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Private Equity and Public Health: A Market-Driven Collaboration to Reduce Pandemic Risks, Food Waste, and Climate Change

July 2, 2020 @ 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm EDT

Organized by Aspen Institute

Private Equity and Public Health: A Market-Driven Collaboration to Reduce Pandemic Risks, Food Waste, and Climate Change

July 2, 2020


The compounding costs of inefficient and ineffective actions towards today’s most pressing global challenges, namely, reducing pandemic risks, eliminating trillions of dollars in annual food waste, and protecting our planet from climate change – elements critical to humanity’s future on earth – has put civilization at a tipping point. Taking a comprehensive ‘whole-of-society’ approach represents the only way forward. Improving our ability to simultaneously prevent and detect emerging infectious diseases, reduce the massive levels of global food waste, and reduce climate change in a clean, sustainable, and market-driven manner are paramount to our restoration of earth and stewardship of our species. 75% of all emerging infectious diseases are of animal origin, and the risk and impact of these viruses are increasing as animal to human exposures are intensifying allowing for new and ever-dangerous pathogens to spill over. In two of the most heavily populated parts of the world, Asia and Africa, food processing, production, handling, storage, and distribution practices are increasing the risks of disease, as millions of live animal markets contribute to efficient pathogen emergence and spread in the absence of basic biosecurity and food safety measures. At the same time, these markets are the primary source for animal protein for hundreds of millions of people and contribute significantly to local livelihoods, making blanket live animal market bans infeasible and impractical without addressing the underlying factors that contributed to their creation and expansion.

As society is now forced to examine more innovative solutions within a global agenda for addressing COVID-19, pandemics in general, food waste, and climate change, we need to create a safer and more equitable future that integrates the best of private and public investments.

In a conversation with EcoHealth Alliance’s Dr. William B. Karesh and Orbit Holding, LLC’s Mr. Joseph Curry, we explore how bringing together health security and cold storage infrastructure will have synergistic and transformative effects on the food value chain in Asia, and in the process, harness green energy innovations that drastically reduce food waste and resource usage. Sharing insight from their Chilling for Health as an Intervention to Reduce Risk from Live Livestock (“CHILL”) project, we will examine key questions for designing 21st-century impact and ESG-based investment and strategic solutions. What risks and impacts do we face from pandemic threats, food waste, and climate change now and on our current development trajectory? What are the immediate needs for risk reduction? What sectors are needed to work together for pandemic prevention and food waste reduction that are economically and environmentally sustainable? How can incentives for health security be leveraged as a part of cold storage infrastructure investment and development? What are the benefits of a comprehensive, collaborative, and integrated approach to addressing emerging disease risks, and how can public-private partnerships be optimized? What is needed to make these initiatives more impactful?

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July 2, 2020
2:30 pm - 3:30 pm EDT
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Aspen Institute