Agtech supplement March 2020 editorial by James Mawson, editor in chief, Global Corporate Venturing

Environmental, social and government pressures on how we live are growing.

The United Nations’ ground-breaking 17 sustainable development goals helped focus attention on important areas of people’s lives and the planet that were underinvested in through traditional financial metrics and needed some more love.

Allocation of capital is a way of helping recognise value and prioritising between often-competing goals.

For land, it has been hard to allocate between use by farmers, building for homes and factories and maintaining biodiversity and the natural world as the population has continued to grow towards 10 billion people.

Innovation can be used to make these trade-offs easier by making more with effectively less. In agriculture the so-called green revolution of fertiliser, machinery and seed developments enabled more people to leave the land and flow into the cities fuelling economic development while feeding the extra mouths.

Now, a new round of funding increases across the value chain from farm to fork has brought the promise of a new agricultural revolution to continue the ability to feed people while limiting carbon emissions and freeing people up from routine labour.

But there is many a slip from cup to lip and whether enough attention and resources will be devoted to this crucial area for us all is still open to question.

So, thank you to the pioneers in this area and those making the world a better place.

This supplement, supported by Rabo Frontier Ventures, Yield Lab and others, is the latest in a series this year to cover the main technological developments cutting across sectors by corporate venturers.