ESG Vs Food: A Delicate Balancing Act

Contributor Michel Santi opines the world’s increased awareness of ESG has further exacerbated the global famine issue.

Sep 02, 2022 | By Michel Santi

Canada is a breadbasket: it is the 4th largest exporter of grains and vegetables in the world. This country also has one of the most efficient harvesting techniques available. However, its food stores will no longer be as well-stocked in the near future because the federal government has just decreed a 30 per cent reduction in fertiliser emissions by 2030. By then, the whims of Trudeau & Co. will cost the various Canadian provinces (according to the Western Canadian Wheat Growers) between 2 and 4.5 billion dollars. The drastic cut of a third of all fertilisers of chemical origin will therefore transform this major exporting country into a net importer of food in a few years.

The Netherlands, which had already been obligated to cut down its nitrogen fertiliser usage by 70 per cent, has just been notified of an additional constraint to further reduce its fertiliser use in half by 2030. More than 11,000 of the 35,000 currently operational farms will thus be condemned to bankruptcy according to statistics by the Dutch government. Between a third to half of livestock from nearly 18,000 farms will not be available. In fact, the authorities are even demanding that some breeders simply cease their activity, which — consciously or not — sabotage a nation that is the largest exporter of meat in Europe and the second in the world in volume of agricultural products, a remarkable performance as the Netherlands is ranked just after a huge country like the United States.

As for Sri Lanka, the nation finds itself in a desperate situation which sees whole sections of its population having to fight for simple food survival daily. Having suffered the collapse of the Rupee by more than half of its value in a few months, the Sri Lankans are paying the price of a colonialism 3.0 today which forces them to constantly battle and obtain just one meal a day. This general famine of the country also comes from an eradication of fertilisers that led to a liquefaction of its crops, and to comply within the framework of the famous “ESG” program — dictating an environmental governance strongly suggested by the World Economic Forum and widely promoted by the UN and its various organisations. An exemplary student for having reduced almost all (90 per cent!) of its fertilisers in one year, Sri Lanka outperformed at a score of 98, ahead of a country like Sweden, which is at 96. The result of a single figure is both eloquent and cruel: Sri Lanka has seen its harvests drop by 85 per cent, even though 16 million Sri Lankans out of the 22 million in this country are directly dependent on agriculture. Official statistics published this week show an annualised inflation of 93.7 per cent for food products in the month of August, after 90.9 per cent the month before.

I remember the prophetic threats made in 2019 in Davos in front of an audience of heads of state and economic leaders by a triumphant Greta Thunberg: “I want you to panic”. Her country — Sweden — is now consuming much more oil after shutting down one nuclear power station after another. The rest of the world, after Sri Lanka and many other poor nations that have largely passed this stage, will soon have to arbitrate and choose between food or heating and lighting. Thank you, Greta, because now we have every reason to panic.

Michel Santi

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