The annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) kicked off in Davos yesterday, and continues all week, putting a focus on food insecurity and climate change—challenges biotech can address.
Returning to Davos in January for the first time since 2020, the meeting brings together close to 3,000 world leaders, CEOs, civil society, media, and more with the theme “Cooperation in a Fragmented World.” Topics covered include COVID-19, climate change, and how to feed the 830 million people who are food insecure.
“Challenges to human and planetary health have been further compounded by rising costs, supply chain disruptions and climate change. How can we strengthen the connections between food-nature-health for more affordable, healthy and sustainable diets?” asks a WEF brief on the event.
Biotech, and members of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) are well represented at the event during sessions on:
- food security, featuring Bayer CEO Werner Baumann;
- biotech revolution, featuring Ginkgo Bioworks CEO Jason Kelly and Novo Nordisk Foundation CEO Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen;
- the state of the pandemic, featuring Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel;
- health topics, featuring the CEOs of Novartis and Sanofi.
Food security and biotech
“New technologies and practices can help producers improve productivity while minimizing their impacts on the climate and nature,” says the Forum’s report on sustainable food systems published yesterday. The report calls for “climate smart and nature positive” agriculture and improved policy.
“At a high level, the transformation pathways and levers are well known: the global community must implement climate-smart and nature-positive food and agricultural practices, change how and what we consume, innovate, focus public policy, take new approaches to financing, and collaborate across public and private sectors,” says the report, which was created in collaboration with Bain & Company.
Climate change and biotech
“Technologies under development will contribute about 40% of greenhouse gas emission reductions, according to International Energy Agency (IEA),” says an article prepared for the meeting by the WEF.
Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is one of the solutions that “can lower CO2 emissions from aviation by up to 100% compared to conventional jet fuel,” but needs more R&D funding, according to an article for WEF by Boom Technology CEO Blake Scholl.
BIO is on the same page, urging more action by the government to encourage the creation and application of ground-breaking technologies that are essential for achieving greenhouse gas reduction objectives.