Accelerating the 10 Critical Transitions: Positive Tipping Points for Food and Land Use Systems Transformation

The Food and Land Use Coalition (FOLU) and the Global Systems Institute (GSI) at the University of Exeter (UK) released today, Tuesday July 6th, new report showing that small, targeted changes in the ways we produce food and use our land can trigger large, often irreversible, positive responses for people and the planet.  
Currently, our food and land use systems are resp​onsible for some 30 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. We waste about a third of all the food we produce, and an estimated 2 billion people are malnourished, suffering from some form of hunger and/or overweight and obesity. 
The report, Accelerating the 10 Critical Transitions: Positive Tipping Points for Food and Land Use Systems Transformation, finds that critical, systemic transformations are needed urgently. The solutions exist, there is hope, but world leaders must unlock rapid change at scale. The report proposes a new framework that shows how different actors – from policymakers to producers to companies to citizens – can all generate positive change. 
For example, the current booming European market for plant-based alternatives to meat is not yet being matched by a significant reduction in meat consumption. But with more than 25% of Europeans now considering themselves “flexitarian”, vegetarian or vegan, the report finds that it only takes a few critical interventions – such as improved taste and affordability – to tip the scales. 

Transforming food and land use systems would enable rapid decarbonisation, protect biodiversity, ensure healthier diets, improve food security and create more resilient rural economies – all while unlocking $4.5 trillion USD a year in new business opportunities by 2030. 
Interventions recommended in the report include considering the protection and restoration of nature in decision-making, including through subsidy reforms and carbon pricing. 
By applying the framework to India’s agricultural system, the report shows how increased public and private investment to promote sustainable agriculture could lead to positive, outsized change. 
The report comes in a year of major possibilities for action in climate, nature and food with the UN Food Systems Summit, the Convention on Biological Diversity and COP26. It also comes at a critical time as we rebuild the economy in the wake of COVID-19
“Unless we transform our food and land use systems in the next ten years, both the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement climate targets will be out of reach,” says Professor Tim Lenton, Director of the GSI. “Positive tipping points provide a message of optimism and empowerment when faced with dauntingly complex challenges.” 

The report launch will be accompanied by a webinar on July 8 from 2-4 pm (UTC + 1), where the authors will present its findings, recommendations for policymakers and other key actors. They will also dive into case studies in which the report’s recommended framework was applied across three areas: healthy diets and diversifying protein supply; scaling regenerative agriculture; and protecting and restoring nature.  RSVP for the webinar here.

If you’re interested in speaking to an author, or if you have questions about the report or the webinar, please reach out to us:  
Alex Morrison, Press Officer, Exeter University,  
Sophie Mongalvy, Communications Manager, FOLU,  
Klara Nilsson, Communications Associate, FOLU, 

Related articles