- CARGIL - Nov 15, 2015 -
Climate, hunger, civil unrest and spiking food prices came together at the Food Chain Reaction game in Washington DC this week. Cooperation mostly won the day.
On Monday and Tuesday, 65 international policymakers, academics, business and thought leaders gathered at the World Wildlife Fund’s headquarters in Washington DC to game out how the world would respond to a future food crisis.
The game took the players from the year 2020 to 2030. As it was projected, the decade brought two major food crises, with prices approaching 400 percent of the long term average; a raft of climate-related extreme weather events; governments toppling in Pakistan and Ukraine; and famine and refugee crises in Bangladesh, Myanmar, Chad and Sudan.
Along with WWF, the Center for American Progress and the Center for Naval Analyses, Cargill was one of Food Chain Reaction’s organizers. The company was represented in the game by Corporate Vice President Joe Stone.
“I can’t tell you the number of discussions where people came up to me from other parts of the world, saying ‘we appreciate Cargill’s role in sustainability,’ or ‘Cargill is so important in solutions for feeding the world.’ Sometimes, when you’re inside Cargill, you don’t appreciate that enough, but when you hear from other people how much they’re depending on us to help figure this out, it just increases our responsibility,” said Stone.
Over two days, the players – divided into teams for Africa, Brazil, China, the EU, India, the U.S., international business and investors, and multilateral institutions – crafted their policy responses as delegations engaged in intensive negotiations.
Cooperation mostly won the day over the short term individual advantage. Teams pledged to build international information networks and early warning systems on hunger and crops together, invest jointly in smart agricultural technology and build up global food stocks as a buffer against climate shocks.
In the face of a steep price spike with looming global food shortages in 2022, the EU at one point suspended its environmental rules for agriculture and introduced a tax on meat. Both measures were quickly reversed in 2025, as harvests went back to normal and tensions eased in the hypothetical universe.