Published 2022-01-26

This post is also available in Swedish

The global trade in food – a vital challenge

Climate change is putting the global trade in important foodstuffs, such as maize, rice, wheat, soya, sugar cane and coffee, on a knife edge. A new video from Mistra Geopolitics highlights this major challenge and the importance of rapid multilateral action.

Climate change, trade, and global food security: A global assessment of transboundary climate risks in agricultural commodity flows, a report by Kevin M. Adams and Magnus Benzie from the Stockholm Environment Institute and the Mistra Geopolitics research programme, was published last autumn.

It states that agriculture is one of the sectors most vulnerable to climate change, both in the short term, as extreme weather events will become more frequent and powerful, and in the long term, in the shape of changing patterns of temperature and precipitation. This has a great impact on the global trade in important raw materials from agriculture. The authors write that the global supply of foodstuffs is at a critical stage and that traditional approaches to managing trade problems will be ineffective when accelerating climate change occurs simultaneously. In turn, this could lead to increasing geopolitical tensions.

Kevin M. Adams summarises the main messages of the report in Mistra Geopolitics’ video, Climate risks to global food trade, as well as describing the importance of multilateral strategies and cooperation across national borders in dealing with the challenge posed by global food provision.

He says that we often think about climate risks to agriculture in the form of extreme weather events that affect production in a particular area, but because international trade is so interconnected, import-dependent countries affected by climate effects in other areas of the world. Countries and companies therefore need to identify their position in the trading system and come together to ensure climate-resilient supply chains in countries with important food production.

Read more in Mistra Geopolitics’ website.

Läs mer på Mistra Geopolitics hemsida.

Läs mer på Mistra Geopolitics hemsida.

Video production
Kevin M. Adams is interviewed in the video. Ylva Rylander and Maria Cole conducted the interview and wrote the script. The video was edited by Johan Söderlund and produced by Mistra Geopolitics, a research programme that is led by SEI and funded by Mistra.