Feeding the world

The sustainability challenge of global food security

Date published: 2/22/2016 12:00:00 AM

Maintaining the world’s food supply is one of the most pressing societal challenges—and most urgent environmental issues—facing humanity.

While our current industrial production systems may provide much of the world’s food, they also use extremely large amounts of water and energy. They also contribute substantially to biodiversity loss, soil erosion, chemical exposure and climate change. These problems not only represent serious environmental hazards, but risk our future food security as well.

Yet despite widespread recognition of the need for environmentally sustainable food production, incorporation of environmental sustainability goals into global food security governance arrangements has been weak and uneven.

The University of Waterloo’s Jennifer Clapp, Canada Research Chair in Global Food Security and Sustainability, is addressing these challenges. Clapp studies global food security governance in areas like agricultural investment assistance for developing countries, measures to address high food prices, and rules governing the international food trade.

By analyzing how environmental considerations interact with food security policy, Clapp is bringing new insight for policymakers on the complex political and economic forces underlying sustainable food security. Clapp’s research is bridging the gap between what we know and what we need to know.


How else is SSHRC supporting research into the challenges facing us in the coming decades? Take a look at how we are Imagining Canada’s Future.