Transforming Food System

Historic productivity gains in the food sector have come at alarming environmental and health costs. To meet the aspiration of establishing inclusive, efficient, sustainable, nutritious and healthy food systems capable of achieving the SDGs, a comprehensive transformation is required. We need to fundamentally change the way food is produced, including the practices of agri-industrial operations and over 500 million smallholder farmers, as well as the way 7.7 billion individuals consume food. Many hurdles, including financial, cultural, and mindset challenges, are preventing stakeholders from making these required changes. Therefore, to spur these shifts on a large scale requires realigning and creating the right incentives for stakeholders in the food system.

The report, developed by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with McKinsey & Company, outlines four pathways for creating the right incentives to transform food systems. The report highlights key barriers along each of these pathways and proposes a menu of solutions that can address these challenges as well as the role different stakeholders can play in incentivising shifts. It proposes a roadmap for change with five action areas that the global community can mobilize to incentivise transformation. Lastly, the report illustrates how the four incentive pathways can be used to incentivise adoption of beneficial agriculture practices by farmers – practices impactful enough to reduce agricultural GHG emissions by around 30% of projected global agricultural emissions in 2050, which is equivalent to more than five times the annual emissions of aircrafts.