By 2050, we will be 10 billion human beings on earth. 10 billion mouths to feed. The demand for food will increase sharply. The Danish food industry is part of the solution. We will provide Danish solutions to global challenges.
Population growth, food demand and climate change are major challenges. Food production impacts the climate and, as a result, new and innovative solutions are needed if we are to satisfy everyone’s appetite while considering the climate challenges the world is facing.
The Danish food industry is ready to take up this challenge. We want to set an example. And we want to create solutions that can not only be the answer to Danish gas emissions, but can also inspire and lead the way for our colleagues around the world.
That is why we want the Danish food industry to be climate-neutral by 2050. It is an ambitious vision. And today, we cannot say exactly how it can be achieved.
But it is essential that we think bigger than Denmark. Climate is a global challenge and there is therefore a need to act in line with the UN’s global goals to limit world hunger, combat climate change and ensure a sustainable production through partnerships. Hasty solutions, such as limiting the Danish food production, may seem interesting according to national figures, but they do not solve global climate challenges, quite the contrary.
The solution is however to find ways to produce more with less. To develop new methods that ensure that food production leaves a smaller climate footprint. Fortunately, in Denmark, we have all the conditions required to take the initiative and lead the way towards climate-neutral food production. We already have one of the most climate-friendly food productions in the world. Good agricultural practices, innovative companies and efficient research have made Danish food production one of the most climate-friendly in the world today. There are many examples: manure that is transformed into energy, crop production residues that become proteins, cows that eat less but give more milk, etc. Thanks to these advances, we are on the right track.
“The solution is to find ways to produce more with less. To develop new methods that ensure that food production leaves a smaller climate footprint. Fortunately, in Denmark, we have all the conditions required to take the initiative and lead the way towards climate-neutral food production.”
Martin Merrild, president & Anne Lawaetz Arhnung, executive director, Danish Agriculture & Food Council
But yesterday’s solutions will not solve global climate challenges. We are constantly striving to grow, set new goals and find new methods. We want to be an integral part of the solution to the challenges that our industry and society are facing. With our vision of climate, the food industry invites the whole Denmark to find the solutions of tomorrow, so that together we can achieve this vision of a climate-neutral food production in 2050.
If we want to see this vision come true, we must work together. Universities with their knowledge. The State with its resources. Farmers with their adaptability and know-how. Companies with their ambition and willingness to develop, which, for example, will be able to optimise transport and packaging, ensure that all the raw materials are used and create the climate-friendly products that consumers demand. And all those who have the desire, the will and the knowledge to ensure the production of climate-friendly food. It won't be easy. It requires solutions that we cannot even imagine today. And it requires that consumers also take part in this process, for example by agreeing to pay a little more for the new climate-friendly products that we will develop. In return, we can make together a decisive contribution to one of the greatest challenges of our time and, at the same time, ensure that Danish products and solutions are promoted. Denmark is a small country, but we are a food nation with noble traditions and great visions. Together with the whole of Denmark, we will show the world that there is a way towards climate-neutral food production.
The Danish food industry will become climate-neutral by 2050. This means that we will no longer emit more greenhouse gases than we absorb, and we will contribute to achieving this goal through green and sustainable energy. In close collaboration with the rest of Denmark and in line with the UN's global objectives, we will show the world that there is an economically sustainable path to climate-neutral food production.
Climate emergency can be observed all over the world. Melting glaciers, rising sea levels and extreme weather conditions require action. At the same time, the global demand for food is increasing and, according to UN forecasts, the number of mouths to feed will rise to nearly 10 billion in 2050.
The climate is a real challenge for the whole world. Indeed, our planet will face major changes if we fail to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.
We are already seeing some of these changes. The average global temperature is increasing. And even if a single hot summer or a single humid autumn cannot be attributed solely to climate change, we are seeing, in many places, more extreme weather conditions with greater fluctuations in one direction or the other than we have experienced in the past.
That is why we must act. We must reduce the planet's greenhouse gas emissions. The global food industry faces an important task as, according to the IPCC, food production accounts for 24% of the world’s CO2 emissions.
At the same time, the world population is increasing. It is projected to reach nearly 10 billion people in 2050. If we want these 10 billion people to have enough to eat, it is necessary to produce even more food: cereals, maize, vegetables and potatoes. In addition, meat demand alone is expected to reach about 455 million tonnes in 2050, partly due to the fact that more and more people will – fortunately – be lifted out of poverty, and will therefore supplement their diets with meat, such as chicken, beef or pork.
This is why the time has come for the most sustainable and innovative actors to take the lead and pave the way for tomorrow's food production. We must find Danish solutions to global challenges. We must show the way forward to produce more food while reducing our climate footprint. We must think innovatively, learn from our actions and show the Chinese farmer that it is possible to create a hood for his barn that will allow him to recover the methane emitted by his cows' eructation and reuse it as fuel for his tractor. We need to develop techniques that allow the Argentine veterinarian to vaccinate cows so that they do not emit methane. And we need to research green concrete, plant breeding and all kinds of other known and unknown scenarios that can really pave the way for a climate-neutral food production.
For some, the answer today is to reduce Denmark's production, but that would not solve the global challenge. Indeed, it will be necessary to continue to satisfy the exponential demand in food, and reducing the Danish production would only shift it to countries where milk, cereal or meat production has a higher climate footprint. More needs to be produced, and the Danish food industry has a duty to find climate-neutral solutions.
For the good of all of us. And for the good of the climate.
The path to climate neutrality in 2050 is not a path that the food industry must follow alone. That is why our vision is also an invitation to the whole of Denmark to undertake this journey with us. We invite policy makers, researchers, advocacy groups, our international colleagues, businesses and consumers to actively participate in finding solutions that will allow us to achieve the objectives that will make our vision come true.