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New conference: How do we ensure that our food production is sustainable?

Roskilde University is organising the conference ‘Transforming for Sustainability’ in collaboration with UN City Copenhagen. The conference will bring together researchers, business people and representatives from public and private organisations who will debate the issues and find solutions to some of the great problems of our time in relation to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The conference ‘Transforming for Sustainability’ is based on three interdisciplinary themes: Cities, Coasts and Oceans, Food and Bio Production. Photo: Colourbox

How should the agricultural systems of the future appear in order to ensure that our food production is sustainable?

This is just one of the questions that experts from many sectors must consider and try to find innovative solutions for in the context of the UN’s SDGs when they meet at Roskilde University’s international conference, ‘Transforming for Sustainability’. The conference will take place at UN City Copenhagen on Wednesday the 28th of November and Thursday the 29th of November.

Global food security, the environment and climate, farm economics and macroeconomics are some of the critical challenges faced by the agricultural sector. Tighter regulations on the sector can contribute to an extensification of food production that benefits the environment, but as the global demand for food is rising at the same time, an extensification is not without issues of its own.

In almost every corner of the world technological innovations is an essential part of agricultural production today. However, technologies to improve cost-effectiveness has often masked significant "externalities", affecting the natural capital and agriculture itself reducing long-term productivity and produce quality. A growing use of nature’s own regulatory mechanisms through a higher level of succession and diversity can improve crop yields while reducing use of pesticides and artificial fertilisers leading to increased net revenues for the individual farmer.
Crop diversity, local farm knowledge and farmer-to-farmer knowledge sharing are some of the themes that Professor Henrik Hauggaard-Nielsen from Roskilde University is researching. He has, for example, been appointed to the Danish Ministry of Environment and Food’s panel of experts dealing with climate research efforts for the agricultural sector.

The conference ‘Transforming for Sustainability’ is based on three interdisciplinary themes: Cities, Coasts and Oceans, Food and Bio Production. In addition to agricultural issues, the participants will also be presented with problem statements concerning the environmental and health consequences of plastic pollution and the potential for sustainability in everyday life’s urban mobility networks.

The conference participants will be introduced to current research dealing with each theme, which will act as the basis for a dialogue where the participants will have the opportunity to assist in developing sustainable business models and solution models.

“Sustainability is a key item on the agenda, both for our society and for Roskilde University. As an innovative and interdisciplinary university, we must take the lead when it comes to working with the challenges of sustainability so that, together, and across academic disciplines and sectors, we can develop concrete and sustainable solutions. After all, it is about both finding the right solutions while at the same time understanding what it will take for us to actually implement them - and create real change,” says Pro-rector Peter Kjær.

Here are some of the people who will be participating in the conference: Professor Elizabeth Shove, Lancaster University, who researches into consumption and energy; Professor Kes McCormick from The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics, Lund University; Head of Corporate Sustainability & Public Affairs, Claus Stig Pedersen from Novozymes; Director Camilla Brückner from UNDP’s Nordic office. They will each be presenting how specifically they are working with sustainability and what they view as the necessary steps that we need to take in terms of research, government policies and the private sector in order to achieve the UN’s SDGs.