Feeding the 9 billion people projected by mid-century is possible, but doing so will require major economic and political changes, Juan Gonzales-Valero of agri-business leader Syngenta said on the second day at the conference. Gonzales-Valero presented the findings of Vision 2050, an effort by the World Business Council of Sustainable Development, representing 29 of the world’s most influential companies, to develop pathways to a one-planet economy by 2050.
Sustainably providing for 9 billion people would require halving CO2 emissions, doubling agricultural output, and providing for a four- to tenfold increase in resource efficiency. “We believe it is possible. It is not a Utopian vision,” Gonzalez-Valero said. “Most of the necessary technologies are already in place. It’s about how they can be applied and shared.”
But reaching these goals will require radical transformations to existing government and market structures, including a rethinking of the way things are valued to better reflect their external cost and value. He called on governments and business to work together in the transition. Only companies that can build sustainable thinking into their strategy for the future will be able to be successful in the rapidly approaching era of resource constraints, he said.