Bayer Foundations Alumni day last month in Berlin proved an excellent opportunity to learn about innovative ideas and hear inspiring insights.
One of the discussions was on the disruptive power of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Marc Buckley, SDG Advocate, explained why we need a food reform that is sustainable and healthy. Since its first appearances, agriculture shaped our world drastically. However, in recent times, agriculture and farming processes have become increasingly unsustainable, predicting speed and quantity over natural rhythms and quality of yields. The consequences of these practices led us to select and grow only the crops and animals that could provide better results: today 75% of the world’s food is made out of 12 plants and five animal species, with only 10 companies controlling most of the world’s food brands. These elements lead to a food system that is not diverse and not resilient. This, paired with climate change and the surpassing of planetary boundaries, means our food system is now weak and unstable.
“We need a global food reform,” Marc said, and the SDGs provide a people and planet protection plan, a manifesto of what the world should be like. All 17 SDGs are intrinsically tied to food, especially 11 of them, and their application can generate 12 trillion dollars in new business value per year. Around $90 trillion in investment is needed by 2030 to reach the SDGs and keep the temperature rise below 1.5 degrees: this is only 14 trillion dollars more investment in respect to the high-carbon scenario.
“Everything in our world is made of complex systems: let’s embrace the SDGs system,” Marc added.
Following Marc’s powerful speech, Dan Watson, Co-Founder of SafetyNet Technologies Ltd., revealed to the participants the nature of the mysterious object that had been delivered to each attendee. All devices lit up at once: innovative light emitting devices that allow fisheries to catch target species and reduce bycatch, making the fishing industry more sustainable.
“Bycatch is a big problem,” Dan said. Their research revealed that a different light attracts each fish species, so they created a set of lights that will change the colour based on the type of fish that needs to be caught. SafetyNet, together with BISA, was also one of the day’s Grants4Impact winners, an initiative that funds game changing impact innovations that can build a better world.
You can read more from Marc Buckley in the spring launch edition of Impact Innovators, produced in collaboration with Knowledge4Innovation.