b'complex, multi-dimensional space that the migration of agricul- most impactful measures a person can take to minimize environ-ture to sustainable practices and products will take place andmental impact, versus the information provided in educational needs to be promoted through smart supportive policies. work. The observation was that three of the top six high impact measures (one child less, car-free life, one air travel less, green ES: WHERE DID WE GO WRONG IN THE PAST? energy, green car, plant-based diet) were not even mentioned MC:The historic innovations in agriculture focused primarilyonce across the 10 study books scanned. on raising productivity and quality, and not on avoiding negativeSimilar information gaps on high impact actions were found impacts on the environment. Agriculture has now arrived at awhen scanning government documents coming from Australia, stage where data show that the level of exploitation of the earthsthe EU, the U.S. and Canada, that aimed at advising on how a resources for food, feed fuel and fiber production has damagedperson can reduce GHG emission. Without the proper informa-the diversity and quality of flora and fauna, and is about to causetion and guidance, it is unlikely for society to adopt a different irreversible changes to the earths climate. Just for the record:lifestyle behavior. The same somehow applies to the agricultural agriculture uses 37% of the worlds land, 70% of all fresh water,sector: it is clear that fossil-fuel related activities or products and 30% of global energy consumption (agro-food sector).need to be replaced by alternatives, and that the ongoing energy When transitioning to sustainable agriculture, the primetransition will be the driver. It is therefore not very meaningful challenge is to find ways to break out of the rigidity of theonly to look at the aggregated figures of environmental impact socio-economic system in which agriculture is fully locked in.of the agricultural sector. The bona fide innovation space for The choice of crops, transport, storage, processors, producers,agriculture lies in (1) minimizing or even countering non-fossil retailers, consumer behavior, pricing and so on, are all in bal- fuel related GHG emissions, and (2) mitigating negative impacts ance. These elements constitute a predictable flow of materialson climate by developing cropping systems with improved resil-and financials, and translate into concrete jobs, infrastructures,ience to dynamically changing biotic and abiotic stresses. equipment etc. Changing such an equilibrium requires a cau- The former can be addressed by both technological and tious and holistic approach in which switching costs and otherbusiness innovation and deals with land use and land use risks are properly addressed.change. In the end, non-fossil based GHG emissions need to The agricultural value chain is offering here some uniquebe considered as an amount of GHG per unit product, rather opportunities: being probably the oldest value chain in the world,than per unit land. This implies that with the same land use, it offers employment to nearly 30% of global society , and is char- emissions may lower through (1) gains in productivity using acterized by a broad diversity of products, production methods,the same impact practices, (2) maintaining productivity using input needs, waste streams, supply chains and business models.lower impact practices; or (3) elevating the use fraction of the This implies that to increase sustainability of agriculture whilebiomass produced through co-product strategies. further growing and tailoring its output, there is an unprec- Farmers do engage already today in cases where reduction edented variety of short-, mid- and long-term wins possible.of GHG emissions coincide with improved farm economics. This The nature of these would depend on the geographic location,relates to choices of seeds, traits, chemistry, other inputs and local culture and policies, product type(s), ways of producing,cultivation practices. A second route to reduce non-fossil fuel and prevalent business models. In addition, critical backwindrelated emissions may be driven by a shift in policies and con-is offered through policies that encourage customers to shift tosumer demand and would open up options to smartly repurpose sustainable, healthy food and recyclable products. Altogether,land use. Examples are the departure from cultivating crops for the unique socio-economic setting of agriculture offers fun- fuel(U.S. 40% of all corn, EU near 100% of all rapeseed as part damental levers to rethink how agriculture should produce itsof an economically essential co-product strategy), and a several future products in different regions and be sustainable. percentage points diet shift to plant-based protein, thereby sta-bilizing or reducing acreage requirements for feed production ES: THERE WERE AND ARE NUMEROUS INDICATIONSand paving the way for alternative cropping systems with more ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE. ARE WE ACTINGagro-ecological approaches. SUFFICIENTLY FAST? The latter innovation space, mitigating negative impacts of MC:As a member of society, I am of the opinion that we areclimate change, has both fast track and traditional R&D options. not well informed about the impact our personal activities andBecause of the unique cultivation conditions each farmer is choices have on climate change. A great example comes fromfacing, and the volatility of these conditions, the fast track and a 2017 Canadian study (ref 1.1) that compared a ranking of thetraditional R&D innovations are desirably complemented with EUROPEAN-SEED.COMIEUROPEAN SEED I 41'