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How seaweed can help meet our greatest challenge, to feed the planet.

Vincent Doumeizel, Director of the Food Programme at Lloyd’s Register Foundation and Senior Advisor for United Nations Global Compact is joined by world-leading seaweed specialists at Hay Festival 2023.

By 2050, the global population is expected to exceed ten billion. With over 800 million people already at risk from hunger and food insecurity, pressure is building for the international community to find answers to this huge agricultural challenge.  

Vincent Doumeizel, Director of the Food Programme at Lloyd’s Register Foundation, and author of ‘The Seaweed Revolution’ has devoted his career to transforming our food systems, including campaigning, and raising awareness of the full potential of seaweed to address food shortages, help tackle climate change through carbon sequestration, and provide safe jobs in developing economies as the industry scales up.  

“Seaweed may well be the greatest untapped resource on the planet. It has a huge variety of applications, from supporting biodiversity in marine ecosystems, climate change mitigation, and contributing to job creation and poverty alleviation. It has the potential to replace plastic and fertilizers, boost medical innovations, and support economies in our fragile coastal communities. It also has a significant role to play in addressing global food security,” says Vincent.  

“Our greatest challenge is feeding the planet. In the next 50 years, to support the growing population, we will have to produce as much food on earth as we have produced during the last 10,000 years. By 2050 we will need 140% more water, 50% more grain, and 14% more forest land, and current reliance on meat and soya will become unsustainable. Not only this, but our current food system is also one of the main contributors of droughts, soil depletion, loss of biodiverse, species extinction, and pollution.” 

Vincent represents the Foundation through a number of innovative programmes, driving safety in the food supply chain. Partnering with the UN, FAO, World Bank, WWF, NGOs, and other international organisations, Vincent is an accredited author, and contributing lead of ‘The Seaweed Manifesto.’ He is also co-leader of the Global Seaweed Coalition, formerly known as the Safe Seaweed Coalition, which was co-founded by Lloyd's Register Foundation, United Nations Global Compact and Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), with the objective to scale up the seaweed industry and ensure its safety for workers, consumers, and the environment. 

“Marine plants can offer a sustainable source of protein, fresh water, and energy for the ever-growing population. However, the disparity of seaweed regulations around the world prevents it from being widely used by international food organisations.  The Global Seaweed Coalition has created a unique network of stakeholders, to promote knowledge sharing, and provide the expertise needed to develop a safe and fair set of standards for the growing seaweed industry,” adds Vincent.   

Vincent was joined by world-leading seaweed specialists for an interactive session at this year’s Hay Festival. ‘The Big Seaweed Show’ will showcase practical applications of seaweed, from food to clothing to plastic alternatives, and offer a deeper insight into the potential it has to change the world. 

“Thanks to seaweed and marine resources, we have a real opportunity to increase food and biomass production while decreasing environmental impact; becoming the first generation to use this revolutionary resource in a safe and sustainable way.” 

To learn more about The Global Seaweed Coalition and how it’s making the world a safer, more sustainable place, visit here. 

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