2023-09-20 03:50Press release

Global initiative to feed growing planet sustainably launches in New York

The 10 Billion Challenge Initiative, a new initiative to fundamentally change the global food system, was formally launched on September 19th in New York City. The aim is to create partnerships and showcase how circular solutions can enable sustainable food production for a planet inhabited by 10 billion people.

– As the world will soon be home to 10 billion people, we simply can’t keep producing food the way we do today. Changing the global food system requires a wide range of actors to work together and form circular partnerships. This is why we launch the 10 Billion Challenge Initiative today, and invite businesses and organisations to join us, says Pär Larshans, Director of Sustainability at environmental company Ragn-Sells and the originator behind the initiative.

The world’s population is expected to increase by nearly 2 billion people in just 30 years, eventually reaching 10 billion people, with a much larger share living in cities, according to the UN. This raises urgent questions about how global food systems can be adapted to meet the growing demands without irreversibly damaging the environment or accelerating climate change. Already, agriculture is responsible for a third of global climate emissions.

– We can feed the planet and reach our climate goals, but this requires a whole new approach to waste as a sustainable source of raw materials. With the 10 Billion Challenge Initiative, we want to accelerate change, scale circular models, and create synergies that reward innovative companies, says Mr. Larshans.

For example, fertiliser nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen are crucial to food production but are sourced in unsustainable ways and often end up in waterways, causing eutrophication. According to the most recent science, the stress on the planet from these nutrients already means a very high risk of irreversible damage. Population growth and massive urbanisation also place a strain on finite water sources. Accelerated action to beat wastewater pollution while drastically increasing the use of treated wastewater is a priority, according to UNEP.

– We can never feed 10 billion people without nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus, but the way they are sourced and used today is damaging to both people and planet. By turning wastewater treatment plants into resource plants, they can produce the fertilisers necessary for food production to meet the needs of a growing population in a sustainable way, says Mr. Larshans.

The initiative was launched in New York City during Climate Week NYC, a summit held alongside the UN General Assembly which brings together international leaders from business, government and civil society to showcase global climate action. For more information about the 10 Billion Challenge Initiative and how to join, go to 10billionchallenge.org.

For further information, please contact:
Pär Larshans, Director of Sustainability, Ragn-Sells Group, +46 (0)70-927 29 63, par.larshans@ragnsells.com   
Emma Ranerfors, Press Officer, Ragn-Sells Group, +46 (0)70-927 24 16, press@ragnsells.com

About Ragn-Sells Group

The environmental company Ragn-Sells converts waste into raw materials that can be used over and over again. Ragn-Sells drives the transition to a circular economy through solutions that reduce its own and other actors' environmental and climate impact. Ragn-Sells wants to be living proof that caring for the earth and business go hand in hand. Ragn-Sells is a family owned corporate group founded in 1881. The company operates in four countries and employs 2,500 people. In 2022, Ragn-Sells’ turnover was SEK 8.7 billion. www.ragnsells.com


Emma Ranerfors
Press Officer
Emma Ranerfors