Creating a Sustainable Food Future
WRI explores how the world’s growing demand for food can be met while preserving biodiversity and minimizing the negative impacts of food production.
The world faces immense challenges in sustainably feeding the world’s population. Hundreds of millions of people remain hungry, agriculture uses almost half the world’s vegetated land and food production generates one-quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, more than 1 billion tons of food is lost or wasted every year, while diets in many parts of the world are driving demand for more resource-intensive foods.
The world is projected to hold nearly 10 billion people by 2050, making these challenges even more urgent. According to WRI research, sustainably feeding this exploding population requires meeting three needs simultaneously: the world will have to close a gap of 56% between the amount of food available today and that required by 2050; reduce agriculture’s impact on climate, ecosystems and water; and ensure that agriculture supports inclusive economic and social development.
of global greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture
of all food produced is lost or wasted
Cows and other ruminants contribute roughly half of all emissions from agriculture and land-use
Working along the whole life cycle of food industry, including production, supply and consumption, WRI is dedicated to a sustainable and resilient food and land transition. We also advocate for the best use of natural resources to accelerate climate mitigation and adaptation, protect biodiversity and achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals. With these efforts combined, we believe that environmental protection and human health can go hand-in-hand.
Our research identifies a menu of solutions to the world’s food production and consumption problems. To advance these solutions, we:
Develop research, tools and partnerships to help countries, cities and businesses measure and reduce their food loss and waste.
Analyze strategies to sustainably increase food production, such as by restoring degraded lands back into productivity, increasing pastureland yields and improving land and water management.
Advance methods to reduce food production’s impact on the environment, such as climate-smart agriculture.
Help dining facilities and others shrink their climate footprints by shifting toward plant-rich foods.
This whole-systems approach aims to make the food system sustainable everywhere from production to consumption.
The Food & Natural Resources Program focuses on a number of specific Initiatives. Explore all Resources in depth.