Day: September 2, 2020

For Fish, Finding Bread Crumbs Means Losing Their Way

Read the full story at Hakai Magazine.

New research from the Cook Islands suggests baiting at snorkeling sites changes fish behavior and disrupts reef ecosystems.

A Vanishing Coast

View the storymap from the Illinois Coastal Management Program.

Extensive erosion at Illinois Beach State Park has consumed over 100 acres of habitat in the past 80 years. The rate of loss isn’t slowing.

Webinar: Don’t Get Left Behind: What is your Sustainability-EHS Fluency?

September 30, 2020, 1 pm CDT
Register here.

Effective leaders know the business environment in which they operate, and they anticipate the risk and opportunities that will determine success.  Over the last decade disruptive innovations, new business models, products that challenge established industry practices and now a pandemic have put a focus on sustainability (environmental social governance (ESG) non-financial issues/impacts/risks) among corporate stakeholders.

This webinar is designed to help develop your sustainability fluency and begin to connect the dots on sustainability and EHS management. EHS management through a sustainability lens systematically helps companies identify, assess, manage, and continually improve ESG risks and opportunities, developing KPIs and creating value for the company and its stakeholders. These corporate stakeholders are moving the needle on sustainability expectations globally.  Join us as we connect the dots and help you stay ahead of the curve to influence EHS and ESG performance at the top levels in your company.  You will learn to:

  • Increase your Sustainability fluency.  Begin to develop a high-level understanding of the linkages that are evolving between Corporate, EHS and Sustainability performance
  • Understand how corporate and EHS stakeholders are expanding and their influence on EHS decision making
  • Begin to build a company specific ‘next steps roadmap’ to align sustainability and EHS initiatives and performance to create value for your company

Review: Food Industry By-Products used as a Functional Food Ingredients

Helkar, PB, et al (2016). “Review: Food Industry By-Products used as a Functional Food Ingredients.” International Journal of Waste Resources 6(3), 1000248. doi: 10.4172/2252-5211.1000248. [open access]

Abstract: The food industry generate large amount of wastes or by-products annually around the world from a variety of sources. In that food wastes or by-products are an excellent source of nutraceuticals, bioactives, inherently functional and possess many components that are good for human health. Food wastes or by-products convert to the functional food ingredients it is the healthy trends in the food industry. The waste management is one of the major parts of food industries. The large volume of the low cost by-product gives economical advantage of its potentially valuable components and environmental benefits. Therefore, the recovery of by-products to health beneficial product and economic benefit to labour, stakeholder and country. As people become increasingly aware of the relation between diet and good health. Consumer attitude towards health foods is promising development and the scope of functional foods is growing in the world markets. Consumers believe that foods are taken directly effects on their health as a good or as a bad. Today foods are not only used to satisfy our hunger but also to provide essential nutrients for humans and these nutrients having the health benefits, protecting and controlling from the diseases. The market for the functional foods has seen a tremendous demand in the recent years. This review article enlists various food industries by products that are being commercially used in functional food ingredients for human consumption.

How Big Data Helps in the Fight Against Climate Change

Read the full story at Inside Big Data.

Amid the ongoing and wall-to-wall coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic, you may have missed an important piece of news. An academic paper published last month by Australian climate scientist, Steven Sherwood and a team of global colleagues, is arguably one of the most important – and one of the most terrifying – pieces of climate change research to emerge in recent years. 

The paper increases the estimate for the increase in world temperatures over the next century to between 2.5 and 4 degrees celsius. This is significantly above the 2 degree threshold enshrined in the Paris agreement, and is extremely bad news for the sustainability of our food production system.

As such, the paper has also brought renewed focus on ways to cut carbon emissions, and some analysts believe that big data is key in this effort. In this article, we’ll explore why.

Upcycling helps reduce U.S. food waste, boost sustainability

Read the full story at Natural Products Insider.

Suppliers can repurpose production byproducts viewed as waste into usable ingredients, getting more nutrition and value out of sources such as grains, fruits and vegetables.

Industry 4.0 technology to achieve sustainability goals in food and beverages plants

Read the full story in Manufacturing Today.

Approximately 67 % of digitally active Indians are environment friendly and claim to prefer eco-friendly products – including food and beverages, claimed a survey by The Euromonitor International. The current times has only brought about an increased awareness amongst consumers to evaluate the health and environmental impact of their purchases.

Strong demand for convenient, healthier foods and beverages – produced and packaged in the most environmentally friendly way possible – is placing critical importance on sustainability at every stage of the value chain. Existing resources like land and water which are critical for agriculture are facing an increased pressure, warranting a need for the food industry to move towards more energy efficient operations.

How our food choices cut into forests and put us closer to viruses

A palm oil plantation in Malaysia. (Shutterstock)

by Terry Sunderland (University of British Columbia)

As the global population has doubled to 7.8 billion in about 50 years, industrial agriculture has increased the output from fields and farms to feed humanity. One of the negative outcomes of this transformation has been the extreme simplification of ecological systems, with complex multi-functional landscapes converted to vast swaths of monocultures.

From cattle farming to oil palm plantations, industrial agriculture remains the greatest driver of deforestation, particularly in the tropics. And as agricultural activities expand and intensify, ecosystems lose plants, wildlife and other biodiversity.

The permanent transformation of forested landscapes for commodity crops currently drives more than a quarter of all global deforestation. This includes soy, palm oil, beef cattle, coffee, cocoa, sugar and other key ingredients of our increasingly simplified and highly processed diets.

The erosion of the forest frontier has also increased our exposure to infectious diseases, such as Ebola, malaria and other zoonotic diseases. Spillover incidents would be far less prevalent without human encroachment into the forest.

We need to examine our global food system: Is it doing its job, or is it contributing to forest destruction and biodiversity loss — and putting human life at risk?

What are we eating?

The food most associated with biodiversity loss also tends to also be connected to unhealthy diets across the globe. Fifty years after the Green Revolution — the transition to intensive, high yielding food production reliant on a limited number of crop and livestock species — nearly 800 million people still go to bed hungry; one in three is malnourished; and up to two billion people suffer some sort of micronutrient deficiency and associated health impacts, such as stunting or wasting.

Forest cut down for an agricultural field
A large soy field cuts into the forest in Brazil. (Shutterstock)

The environmental impacts of our agricultural systems are also severe. The agricultural sector is responsible for up to 30 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions, soil erosion, excessive water use, the loss of important pollinators and chemical pollution, among other impacts. It is pushing planetary boundaries even further.

In short, modern agriculture is failing to sustain the people and the ecological resources on which they rely. The incidence of infectious diseases correlates with the current loss of biodiversity.

Deforestation and disease

Few viruses have generated more global response than the SARS-CoV-2 virus responsible for the current pandemic. Yet in the past 20 years, humanity has also faced SARS, MERS, H1N1, Chikungunya, Zika and numerous local outbreaks of Ebola. All of them are zoonotic diseases and at least one, Ebola, has been linked to deforestation.

Farming large numbers of genetically similar livestock along the forest frontier may provide a route for pathogens to mutate and become transmissible to humans. Forest loss and landscape change bring humans and wildlife into ever-increasing proximity, heightening the risk of an infectious disease spillover.

An estimated 70 per cent of the global forest estate is now within just one kilometre of a forest edge — a statistic that starkly illustrates the problem. We are destroying that critical buffer that forests provide.

Zoonoses may be more prevalent in simplified systems with lower levels of biodiversity. In contrast, more diverse communities lower the risk of spillover into human populations. This form of natural control is known as the “dilution effect” and illustrates why biodiversity is an important regulatory mechanism.

The pandemic is further heightening pressures on forests. Increased unemployment, poverty and food insecurity in urban areas is forcing internal migration, as people return to their rural homes, particularly in the tropics. This trend will no doubt increase demands on remaining forest resources for fuel wood, timber and further conversion for small-scale agriculture.

Wet markets under scrutiny

The links between zoonoses and wildlife has led to many calls during the current pandemic to ban the harvest and sale of wild meat and other forms of animal source foods. That might be too hasty a reaction: wild meat is an essential resource for millions of rural people, particularly in the absence of alternative animal food sources.

It is, however, not necessarily essential for urban dwellers who do have alternative sources of animal protein to purchase wild meat as a “luxury” item. Urban markets selling wild meat could increase the risk of zoonotic spillover but not all wet markets are the same. There are countless wet markets throughout the world that do not sell wildlife products and such markets are fundamental to the food security and nutrition as well as the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people.

Shoppers and vendors in an open-air market, with fruits and vegetables nearby
Vendors sell vegetables at a wet market in Bangkok, Thailand. (AP Photo/ Gemunu Amarasinghe)

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, international agencies, including the Committee on World Food Security, have been concerned about the long-term viability of our current food system: could it provide diverse and nutritious diets while maintaining environmental sustainability and landscape diversity? The current pandemic has highlighted major shortfalls in our environmental stewardship.

We must harness the interconnected nature of our forests and food systems more effectively if we are to avoid future crises. Better integration of forests, agroforests (the incorporation of trees into agricultural systems) at the broader landscape scale, breaking down the institutional, economic, political and spatial separation of forestry and agriculture, can provide the key to a more sustainable, food secure and healthier future.

Terry Sunderland, Professor in the Faculty of Forestry, University of British Columbia

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Webinar: Walmart’s Strategic Approach to Sustainable Packaging

Wednesday, September 16th, 11 am CDT
Register here.

Join us on Wednesday, September 16 for a webinar with our special guest Ashley C. Hall, Director of Sustainable Packaging for Walmart discussing Walmart’s Strategic Approach to Sustainable Packaging

What they will cover:

  • Priorities for sustainable packaging and how Walmart is advancing in these areas
  • Challenges faced in advancing sustainable packaging and what has emerged because of the Covid-19 pandemic
  • Emerging solutions and U.S. collaborative initiatives to advance circular systems for packaging
  • Plus, answering questions from attendees

Until then, here are some Pure Strategies resources that may be of interest:

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