How GROWFOAM® drives and enables change in the global food system.

A recently published article by Deloitte regarding the future of food, named ‘The global food system transformation – The time to change is now’ addresses 4 cases for change; sustainability, health, consumer demand and regulatory pressure and acknowledges the GROWFOAM® vision to grow greener, safer and faster.

You can read the article at Deloitte global website by clicking here.

The future of food
According to a recent study carried out by Deloitte – one of the world’s leading consultancy firms – global food supply needs to expand by a staggering 50% by 2050. Extrapolating that 50% from the existing food system is not a realistic option, as evidenced by the EAT-Lancet Commission report on healthy diets from sustainable food systems (the full report can be downloaded here)

This means we need to fundamentally rethink and reshape our future when it comes toproducing food. In its study, Deloitte pointed out 4 reasons for this rethink:

1. Sustainability
2. Health
3. Consumer demand
4. Regulatory pressure

Alongside these motivations, responsible production and waste management are keysuccess factors for the future of food production.

In our recently launched and revamped company vision, the GROWFOAM® team makes statements on all 6 of these key reasons for change in food production. We’ll discuss all of them over the next weeks, starting with factor 1: Sustainability.

 

1. Sustainability
From Deloitte’s report:
“Let’s take a closer look at the situation at hand. First, it is clear that today’s increased agricultural activity is a threat to environmental sustainability. Continuing with the current trajectory, the environmental impact from food production will increase from 50% in 2010 to 90% (of all environmental impact, red.) in 2050. Greenhouse gas emissions will increase from 80% in 2019 to 92% in 2050, crop land use up to 67%, freshwater use with 65%, and phosphorus and nitrogen applications with around 50%. If we continue with our food system as it is, we will surpass all possible planetary boundaries in 2050.”

In GROWFOAM®’s vision of the future, agricultural activity as we know it will disappear almost completely over the next decade. It’ll come as no surprise that we predict Controlled Environment Agriculture (hydroponics, aeroponics, vertical farming) will take over.

With our 100% biodegradable and fully circular GROWFOAM® substrates, we enable growers to grow greener (safer and faster too, but we’ll discuss that later). We also use CO2 neutral and CO2 compensated production methods, which we’ll dive deeper into when we discuss responsible production and our company’s footprint reduction strategy.

Due to the micro-engineered characteristics of our GROWFOAM® substrates, they absorb water more consistently than traditional substrates. As a result, GROWFOAM® substrates enable more economical water consumption.

 

BIODEGRADABLE
Our GROWFOAM® substrates are TUV tested and have received certification for Industrial Composting. Certification for Home Composting and Soil Degradation is pending, and expected to be received by the end of 2021. GROWFOAM® is completely converted to H2O and CO2 by fungi and bacteria upon degradation, and no PFAS or microplastics are present in the substrate after degradation.

Looking ahead to our article on regulatory pressure (factor 4), our GROWFOAM® substrates behave like peat, but are completely non-organic and have no negative impact on natural ecosystems, unlike peat itself. For GROWFOAM® users, this means a significant improvement in waste management and recycling costs, as well as an overall reduction in production waste.

CIRCULAR
Circular sure is a trendy word these days, but what does it actually take to be circular? At GROWFOAM®, the waste and cut-offs that remain after producing our substrates can be (and are!) used over and over to produce further substrates.We have a zero waste policy regarding the production of our substrates. This also extends to using GROWFOAM® in crop production, as any substrate that cannot be reused will safely biodegrade within weeks.

 

CO2 NEUTRAL PRODUCTION
At GROWFOAM®, we’re working towards CO2 neutral production by continuously monitoring and optimising our footprint. Any remaining CO2 impact is compensated in cooperation with Dutch carbon offset provider Trees for All.
100% of our power consumption will come from sustainable sources, such as solar and wind power, by the end of 2022. We transport our base production materials and finished substrates in the most sustainable and CO2-reducing way possible, through combining freights and, in the near future, using electric or hydrogen-powered trucks.

 

All of this comes together to make GROWFOAM® the most sustainable substrate available on the market to date – and for the foreseeable future. Simply by using our GROWFOAM® substrates in their production facilities, growers around the world can grow greener.

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