It’s Go Time on Climate Change

It's Go Time on Climate Change Article Image

Marked by a global pandemic, social unrest, political turmoil, natural disasters and a sudden and devastating economic downturn, 2020 has been brutal. And yet, crazy enough, many silver linings have emerged: Giant corporations are now supporting Black Lives Matter. Brands big and small have pulled ad dollars from Facebook to take a stand against disinformation and hate. Mental health and self-care are finally receiving the attention they deserve.

Clearly, the awful events of 2020 have forced a reckoning for businesses and individuals alike. Perhaps now more than ever, they’ve been compelled to examine their values and figure out exactly who and what they stand for. They’ve also been ignited into action, knowing that to change the trajectory of inequality, racism, food insecurity or any other issue they hold dear, they can no longer sit idle—they must do their part.

This is especially evident when it comes to climate change. Of course, plenty of mission-driven food brands and farmers have been working hard to mitigate its disastrous effects for years, even decades, now. Similarly, millions of consumers have long voted with their dollars by buying local, organic and otherwise sustainable foods. But overall, industry and consumer commitments to step up and truly help protect the planet had not yet reached critical mass.

This year, it seems, the tide may finally be turning. After facing devastating droughts, floods, hurricanes and wildfires in recent years—all linked to climate change—and seeing 2020 bring more of the same, food companies and consumers are thinking about sustainability like never before. And realizing extreme weather’s significant impacts on the food supply, they’re thinking about sustainability specifically through the lens of food.

In fact, extreme weather aside, market research shows COVID-19 alone has accelerated several food sustainability trends. Now having experienced empty grocery store shelves, which exposed the fragility of food supply chains, consumers, many for the first time, are looking at the food system big picture. They want to know where their food comes from, trust that brands stand by their eco-promises and support farmers who produce food sustainably.

For producers committed to reducing their carbon footprint and helping to buffer the effects of climate change, these shifts are incredibly exciting. The fact that there is real market value for food produced with less impact on the planet—and so much potential for growth—opens up big doors for smaller, scaling companies and food and farm entrepreneurs for whom sustainability is a main mission.

But beyond just seizing upon consumer interest, innovative food and ag businesses are actually creating new economic opportunities around combatting climate change and its effects. Take Atlantic Sea Farms, a company Tera mentors that will present at Edible-Alpha® Live! on December 9. They are developing a market for nutrient-dense U.S.-grown kelp, a highly sustainable crop that absorbs carbon from the ocean, thereby lowering the acidity and improving aquatic ecosystems. Plus, by paying lobster fishermen fair wages to plant kelp in the off-season, Atlantic Sea Farms is also boosting the local economy.

Other farmers and food companies FFI works with also doing really cool things to build markets around mitigating climate change. Joining our virtual huddles is a great way to learn what other impact brands are doing, get inspired for new business opportunities and make connections to help make them a reality—so is joining us for Edible-Alpha® Live!

This year has not been pretty, but it has certainly inspired change—in consumers, in companies, in markets, in missions. Let’s work together to harness this energy and build thriving food businesses that are sustainable both financially and environmentally.

And now, our roundup of the best food and beverage finance news, events and resources from around the web…

Consultant With TabletBusiness Model Insights

Raising CapitalRaising Capital

National Wholesale BrandsCPG/National Brands

Grocery Store Produce Section Market Trends Regenerative AgricultureFarming and AgTech

Mergers And AcquisitionsDeals/M&A

Virtual events