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Plant-based proteins may be good for food security: Temasek


SINGAPORE — The shift toward plant-based proteins may benefit food security, the chief sustainability officer of Singapore’s state investor said Tuesday.

Steve Howard, Temasek’s CEO, said that 18% of the calories in food comes from animals. But, 80 percent of land on which farms are located is for livestock. CNBC’s Squawk Box Asia interviewed Howard to explain that 80% of grains are fed to livestock in certain markets. These resources may be used to divert from livestock farming, if there are changes in consumption.

“More plant-based protein, more alternative proteins — that can really build in food security,” he said.

Howard claimed that India is suffering from extreme heat and has estimated that grains stores can only sustain the planet for about 73 days. That’s just “a few more months of food security” for the entire globe. Howard said that people on lower incomes are particularly vulnerable to rising food prices.

“We must really concentrate on diversification,” said he. Modern technology will help ensure food security.

Green investment

Howard also stated that money would still be invested into green technology despite fears of recession.

“You look for … where are the long-term value creators in a recession, don’t you?” He stated. He said, “People still look to invest capital in this environment.”

He said that the tailwinds are due to a “virtuous cycle” of technologies, which are performing well but becoming less expensive, including electric cars, alternative proteins, and solar energy.

He stated that solar energy was expanding at an “extraordinary rate”; the same thing could be said for energy storage.

He said that the current policy environment was strong, and customers are eager to find greener alternatives.

Three, four years back, the majority of capital markets had lost their way on climate and were not doing anything meaningfully. Capital markets are now queuing up,” said he.

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Howard stated that both governments and companies have increased their focus on climate and sustainability.

He said, “The tailwinds have turned into a hurricane.”