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How will we feed 10 billion people in 2050?

Catherine Ricou directrice de l'innovation de Veolia

Catherine Ricou, Veolia's Director of Innovation, answered this question on 29 June at the Big Bang de l'Economie colloquium, organised in Paris by Le Figaro newspaper. A look back at the key moments of her presentation.

Today, two of our planet's most important resources, namely water and soil, are intensively used for agriculture and feeding animals.

"Agriculture consumes 70% of all available freshwater sources. And this percentage will increase by 50% in 2050. Moreover, an increasing proportion of land is being used for feeding animals," says Catherine Ricou.

The preservation of water and soil is essential if we want to feed the world's inhabitants. "Water must be reused, once treated and reintroduced into the natural cycle; and soils can be fed with organic fertilisers from wastewater treatment facilities. This is what is known in the business as an "eco-factory". They will enable us to replace 20% of mineral fertilisers with organic fertilisers," underlines the Group's Director of Innovation.

Those are the innovations in the circular economy that will take us even further.

The food of the future will involve the circular economy

"At Veolia, we have developed solutions that help us rise to this global challenge thanks to the circular economy. I am thinking in particular about bioconversion," continues Catherine Ricou. 

"This low-carbon footprint solution allows us to produce animal protein: insect larvae are fed with biowaste and turned into feed for fish farms."

The FAO also warns that food wastage now accounts for a third of global agricultural production. In addition to adopting new consumption patterns, Veolia suggests converting this waste into green energy (biogas) or converting it into organic fertilisers.

"Innovations in the circular economy will help us find new resources in the interfaces between water, energy and waste," concludes Catherine Ricou.
"With more circular economy, we are moving in the right direction to feed 10 billion people".

Regenerative agriculture

95% of human food and 25% of biodiversity come from soils, which are increasingly degraded. To restore soils, a more sustainable and regenerative agriculture will reduce ploughing and inputs, and support crop rotation. Soils will thus retain water better, preserve biodiversity and capture a greater quantity of carbon.