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Climate change will cause industry disruptions at ‘unprecedented rate’: Gro Intelligence CEO

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Sara Menker, Gro Intelligence Founder and CEO, joins 'Influencers with Andy Serwer' to discuss the impact that climate change will have on the global food supply in the near future.

Video Transcript

ANDY SERWER: One thing you didn't mention as a threat, and I know you're concerned about this as well, is climate change. How does that factor into your thinking?

SARA MENKER: Well it factors in a huge amount, right? So if you think of how we ended up with-- our platform currently ingests over 40,000 different data sources from around the world. Think of it as data that comes from public agencies, NGOs, companies that we partner with and license their data and we distribute their data. So it's a wide range, and then data we generate ourselves.

A huge amount of understanding agriculture means understanding your environment and ecology. , Like if you think of sort of the climate change conversation is natural tension between ecology and economy, right? There's this tension, like, economic growth has come at the cost of ecological decline. And agriculture kind of sits in the middle of the two, because agricultural demand is very much a function of economic growth and the economy. And agriculture supply is very much about ecology.

And because of that, our platform had tons of economic data and tons of climate data just naturally in it. And so we were able to sort of model and look at the role that climate change has in agricultural supply, and then extend that to many, many other industries, everything from infrastructure to mining to utilities, et cetera.

And one of the things that we saw in a year like last year, the US alone experienced wildfires in the West Coast, experienced floods in the early part of the season, then drought, then, like, unprecedented derecho winds in the same little microcosm of the Midwest, right? And so, you're having multiple types of disruptions happening much faster than they ever did before. And that's going to impact industry in sort of an unprecedented rate.

And it is, already, right? The number of billion-dollar-plus climate disasters that the US had last year was 22. It had $22 billion-plus climate-related disasters. This is everything from hurricanes to droughts to wildfires to storms and whatnot. Now if you think of the trajectory in-- if you look at the last 40 years, the last five years have had record numbers year after year. The second record after the 22 we had last year is 17. The pace at which this is growing is just huge, and this is happening everywhere in the world.