Edition 1

Sustainable food security – is a global supply chain a thing of the past?

June 2020

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Edition Overview

By David Farquhar, CEO

At IGS we are very aware just what a challenging time this is for our customers and partners, with many countries across the globe still considering the right strategies to alleviate COVID-19 restrictions. There is still much speculation as to what a ‘new normal’ will look like. There are many discussions to be undertaken and learnings to be identified from this pandemic as we adapt and shape our planning for the future.

The impact on the agrifood industry and its complex supply chains has yet to become clear but it seems likely the full implications will take many months or even years to completely emerge. Indeed, the United Nations is already warning of impending food shortages in some parts of the world. Commentators are also highlighting that whatever we do next it must take climate change into account. This, twinned with disruptions to planting, harvesting and logistics, indicates that sustainable food security strategies are likely to come under close scrutiny in the short, medium and indeed long term.

A secure, sustainable supply chain will be vital from the start of the growing process through to retail shelves and the final point of consumption. The importance of the whole food ecosystem is under scrutiny, and rightly so. We need to be thinking about today, tomorrow and 30 years in the future. There are immediate challenges, engulfed by much broader, wider and deeper issues such as climate change. We have a reset moment in our hands right now and the opportunity to ensure that we consider it carefully and collaboratively.

Through our new thought leadership publication - Clima - we intend to examine the challenges, garner insights and share advice intended to provide support as together we chart the way forward. No single organisation has a monopoly on potential solutions to these issues therefore we have sought to bring you a range of viewpoints from industry leaders across our wide network.

In this inaugural edition of Clima we are delighted to welcome Professor Colin Campbell, Chief Executive at the James Hutton Institute, the world-leading research institute where our demonstration facilities are based. Professor Campbell explores what he believes are the greatest barriers to achieving a secure, sustainable food supply and talks about the role science and technology have to play in attaining this goal.

We are also very fortunate to be joined by Michael Dean, co-founder of specialist agrifood venture capital platform AgFunder. Michael shares his thoughts on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and explores the future of food supply chains as well as the limitations the ever-expanding agrifood sector may have to overcome as it develops to support our growing population. There is a growing body of opinion that more national/local food systems will be required to replace the regional and global ones that developed prior to COVID-19.

We are more convinced than ever that collaboration, informed discussion and debate will help to create a more sustainable and secure food eco-system for the future. We welcome your feedback and hope that you find this edition of Clima insightful and thought-provoking.

Best wishes

David Farquhar, CEO, IGS

Colin Campbell

Chief Executive, The James Hutton Institute

Interview and Podcast

Michael Dean

Founding Partner, Agfunder