Craft beer is very popular among Millennials, but a hops shortage driven by climate change will challenge entrepreneurs to think outside the box. Credit: Flickr // Tama Leaver

Craft beer is very popular among Millennials, but a hops shortage driven by climate change will challenge entrepreneurs to think outside the box. Credit: Flickr // Tama Leaver

A hot topic for a reason, global warming and climate change will play a major role in the entrepreneurial future of aspiring business Millennials. With these threats opposing the creation of new business ideas, many young entrepreneurs may need to look past simply doing social good and also look toward adapting how people eat and drink.

Agriculture and Climate Change

One sector that affects many different business industries around the globe is agriculture, with our food system being responsible for 33 percent of all global warming. That being said, even though it accounts for one third of all emissions, farmers still can’t seem to be able to produce enough to satiate growing demands for grain and raw materials. A study by the Global Institute of Sustainability of Anglia Ruskin University, stated that the cost of food will likely be four times higher by 2040 than it is today – if changes aren’t made.

So how does that affect millennial entrepreneurs?

Well, consider that in just America alone, the craft beer market has grown exponentially over the past five years. In 2014, there were around 3,500 craft breweries in the US, reaching a double-digit share of the market for the first time and ballooning into a $22 billion dollar industry. This is largely due to the fact that consumers (namely millennial consumers) have moved away from big-name beer brands like Miller and Budweiser in search of more locally sourced options.

But when you consider the threats that a changing climate brings to the table as well as a situation that has already produced a shortage of hops (which also means a higher price tag, something consumers might not be willing to pay for), the huge dollar signs the aspiring brewer sees on the market right now could hit a hard and swift decline over the next five years.

Contrarily so, locally sourced options in the restaurant spectrum that have sparked the growth of ‘farm-to-table’ venues tend to lean towards the positive – specifically when discussing CO2 emission reduction. The aforementioned statistics accounting for one-third of global warming is largely in relation to food transport.

A 2010 study done by the UK project ‘Making Local Food Work,’ found that businesses, producers, sellers and all other individuals involved in the food chain transition for locally sourced ingredients, the number of CO2 emissions could not only be reduced, but could also, in turn, create more self-sustaining and economically viable communities.

What should be done when considering a future business venture?

For the aspiring entrepreneur, it’s best to keep in mind the future isn’t certain. Climate change is a real factor that will affect how you formulate and do business. It’s also important to recognize that perhaps not all trends in the market are sustainable over the long term, especially if the shortages in hops continues, as well as droughts in various parts of the world.

Additionally, the millennial entrepreneurs will need to always be open to innovation and adaptation to provide solutions that are profitable but at the same time, undamaging. For example, the Colorado Farm and Food Alliance met this year to discuss policy and action in how best to tackle local problems within the community in regards to sustainable food and climate change. Taking action of some kind is the first step to discovering a new entrepreneurial path that works together with the critical role of this generation in climate change progress, highlighted at the COP21 in November 2015.

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