A more intensive use of natural resources places increasing pressure on biological systems and on production and consumption systems in agriculture. Due to increasing global urbanisation, the distribution of the flow of energy, materials and waste is shifting on a large scale, and the quality of ecosystems (for example soil and water) is under pressure. The flow of nutrients, residue and waste is becoming concentrated in prosperous, densely populated urban areas, while elsewhere the soil is becoming depleted.
We are investing in the transition to a more sustainable and efficient system of production and consumption. We are developing new knowledge and technology to deal more efficiently with the available raw materials. We are changing primary production streams through new combinations of various sectors, product groups and raw materials. We are working on the intelligent closure of previously separate cycles of energy, materials and nutrients through the optimal use of plant and animal sources. In addition, we are contributing to a high-efficiency revolution in the use of raw biological materials through the efficient conversion and distribution of streams, raw materials and products, as well as the prevention of waste and disposal of nutrients. This transition is also accompanied by new business opportunities and risks, which were previously unknown. For the effective support of this transition, governance is crucial; new networks must be formed between the most important actors in production and consumption, innovations in institutions must be required and new practices must be developed. Socio-economic analyses show how this transition can be shaped.