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Sustainable and Healthy Diets: the policy problem Corinna Hawkes & Tim Lang Talk.

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Presentation on theme: "Sustainable and Healthy Diets: the policy problem Corinna Hawkes & Tim Lang Talk."— Presentation transcript:

1 Sustainable and Healthy Diets: the policy problem Corinna Hawkes & Tim Lang Talk to Wellcome seminar, London, April

2 Context 2

3 Policy problem raised by sustainable diets is one of competing analyses The food system is fine Right economics Wrong consumers Wrong mindsets Wrong bodies Solutions: Change behaviour Personalisation Some tech fixes to increase resource efficiency / for specific food products Food system is in crisis Physiology is fixed Wrong environment Wrong $£ signals Distorted culture Solutions: Multiple complex acts Population-level food policy Reframe conditions 3

4 Northern EU Govts began to engage, 2006 ff UK 2006Sustainable Development Commission (SDC) & National Consumer Council Sustainable Consumption I will if you will – generic advice Germany German Council for Sustainable Development Sustainable Shopping Basket: includes food – lists labels and schemes (3 rd ed) Netherlands 2009 LNV Ministry – Policy outline for achieving Sustainable Food Sustainable food production & consumer educ. campaigns Sweden 2009 National Food Administration (& Swedish EPA) – notification to EU (withdrawn 2011) Environmentally friendly food choices UK SDC, Cabinet Office, Council of Food Policy Advisors, & Defra Recognition of need for new direction. Food 2030 makes sustainable healthy diet one of 6 goals Netherlands 2011 Health Council for Ministry Economic Affairs, Agriculture & Innovation Guidelines Healthy Diet: Ecological Perspective France 2011INRA Agrimonde studySecurity focus but flags consumer change UK Defra Green Food ProjectOutlines Principles for Sustainable Consumption 4

5 EU: supply focus on resource efficiency 1.UN Sustainable Consumption and Production – Marrakech process (post Rio 1992 Johannesburg 2002 CSD) – Focus on products / LifeCycleAnalysis (LCA) / Sustainable lifestyles 2.CAP slowly changing (situation normal) – Shift from paying for production to environmental goods – Climate change adaptation SEC(2009) 417 : 3.EU Platform for Action on Diet, PA & Health (parallel to SCP) – focus on NCDs / Consumer information/ But weak so far on Sustl Consumption in food; Food Information regulation (2011) / focus on ingredients not impact / years arguing Nutrition labels 4. Commercial focus on products not health: – Integrated Product Policy (IPP) focus on envirot eg waste – – Focus on Carbon and Waste reduction as efficiency 5.Sustainable Food Consultation 2013 & Communiqué 2014: - the focus narrows (??? under pressure???) 5

6 6 Food Co.s: product focus + choice-edit? International companies: – 2009: G30 top TNCs initiative Coca-Cola, Tesco, Unilever – 2002: SAI launched Groupe Danone, Nestlé, Unilever – 2010: World Economic Forum process (published 2011) – 2010: Barilla Centres double inverted pyramid UK companies: – 2007: IGD Food Industry Sustainability Strategy Champions Group focus on low carbon + ethics – 3 retailers choice-edit M&S Plan A, Co-operative Group, Waitrose – Unilever, PepsiCo brand sustainability strategies – WRAP/BRC complex metric study 2013 VERDICT: product-specific approach not overall diet

7 The elephant in the room: consumers Policy attention is weak on consumers Need to reduce consumption....not just switch it – we can lower CO 2 up to a point but in 10 years consumers will have to change (global retailer) Consumer change raises tricky policy problems: – Rich/poor (within LDCs and LDCs/rich societies) – Few eat ideal healthy diet, let alone sustainable diet – Price issues: are sustainable diets more expensive? – Choice culture - assumption that consumers lead So far, there arent even weak policies – UN (FAO=WHO) refusal to include Sust Diet Guidelines for ICN2 – No EU sustainability food label (expressly taken out of enviro labels: white goods, yes; food, no) – No UK follow-up (yet) to Food 2030 or Green Food Project Principles 7

8 Food policy and behaviour change 8

9 Policy problem raised by sustainable diets is one of competing analyses The food system is fine Right economics Wrong consumers Wrong mindsets Wrong bodies Solutions: Individual behaviour change Personalisation Some tech fixes to specific food products Food system is in crisis Physiology is fixed Wrong environment Wrong $£ signals Distorted culture Solutions: Multiple complex acts Population-level food policy Reframe conditions 9

10 Approach of public health-oriented food policy advocates We all want individuals to eat diets consistent with healthy weights & good health Consumer behaviour driven by – food environment – globalisation of food systems – Big Food We need to protect people – especially kids, from onslaught We need behaviour change for the food industry - there is evidence for comprehensive marketing restrictions, warning labels, taxes, school food restrictions Individual-level approaches do not work Behaviour change approaches are for wimps 10

11 Policy solution raised by healthy, sustainable diets is one of complementary analyses The consumer is part of the food system Right Wrong economics Wrong consumersConsumer behaviour shapes the food system but is also shaped by it Wrong Environment is all about choice Wrong $£ signals both wrong and right Solutions – 1.Population-level food policy which aims to change (or maintain) behaviour among individuals 2.Understanding both food system behaviour and why consumers behave as they do 3.Interdisciplinary reframing 11

12 1. FOOD POLICY FRAMEWORK FOR HEALTHY DIETS

13 NOURISHING FRAMEWORK – POLICY ACTIONS FOR BEHAVIOUR CHANGE AT MULTIPLE LEVELS

14 The evidence 14

15 1.There is plenty of evidence…. of the problem that behaviour change is possible to design effective policy solutions 2.But there are barriers to effective design, implementation and evaluation Economics – cost; viability Politics – nanny state; food industry Governance – multisectoral action Medical approach to evaluation - short- termism; metrics of success unclear Perceived lack of evidence of effectiveness Very high bar set for evidence Where is the demonstrable evidence of effects? The evidence problem

16 2. An interdisciplinary approach to linking food system behaviour with consumer behaviour 16 Implications for how policy works A preference lens – there are genetic preferences but we we learn most of preferences & habits from our environment, culture, choice architecture etc

17 17

18 Interdisciplinary reframing 18

19 Public policy must lead: the case for Sustainable Dietary Guidelines Provide a rational basis to the general food policy framework which is good for public and supply Bridge the gap between NCD and CO2e discourses Provide C21 st basis for public advice + supply chain Shift policy debate from productionist approach Recalibrate institutions around consumer needs This is supposed to be a consumer society but consumers are not being helped 19

20 Our key points Many problems Yawning gap between evidence and practice Policy attention is (s)low; it rose , then fell Attention segmented by disciplinary foci Consumers seen as separate to food and social systems Behaviour change seen as personal not policy Fear among politicians of placing choice culture within health & environmental frameworks; consumers = voters What we need Coherence & integration between disciplines/sectors/depts (& incentives) Population-approach to healthy sustainable diets based on understanding of consumer behaviour and how policy works Behaviour change at multiple levels & actors for health & sustainability A long term view with clear shorter-term metrics to measure what works 20

21 For further information contact: THANK YOU Dr Corinna Hawkes Head of Policy and Public Affairs, WCRF facebook.com/wcrfint youtube.com/wcrfint wcrf.org/blog


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