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The Future of Food

The first step toward a more sustainable global food system is to rethink food—where and how we produce and consume it, how we measure and manage its impacts, how we reduce waste, and how we share knowledge about more sustainable solutions. The Market Institute’s “The Future of Food” portal is a platform to encourage the open exchange of ideas and insights around how we can move the global food system toward sustainability.

At “The Future of Food” you can read WWF’s most recent insights on sustainable food, follow current news on issues facing the sector today, learn about major events happening around the globe, and read about key issues and trends that will shape the future of food. We also invite you to share your ideas, insights research, etc. all of which can inform a wider food conversation. Our goal is to help connect the dots so that we can all learn from each other at the speed of life.

  • Date: 22 March 2017
  • Author: Jason Clay

Here’s a hot tip for any region that wants more economic prosperity and job security over the next century: invest in water.

Water is in high and ever-increasing demand. Despite what one might think from the way we use it, fresh water is not in infinite supply. While most of the planet is covered in water, only about one percent is fresh and accessible. In fact, water shortages are increasing, with about 20 percent of the human population already living in areas with water scarcity. By 2025, that number could reach as much as 60 percent.

World Water Day, as celebrated today, is a blip on the radar: a reminder to pause and think about something we literally take for granted every day. We are facing a global water crisis and we need to do something about it.

When we look at the world’s water use versus water supply, the numbers don’t add up. In the last century, water use has been growing at twice the rate of human population growth. We can’t ignore this statistic or its consequences. Our irresponsible use of water directly impacts human lives and livelihoods (droughts and famines), the environment (loss of species and ecosystems), and the economy.

The potential economic impacts of water shortage are clear when looking at how we use water. Of all the fresh water people use, about 70 percent is used to produce food, industry uses another 20 percent, and the rest is used for direct consumption. About 52 billion cubic meters of water are used annually for global energy production. Water is an essential ingredient in manufacturing, energy and food. When the well dries up, industry can no longer operate at even the most basic level.