Global Table - a global vision for humanity
Did you know Oceania is second only to North America for the most food loss at the consumption end of the value chain?
What a disheartening statistic.
If we are to have a sustainable future, this attitude and behaviour needs to change.
Luckily, when humans create problems, humans work to solve them and this couldn’t have been truer at the recent Global Table event in Melbourne.
Sprout COO Chelsea Millar attended the event on behalf of the team and came back full of inspirational reports.
Global Table was created to showcase what entrepreneurs and researchers are doing to solve some of the world’s biggest problems. Those problems are outlined by the UN at the 2015 Assembly resulting in 17 goals Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s.) to guide us to a sustainable 2030. They address poverty, clean water and sanitation, decent work and economic growth, responsible consumption and production + 13 others.
Sprout is working to align our company activity with these global blueprints for the future.
One of the biggest SDG’s attacked by innovative thought at the event was “responsible consumption and production”. In other words? Waste.
Food waste, packaging waste and water waste.
Here’s an overview.
Zero Mass Water
Imagine using the energy from the sun to produce clean drinking water, in turn reducing the number of plastic water bottles purchased. This is one example of how they are using renewable technologies to produce products other than electricity.
To build sustainable communities by providing them the technology to have potable, off the grid, water supply.
This impressive company is working to refine a chemical plastic recycling plant that turns plastic back into its original oil form. This oil can then be reused in new products. This year they have finally perfected the process but due to Australian laws can’t build the plant or operate it in Australia, so have to commission their first one in the UK.
The decision by China to stop taking the world’s waste has fuelled a lot of companies like Licella to commercialise their ideas quicker.
TRIA, a Singapore based company, is looking at packaging waste from a table-to-farm perspective. Think transforming single-use packaging from fast food companies (like KFC) into fertiliser for the farm within 24hrs.
Their CEO Pei Kang, made comment that the Singapore government is passing tenders to make corporates partake in waste reduction. This has allowed the waste innovation ecosystem to boom knowing there is a ready made market for their products.
“It’s amazing how influential government policy can be in helping us achieve a sustainable future,” Chelsea says.
Based in San Francisco, Treasure8 have developed a series of drying technologies converting ‘waste’ food into upcycled products. CEO Derk Hendriksen made a comment that over-consumption of food is a big issue (just look at our climbing obesity rates) and ‘labelling’ food as ‘waste’ is another, when really we should be viewing this waste as value that sits ideal.
One company who sees value in ‘waste food’ is South African company Truly Good. Founder Chris van der Merwe is turning food waste (think ugly fruit, over produced food etc.) into daily foods like pasta, and pizza bases. What they’re trying to achieve is twofold:
Improve the health of the human population through the reduction of carbohydrates in the diet and
Reduce the amount of food waste in our system.
These are just a few companies that caught Chelsea’s eye and gave her hope for what we can do to address some of the world’s biggest problems.
Of course it wouldn’t be an innovation event if they didn’t talk about cellular food production, plant based diets, hemp as a new form food and new food production techniques.
All of these discussions were underpinned by the need to eat for our health.
Research out of CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, is proving the importance of microbes to perform functions and generate substance, which are vital to the health of water, soils, plants, animals and humans.
Specifically for humans, advancements in at home microbes testing (gut health analysis) are gaining momentum. Start Up companies like Microba are aiding this personalised diet trend through development of at home testing kits to help formulate a specific diet for you and your organisms.
So what does the future hold?
Food needs to be convenient, good for health and functional
Plants are proving to be the solution for a lot of issues - health, packaging, and water
Government policy will play a role in regulating corporate responsibility of waste
The need for humanity to innovate is stronger than ever
Attitudes and therefore behaviour need to change if we are to make any improvement on our future
There is a greater need to invest in clever people who will help the planet, it’s people and create our sustainable future.
However, it all starts with point five: Attitude Change.
How are you going to contribute to a more circular economy, so you play a role in helping achieve the UN’s 2030 vision of a more sustainable planet?