The world, and our eating habits, is changing fast. Not only are today's consumers more urbanised, we also have stronger purchasing power, particularly in the developing world, and have a hankering for different foods.
There are also more of us. According to UN estimates, we’ll need to grow more food in the next 40 years than we've grown in the past 8,000 years combined in order to feed our growing global population . And this means making greater demands on planet Earth. Trouble is, we can't go on clearing and degrading forests, overfishing and overexploiting our natural resources. In the face of growing water scarcity and climate change, we need to be transitioning to more sustainable food production. Our lives depend on it. In these times of change, consumer demand can be powerful. By buying products that have been certified as sustainable, supporting companies that are sourcing certified sustainable products and encouraging others to follow suit, you can be a part of the change we need to see. WWF is here to provide the framework and the inspiration.
What we're doing
We need to address the issues surrounding palm oil production urgently, but it remains a confusing topic. WWF has worked with Cool Australia to develop curriculum-aligned school lessons for Year Five and Six students to explain some of the more complicated concepts. Hopefully, public awareness will see growing numbers of consumers exercise their buying power and demand the use of sustainable palm oil.
WWF also produces a Palm Oil Buyers' Scorecard that benchmarks companies' commitments to purchasing sustainable palm oil. This is an easy guide for consumers, who can see what the owners of their favourite brands are doing to improve their practices.
Certification and packaging
Debates about sustainability can be confusing. To help consumers sift fact from fiction, some companies are investing in certification and promoting this on their packaging. John West's canned tuna is now all MSC-certified and carries the Marine Stewardship Council logo.
Why it matters
The Earth has fed and sustained humanity for thousands of years. But as our global population increases, we're going to make demands on it like never before. Converting more of the Earth's surface to crop production and drawing more from our oceans is unsustainable. It will demand increased chemical and fertiliser use and lead to overfishing, with enduring and irreversible impacts. However, WWF believes that it’s possible to feed future generations if we learn to live within Earth's limits.