feed a growing population within planetary boundaries. A balanced diet requires good quality proteins; but, to sustainably achieve this goal, the environmental footprint of proteins must be significantly reduced. A systemic change is needed and science is the key. Many innovations and technologies that improve sustainability are ready to be implemented, but acceptance and adoption are lagging. Potential game-changers include proven solutions that can drastically reduce reliance on marine resources and dramatically reduce livestock emissions.

During the webinar, a range of stakeholders – from Veramaris, Danone and Tesco to Wageningen University & Research and DSM – discussed the much-needed bold actions to raise awareness of the many challenges and problems, and even more importantly the solutions and steps forward to address them.

The discussions led to a number of conclusions and bold actions that we need to take. For example, that we need to shift to a farmer-centric approach, whether they farm cattle, proteins or fish, in which individual farmers can be rewarded for the investments in sustainable production and the results that follow from it. Also, it is important that we measure the impact of healthy and sustainable foods. This in turn leads to the step that consumers are made aware of the choices they have by setting up a metric-based label. In addition, monitoring and measuring progress in terms of health and sustainability is key.

Perhaps most important of all, is the collaboration between all involved stakeholders to really scale up the identified bold actions towards science-based solutions that provide nutritious and sustainable proteins for all. Edith Schippers proposed a frontrunner approach to come to such collaboration, in which the pioneers that provide (a part of the) solutions set a standard with which they can take along the rest of society. From HollandBIO, where we also have the strategy to run along with our frontrunners in order to maximize the contribution of biotech innovations to health, sustainability and welfare, we fully support this approach.

The webinar can be watched here: https://channel.royalcast.com/dsmwebcasts/#!/dsmwebcasts/20201123_1