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Posts Tagged ‘food security’

The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. –Mark Twain

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A few years ago, the environmentalist – Daryl Hannah, wrote an article entitled;  “If Food Waste Were a Country, It Would Rank No. 3 for Greenhouse Gas Emissions”.  In that article, she suggested that maximizing regional self-sufficiency with prudent agricultural practices and energy production conservation methods will strengthen local economies, make them more resilient  … and ease the sense of scarcity and the economic burden increasingly felt by the majority. To my chagrin, I have to agree with Ms. Hanah. Food is a critical Sustainability issue and will continue to be so for the next four decades, especially if we don’t begin addressing it today.

In 1980, just as the Green Revolution began being implemented in much of the world, 47 percent of all children in the developing world had stunted growth, a good measure of their nutrition level. By the year 2000, it had dropped to 33 percent. The Green Revolution laid the cornerstone for adequate nourishment by increasing the available calories and protein of the developing world’s people. Statistician Amy Pearce estimates that Norman Borlaug’s Green Revolution resulted in over 245 million lives being saved due to improved nutrition.

As Borlaug continued his efforts to expand agricultural success, he found himself fighting off some environmentalists who denounced his methods of using large amounts of fertilizer and pesticide. Borlaug responded, “Some of the environmental lobbyists of the Western nations are the salt of the earth, but many of them are elitists. They’ve never experienced the physical sensation of hunger. They do their lobbying from comfortable office suites in Washington or Brussels. They have never produced a ton of food. If they lived just one month amid the misery of the developing world, as I have for 60 years, they’d be crying out for fertilizer, herbicides, irrigation canals and tractors and be outraged that fashionable elitists back home were trying to deny them these things.”

Borlaug notes that without modern farming technology, an additional area the size of the contiguous United States would have to be farmed to feed today’s world population. Thus, a side benefit of Borlaug’s Green Revolution may be that it saved more land for wilderness than any other single environmental initiative.[1]

Thirty two years later, the EPA quantifies the magnitude of food waste in the United States. “More food reaches landfills and incinerators than any other single material in municipal solid waste (MSW). In 2012 alone, more than 36 million tons of food waste was generated, with only five percent diverted from landfills and incinerators for composting.”

The US EPA suggests six ways of utilizing food more efficiently. “How Can I Divert Food From Landfills?” If you go to that web page will read kore details (http://www.epa.gov/waste/conserve/foodwaste/), but the generally focus are on these six points:

•    Source Reduction/Prevention – Preventing food waste before it is created
•    Feeding People – Donating fresh, wholesome food to those in need
•    Feeding Animals – Feeding safe, fresh food scraps to animals like pig farms
•    Industrial Uses – Rendering fats, oils, and grease and turning it into products or biofuel
•    Composting – Turning food waste into a valuable soil amendment
•    Anaerobic Digestion – Turning food waste into renewable energy and a valuable soil amendment

This problem is on the mind of Ken Botts who is the special projects manager of the University of North Texas Food Department. Ken and I had lunch the other day and he shared that he firmly believed in Sustainability and one of the tenants is to eliminate waste, in his case – food waste. He shared that the food department is trying to do a better job of communicating the issue of food waste and plans an awareness campaign to launch UNT’s food waste recovery program. This is an extension of his efforts from last year: http://ntdaily.com/unt-to-launch-food-waste-recovery-program-in-fall/

What are the environmental benefits from reducing or eliminating food waste?
•    It reduces methane generated by decomposition in landfills
•    It reduces natural resource (land and water) use associated with food production
•    It creatives a valuable soil amendment (nutrients are returned to the soil)
•    It improves sanitation, Public Safety, and Health at your facility

What are the economic benefits from reducing or eliminating food waste?
•    It lowers overall disposal costs
•    It reduces over purchasing and labor costs
•    It receives tax benefits by donating food

What are the social benefits from reducing or eliminating food waste?
•    It feeds people, not landfills

As Ray Anderson, the first Sustainability pioneer, said;  “I also believe that it doesn’t happen quickly (e.g. Sustainability) … it happens one mind at a time, one organization at a time, one building, one company, one community, one region, one new, clean technology, one industry, one supply chain at a time … until the entire industrial system has been transformed into a sustainable system, existing ethically in balance with Earth’s natural systems, upon which every living thing is utterly dependent.”

If we listen to what Mr. Anderson urged, that identifying waste is not only a part of the solution, it is the action we must be take to eliminate the waste. We quantify success by results measured. So, we can finally see that it is indeed “transformed into a sustainable system, existing ethically in balance with Earth’s natural systems, upon which every living thing is utterly dependent.” To divert food waste from landfills would be testament to Mr. Anderson’s insight. In this case, benefits for American citizens dependent on food stamps and those countries, globally, that do no have enough food today. Reclaiming 36 million tons of food could be the largest gift to the world.

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[1] Wilson, Chuck, “Father of the Green Revolution – He Helped Feed the World!”,ScienceHeros.com, Retrieved: 18 Sep 2012

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Building a bridge to benefits thumbnail

Owners, Executive and other Leaders are investigating a global world concerned about Sustainability, that type of understanding can be difficult to obtain. In early December 2013, I published my second book entitled “Building a Bridge to Benefits”. If you are interested in reading about the book or want to purchase copies today, here is the link to CreateSpace, an Amazon company, go to: https://www.createspace.com/4532590
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Contact information and Services
A Certified Sustainability and Quality consultancy
•    Sustainability and Quality Consulting
•    Sustainability and Quality Workshops
•    Sustainability and Quality Speaking Engagements

Jarvis Business Solutions, LLC

Toll Free: (888) 743-3128
Email: Ralph.Jarvis@JarvisBusinessSolutions.com
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“Where would we be without salt?”  ~  Ralph Jarvis
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The world is changing even the basic needs are at stake such as food and water. Reduction or elimination of food production while demand increases for food could create a tragic scenario in the not too distant future. Top leadership in some countries are looking beyond such a cataclysmic scenario and making plans and solutions to prepare for food management.

For instance, China’s goal is to continue manufacturing finished goods, at big levels, will consume their available water and impact food production. So, this year China’s leadership addressed this water usage solution by simply making a deal to farm 3.0 million hectares (11, 583 square miles) of Ukrainian land over the span of half a century. But China is not alone:

2008
Egypt: bought 800.000 hectares from Uganda
UAE: bought 324.000 hectares from Pakistan
 
2009
South Korea: bought 690,000 hectares from Sudan
 
2010
Egypt: bought 427.000 hectares from Russia
Egypt: bought 400.000 hectares from Sudan

Source: King, Ritchie; Quartz, http://www.qz.com

Here is an article that would expand on these ideas: McKinsey article: Resource revolution

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Jarvis Business Solutions, LLC
Contact Information
Email: Ralph.Jarvis@JarvisBusinessSolutions.com
Blog: http://horizons.JarvisBusinessSolutions.com
Web site: http://www.JarvisBusinessSolutions.com
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/corporatesocialresponsibility/

Lead Smart, Endless Opportunities when Sustainability is driven by Lean Six Sigma
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This was a published press release by KPMG, and outlines the ten megaforces which will shape the commercial landscape for the next 20 years. Articles, reposts and videos, in this category, will relate to current and possible future impact of these ten megaforces.

The KPMG study, Expect the Unexpected: Building Business Value in a Changing World, explores issues such as climate change, energy and fuel volatility, water availability and cost and resource availability, as well as population growth spawning new urban centers. The analysis examines how these global forces may impact business and industry, calculates the environmental costs to business, and calls for business and policymakers to work more closely to mitigate future business risk and act on opportunities.
Michael Andrew, Chairman of KPMG International, said: “We are living in a resource-constrained world. The rapid growth of developing markets, climate change, and issues of energy and water security are among the forces that will exert tremendous pressure on both business and society.”
“We know that governments alone cannot address these challenges. Business must take a leadership role in the development of solutions that will help to create a more sustainable future. By leveraging its ability to enhance processes, create efficiencies, manage risk, and drive innovation, business will contribute to society and long-term economic growth.”
The KPMG research finds that the external environmental costs, which today are often not shown on financial statements**, of 11 key industry sectors jumped 50 percent from US$566 to US$846 billion in 8 years (2002 to 2010), averaging a doubling of these costs every 14 years.

The 10 global sustainability megaforces that may impact business over the next two decades are:

  1. Climate Change: This may be the one global megaforce that directly impacts all others. Predictions of annual output losses from climate change range between 1 percent per year, if strong and early action is taken, to as much as 5 percent a year–if policymakers fail to act.
  2. Energy & Fuel: fossil fuel markets are likely to become more volatile and unpredictable because of higher global energy demand; changes in the geographical pattern of consumption; supply and production uncertainties and increasing regulatory interventions related to climate change.
  3. Material Resource Scarcity: as developing countries industrialize rapidly, global demand for material resources is predicted to increase dramatically. Business is likely to face increasing trade restrictions and intense global competition for a wide range of material resources that become less easily available. Scarcity also creates opportunities to develop substitute materials or to recover materials from waste.
  4. Water Scarcity: it is predicted that by 2030, the global demand for freshwater will exceed supply by 40 percent. Businesses may be vulnerable to water shortages, declines in water quality, water price volatility, and to reputational challenges.
  5. Population Growth: The world population is expected to grow to 8.4 billion by 2032. This will place intense pressures on ecosystems and the supply of natural resources such as food, water, energy and materials. While this is a threat for business, there are also opportunities to grow commerce and create jobs, and to innovate to address the needs of growing populations for agriculture, sanitation, education, technology, finance, and healthcare.
  6. Wealth: the global middle class (defined by the OECD as individuals with disposable income of between US$10 and US$100 per capita per day) is predicted to grow 172 percent between 2010 and 2030. The challenge for businesses is to serve this new middle class market at a time when resources are likely to be scarcer and more price volatile. The advantages many companies experienced in the last two decades from “cheap labor” in developing nations are likely to be eroded by the growth and power of the global middle class.
  7. Urbanization: in 2009, for the first time ever, more people lived in cities than in the countryside. By 2030 all developing regions including Asia and Africa are expected to have the majority of their inhabitants living in urban areas; virtually all Population Growth over the next 30 years will be in cities. These cities will require extensive improvements in infrastructure including construction, water and sanitation, electricity, waste, transport, health, public safety and internet and cell phone connectivity.
  8. Food Security: in the next two decades the global food production system will come under increasing pressure from megaforces including Population Growth, Water Scarcity and Deforestation. Global food prices are predicted to rise 70 to 90 percent by 2030. In water-scarce regions, agricultural producers are likely to have to compete for supplies with other water-intensive industries such as electric utilities and mining, and with consumers. Intervention will be required to reverse growing localized food shortages (the number of chronically under-nourished people rose from 842 million during the late 1990s to over one billion in 2009).
  9. Ecosystem Decline: historically, the main business risk of declining biodiversity and ecosystem services has been to corporate reputations. However, as global ecosystems show increasing signs of breakdown and stress, more companies are realizing how dependent their operations are on the critical services these ecosystems provide. The decline in ecosystems is making natural resources scarcer, more expensive and less diverse; increasing the costs of water and escalating the damage caused by invasive species to sectors including agriculture, fishing, food and beverages, pharmaceuticals and tourism.
  10. Deforestation: Forests are big business – wood products contributed $100 billion per year to the global economy from 2003 to 2007 and the value of non-wood forest products, mostly food, was estimated at about US$18.5 billion in 2005. Yet the OECD projects that forest areas will decline globally by 13 percent from 2005 to 2030, mostly in South Asia and Africa. The timber industry and downstream industries such as pulp and paper are vulnerable to potential regulation to slow or reverse deforestation. Companies may also find themselves under increasing pressure from customers to prove that their products are sustainable through the use of certification standards. Business opportunities may arise through the development of market mechanisms and economic incentives to reduce the rate of deforestation.

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Press Release, KPMG, Sustainability “Megaforces” Impact on Business Will Accelerate, Finds KPMG, 14 Feb 2012; Retrieved: 14 Feb 2012

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21st Century Tragedy Pending
Sustainability is recognizing the need to better manage resources for survivability, while rethinking actual needs, and reducing waste of emissions, energy and water.  In the European Union, sustainability is implemented through government regulations and policies.  In other countries it is not national policy, but corporate leadership that understands needs for change. Sustainability is an American governmental policy, but is only mandated through environmental laws and regulations. Here, sustainability initiatives are voluntary and a choice for the individual and business concerns.  Not surprising, a recent MIT study suggests that  American leaders are motivated by significant tangible results that affect profitability for their enterprises.

Why are so many governments and so many corporations engaged in sustainability? Why are so many studies focused on sustainability? Simple, survival. Here is an example of a recent survey that shows world population growth has grown dramatically and will continue to do so:

  • 1800 less than 3 percent of the world population lived in large urban areas
  • 1900 about 150 million people lived in the largest urban areas
  • 2011 currently about half of the world’s population live in large urban areas, 3 billion (7 billion total)
  • 2050 it is estimated that over 65 percent of the world population will live in urban mega cities, the world’s estimated population will be 9 −10 billion

Additionally, according to KPMG, the 10 global sustainability megaforces that may impact business over the next two decades are:

  • Climate Change: This may be the one global megaforce that directly impacts all others. Predictions of annual output losses from climate change range between 1 percent per year, if strong and early action is taken, to as much as 5 percent a year–if policymakers fail to act.
  • Energy & Fuel: Fossil fuel markets are likely to become more volatile and unpredictable because of higher global energy demand; changes in the geographical pattern of consumption; supply and production uncertainties and increasing regulatory interventions related to climate change.
  • Material Resource Scarcity: As developing countries industrialize rapidly, global demand for material resources is predicted to increase dramatically. Business is likely to face increasing trade restrictions and intense global competition for a wide range of material resources that become less easily available.
  • Water Scarcity: It is predicted that by 2030, the global demand for freshwater will exceed supply by 40 percent.
  • Population Growth: This will place intense pressures on ecosystems and the supply of natural resources such as food, water, energy and materials. While this is a threat for business, there are also opportunities to grow commerce and create jobs, and to innovate to address the needs of growing populations for agriculture, sanitation, education, technology, finance, and healthcare.
  • Wealth: The challenge for businesses is to serve this new middle class market at a time when resources are likely to be scarcer and more price volatile. The advantages many companies experienced in the last two decades from “cheap labor” in developing nations are likely to be eroded by the growth and power of the global middle class.
  • Urbanization: By 2030 all developing regions including Asia and Africa are expected to have the majority of their inhabitants living in urban areas; virtually all Population Growth over the next 30 years will be in cities.
  • Food Security: Global food prices are predicted to rise 70 to 90 percent by 2030. In water-scarce regions, agricultural producers are likely to have to compete for supplies with other water-intensive industries such as electric utilities and mining, and with consumers.
  • Ecosystem Decline: The decline in ecosystems is making natural resources scarcer, more expensive and less diverse; increasing the costs of water and escalating the damage caused by invasive species to sectors including agriculture, fishing, food and beverages, pharmaceuticals and tourism.
  • Deforestation: Wood products contributed $100 billion per year to the global economy … Yet the OECD projects that forest areas will decline globally by 13 percent from 2005 to 2030, mostly in South Asia and Africa. 1

But why do we need to act now?
Political and Business leadership, mostly in Europe, and many multi-national organizations with revenues exceeding $1 Billion annually have recognized the global need for Sustainability and, in many cases, implemented initiatives to transform to 21st century realities.  Major players clearly understand the consequences of their actions, possible scenarios, and the need to manage potential threats or conflicts. The future of current societies will be based on keen understandings of what is required to be efficient, sustainable and promote policies of “zero waste” with long-term commitments from business, governments and citizens.
Many organizations are preparing for limitation of resources in the next three to five years. China has already demonstrated restraints on the export of rare earths or other commodities to the West. For this century, we need Sustainability Leadership that effectively orchestrates resources to preserve our planet for this generation and succeeding generation to meet their needs, whether East or West. Protracted trade wars would have little or no advantage to the global economy and could be a catalyst for a second recession.
To summarize, this man-made global situation, based on poor economic, environmental and social decisions were based on these criteria:

  • Scope: total Global impact (threat to entire biosphere)
  • Business: Involvement and engagement from a global perspective
  • Government: Multi-lateral, multi-country driven legislation and voluntary participation
  • Stakeholders: Consensus varied from Tier 1 – developed and Tier 2 – developing countries. There is no one leader or country that is  inspirational, promotes change and accepts long-term commitment. Responsibilities are unilateral and often centered on individual country priorities.
  • Mitigation: Diplomacy, treaties, government trade and economic policies
  • Result: On-going global discussions for the last thirty years has elevated awareness. Currently, there is no consensus regarding timeline, international sustainability,  or universal strategies to reach a sustainable economy in each country.

Comparing the 20th century to the 21st century, is a contrast in scenarios and outcomes. In the last century, lines were drawn across ideologies and almost produced a cataclysmic event that would have changed the world permanently, in just a few minutes.
Since the 1960s, we watched radical environmentalists confront business and government, to promote environmental and social issues. From the scientific community, environmental and social issues have been studies and shown that indeed our world is changing. Public skepticism has been a byproduct of radical self promotion and scientific bias. Public opinion is concerned about improved economic conditions, while it also has a growing concern over the environment.
Also, we are seeing the expansion of sustainable infrastructure into new areas, destined to build and restore our environment. Successes are often cited in articles about Sustainability initiatives improving business, education, government and the military. Measuring tangible results are posted by the Business Roundtable,  company Sustainability Reports and financial market indices. Sustainability is embraced as a smart choice for future, but it is not quick fix, and will be a long-term commitment.

Footnote:

1 KPMG, Sustainability “Megaforces” Impact on Business Will Accelerate, Finds KPMG, 14 Feb 2012; Retrieved: 14 Feb 2012

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English: Smokestacks from a wartime production...

Dear Journal, March 3, 2052: It continues to be overcast, dark, and hazy again. The weatherman announced that today is a “red” day and particulates are forecasted to be worse for the next eight days. I cough and think; “Why did it have to happen?” We made pollution a common daily event. It is now mid-21st century and where are we going to end up in the next ten years, the next twenty?  George Will once said; “The future has a way of arriving unannounced.”

How does that impact us, now, today? Today, only interior design brings color to our lives by bringing color inside homes, while outside with the smog, we see only shades of gray. It is neither comfortable nor pleasant to open windows in the midst of summer. What the heat scorches, the pollution only amplifies. That layer of dust on the furniture also covers your body. Yes, air pollution has been linked to memory loss, respiratory ailments and heart failure. Remember “Mickie the Miner” said in an interview? He who was so annoyed of hearing people complain about city pollution? He said; “Nobody matters any more!” – is this what our urban culture has come to?

Environmental costs are affecting everyone’s discretionary spending. How many Americans can now afford to use their air conditioning and heating any more? More and more people are going to the “embrace nature” energy campaign where we open our windows and live more like our families did in the 19th century.

Today, we now have over 11 billion people on this planet. Forty years ago they used to say that the planet was not changing, not warming. All megacities continue to work with huge population problems, as well as, pollution that is so dense trees are gray with carbon particulates., Now, add to that megacities that are established on the coastlines around the world. Do you remember the flooding of major cities around the world like Hong Kong, London and New York City? Cities like New Orleans and Venice are either submerged or behind very expensive dikes.

Flooding in this sense is not a one time event. It is the consequence of rising coastlines. There is an estimated 100 million refugees forced out of their cities due to rising coastal waters. They had no potable water, food, electricity, and all fire, police, healthcare, telecommunication and transportation systems were overwhelmed by flooding. Australia and New Zealand have had to commit more defense forces to protect their borders from refugees fleeing from South East Asia. And still, not one country has a policy that addresses coastal flooding.

Transportation has changed, too. Look at the corner service station sign showing $25.00 a gallon for unleaded gasoline. We now have electric cars, fuel-cell powered vehicles, natural gas powered eighteen wheelers, bi-level articulated buses are now standard and mass transit programs have dramatically expanded. Ethanol has not made the impact once thought it could, it only increased food costs. What happened to alternative energy? I can remember when we could take vacations out of state, even out of the country. Those were great experiences. What happened to energy affordability and availability?

It is unimaginable, to see the excessive number of people who have starved in this century. A recent estimate is that the total number of people who starved the 21st century has surpassed the total number of people in the last 300 years. Africa alone has lost more than 90 million people due to lack of food and water. Weather changes in China, Pakistan, Brazil and Australia have created exaggerated cycles from drought to floods. The dwindling flow of water from K2 and Everest areas of Himalayas alone has impacted over a billion people. Those unprecedented cycles have caused extreme crop failures and restricted exports of various grains. Natural disasters that continue to hit US crops as well. I guess there is wisdom in the saying; ““Man has only a thin layer of soil between himself and starvation”.

Do you remember where you were October 13, 2036, when we had our first space crisis? Most people remember not knowing when or where the errant rocket would land. It was to be the first Asian space craft to set up mining operations on the moon. The rocket’s uncontrolled trajectory caused it to burn up in low orbit. The most serious problem was the on-board mining equipment. A nuclear reactor, that powered the extractor, ruptured over an area from Cairo to Tel Aviv. It was estimated that 1.2 million people were exposed to high levels of radiation. How many will die of cancer or radiation exposure?

In the early 2030s, we read and heard about cities on water rations, and various suburban and rural areas that no longer had access to potable water. Yet, industries are continuing to fight against communities over what? Water. One would think that government or industrial leaders could try to solve flooding and drinkable water problems. Communities around the world and industries alike are still dumping their waste, untreated, into lakes, rivers and oceans. Where are the results?

Recall the trade wars from 2021 to 2025? What unfolded when China reinstated their “Accession Protocol”? Their actions in 2021 caused a major trade war between East and West. China lost their economic policy, which many perceived as a loss of face (even with political support from India and Russia). The WTO decision and UN sanctions backed the European Union, Canadian, and US positions. The policy severely impacted trade balance among many countries and the ban on germanium, specifically, halted critical supplies of strategic material for energy and communication products. Fiber optics and photovoltaic solar panel prices increased three-fold in only two years.

In 2023, another strategic event escalated due to Lithium producers export restrictions. The “Lithium Wars”, led by Bolivia, Brazil and Chile, drastically limited electric battery production and eventually caused a global work stoppage for over two years. Only through the successful use of oilfield brine did the battery industry fend off economic collapse in the US.

A recent National Geographic article was about deforestation and its impact on our planet. I had no idea that the rain forests around the world had decreased by 30 percent in just two years . The article documented how laws in various countries were not enforced and farmers continue to eliminate the rain forests to produce crops for only 3 to 4 years. Clearing of forests, produce wood for lumber, but at the same time destroying ecosystems and varieties of plants that have been on this planet since the Jurassic Period. Just the value of knowledge about those rare specimens are unfathomable and forever lost. In 5 years, what remains of the land is often depleted of nutrients and left to erode.

Dear Journal, think about what is happening. Each problem is a global issue by itself. Each of these tribulations, alone, could impact the survival of humanity. But now, we are faced with a convergence of these ten major issues and realize the tremendous impact and severity each bring to our world.  Because of their interconnectedness, each of these issues, could be major problems that might escalate into an epic tragedy. Gandhi said in the 20th century; “Live as if your were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

We should have started fifty years ago. Sad, after 50 years we still do not have anyone accountable. Looking back, one has to sit down and ask; “What have we done?” Then we must respond by saying: “This is not how the story is going to end. We must have the will to Lead Smart, with a vision, and create endless opportunities through Sustainability. It’s not too late! We can have a future and turn our needs into reality.”

 

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