white papers

The rise of new food systems

The rise of new food systems
Michael Urban, PhD - Chief Sustainability Strategist

Michael Urban, PhD

Chief Sustainability Strategist
 - Senior Sustainability Analyst

Senior Sustainability Analyst
Salomé Sommer - Sustainability Analyst

Salomé Sommer

Sustainability Analyst

We are anticipating the rise of new food systems in the Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) sector. This will enable a major land restoration that allows nature to retrieve its regenerative properties, and will bring new risks and opportunities to investors. 


Need to know

  • Clearing land for agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation, has an incredibly negative effect on biodiversity, and is also a large source of carbon dioxide emissions
  • Our current food system is built on an incredibly inefficient intermediated model whereby almost 80% of all agricultural land returns just 20% of global calories
  • By 2030, we need to return 1 billion hectares of land to nature by reducing agricultural land by 20%. This target is backed by 115 countries through various climate and biodiversity pledges


Researching the food revolution

In this research paper, we argue that the AFOLU system has received comparatively little attention from sustainable finance practitioners, despite the fact that there is arguably no other system as consequential to planetary boundaries transgressions.

We foresee a range of transformations in the way we produce, distribute and consume foods so that food systems can nourish 25% more people (up to 10 billion) with 20% less land (less than 4 billion hectares) while helping restore planetary boundaries.

What might seem like an insurmountable task is not only feasible but is already happening, and we expect it to disrupt existing profit pools and create new ones across the entire value chain, generating a market with annual revenues of USD 1.5 trillion by 2030.1

To read our paper, please use the download button provided.

Click here to learn more about our New Food Systems strategy.



[1] Source: LOIM analysis; based on FOLU (2019) “Growing Better: Ten Critical Transitions to Transform Food and Land Use”.

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