Sustainability, Natural Resources and Food

Food production is central to the economy of the Eastern Arc region, and our universities work closely with independent institutes in this area, including the Quadram Institute, John Innes Centre and East Malling Research (NIAB-EMR). We also focus on the wider issues of logistics and the supply chain, of trade, transport and consumption.

However, our research goes beyond our region, and has a significant impact internationally. Such a focus comes at a crucial time for the global community: the UN has indicated that, after decades of steady decline, world hunger has slowly been on the rise since 2015. An estimated 821 million people in the world suffered from hunger in 2018. At the same time, obesity continues to increase in all regions of the world.

However, food needs to be seen in the wider framework of how we use natural resources, how we manage biodiversity and how we ensure sustainability. Understanding how we interact with our natural environment is a significant strength for Eastern Arc, from the climate research within UEA’s Environmental Sciences, to Kent’s Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology and Essex’s recently established flagship interdisciplinary focus on environment, sustainability and society, as well as the Essex Plant Innovation Centre.