On 5 October, the first in a series of symposia on “Visualising a greener Harmonized System” was organised by the World Customs Organization, WCO, in Brussels (in hybrid format). The objective of this symposium is to look at how the classification of goods can support environmental policies and thereby support sustainable development.
As one of the keynote speakers, Pär Larshans, Director of Sustainability at Ragn-Sells Group and Co-chair of the International Chamber of Commerce Working Group on Circular Economy in Paris, was clear:
- If we are serious about creating a sustainable society, we have to start using the raw materials we already have – over and over again. As the world’s population keeps increasing, recycling nutrients is crucial to our ability to feed everyone without ruining the planet.
Mr. Larshans, along with the European Commission’s David Kozik and the Food and Agriculture Organization’s Marcio Castro De Souza, were invited to provide input to the dialogue at the first of five symposiums held on 5 October at the World Customer Organization, WCO, in Brussels. The theme was: Expanding food horizons - recognizing agricultural diversity for sustainable global food security.
All three speakers addressed the importance of food production from aquaculture, which today accounts for 49% of the world's current food production. When it comes to implementing circular solutions, there are innovations available today that could increase food production, but they have difficulties reaching the market due to current and upcoming legislative frameworks and trade rules.
- To ensure that not only rich people can buy eggs in the future, we need to implement circular principles on how our macronutrients are sourced. We need principles based on quality and not origin to be implemented in trade regulations, says Mr. Larshans.
Mr. Larshans presented a total of six existing solutions for the recycling of critical raw materials, such as nutrients, that can support the transition to a circular economy and contribute to food security. By 2100, if we don’t start to recirculate phosphorus, there will be more or less only one reserve in the world that can be mined, the one in Marocco/Western Sahara. However, this deposit is contaminated with high levels of cadmium and uranium that we do not want to use for food production.
- Free trade regulations are today one of the biggest blockers when we try to “mine” from our urban flows in order to transform from a linear to a circular society, even research and pilot trials are very complicated to conduct and as a result, it reduces the interest to invest in a circular development, says Mr. Larshans.
You can find the presentations from the symposium here.
FACTS: The six examples of circular solutions for food security
The following six examples were showcased by Ragn-Sells during the WCO symposium, focusing on the challenges of how to implement them if no policies or trade regulations are adjusted. Each of these solutions will support the transition to a circular economy and contribute to food security by producing enough food within our planetary boundaries.
Solutions from Ragn-Sells innovation company Easy Mining:
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 five countries and employs 2,500 persons. In 2021, Ragn-Sells’ turnover was SEK 7.6 billion. www.ragnsells.com