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Food Matters: An integrative approach to food policy Tim Lang Centre for Food Policy, City University London, UK e:

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Presentation on theme: "Food Matters: An integrative approach to food policy Tim Lang Centre for Food Policy, City University London, UK e:"— Presentation transcript:

1 Food Matters: An integrative approach to food policy Tim Lang Centre for Food Policy, City University London, UK e: Paper to ‘MOBILISING THE FOOD CHAIN FOR HEALTH ‘ THIRD MEETING OF THE OECD FOOD CHAIN ANALYSIS NETWORK, OCTOBER, 2012, OECD CONFERENCE CENTRE, PARIS

2 The problems: broad agreement on what they are Under/over/mal-consumption & Nutrition Transition = mismatch of bodies and enviro High cost of food’s impact on health, environment, social inequalities Era of ever lower food prices may be ending; is volatility the new norm? Food system faces combination of pressures: material, biological, social, cultural Political uncertainty and lack of will? 2

3 Solutions: the mainstream agenda Favour markets: – Reduce state involvement, end distortions Cost internalisation only in the long-term: – Financialise, tax ‘bads’ or favour ‘goods’? Action through partnerships: – Public-private; but who leads? Education : – Information, labelling; but does it work? Consumer behaviour change: – Social marketing, ‘nudge’, consumer psychology 3

4 Solutions: the emerging agenda Sustainable diets: – New dietary guidelines – international & national Food for ecological public health: – Only consider multi-sector interventions Re-engineer food system: – Roadmaps; frameworks; low energy infrastructure Prices : from ‘value-for-money’ to values for money – Use rising energy prices to get more €$£ to growers Consumer behaviour change: – contract & converge; ‘citizenship’ not consumerism 4

5 Hotspots: Governments Sust Diets experience: Sweden, D, UK (IAC) Eco Pub Health: multi-level interventions Governance: co-ordination mechanisms – FPCs/Councils, cabinet committees, civil service co- ordination, Roundtables National strategy/ Food Plan: Aus, Can, UK (on/off?) Prices: €$£ follows the Plan; no sub-cost pricing Innovation: horticulture for biodiversity Labour strategy: skills, wages (UK/NL comparison) Consumers: but look at civil society experiment’n 5

6 Food systems in trouble: the evidence Revising the meaning of food progress 6

7 But sober analyses from recent reports WHO/FAO (2011): diet and physical activity UN / FAO (2010): food security UNEP (2012): food & environment World Bank IAASTD (2008): small farmers Scientific advisors’ national and global analyses: – PMSEIC Australia (2010) – INRA France (Paillard et al) (2010) – Foresight UK (2011) WEF (2011): business roadmap Prince Charles’ Int’l Sustainability Unit (2011): sustainability UN Special Rapporteur (De Schutter): social justice Etc, etc 7

8 FAO Food Price Index, Source: October 4, 2012http://www.fao.org/worldfoodsituation/wfs-home/foodpricesindex/en/ 8

9 Biodiversity Food is major source of degradation 15 of 24 of world’s ecosystem services are being degraded by food-related activity (MEA 2005) 50-78% of main fish stocks monitored either in decline or fished unsustainably (Defra 2010) Of 270k higher plants, only c2k + 14 animal species dominate agriculture (UNEP 2009) Declines in wildlife driven by land for food 9

10 Water Agriculture uses 70% of all freshwater extracted for human use Livestock = c.40% of av. UK citizen’s agric H 2 0 footprint It takes: (Hoestra & Chapagain 2004) NB NL figures – litres  1 kg meat – 200 litres H20  200ml glass of milk – 2400 litres H20  150g hamburger 10

11 Energy: food = oil source : UNEP

12 Planetary Boundaries already exceeded? Source: Rockström, Steffen et al. Nature

13 Waste: ‘old’ and ‘new’ forms ‘Old’ waste mostly on / near farm: – Happens in LDCs due to storage, contamination etc – Global estimate: 30-40% of food fit to eat is wasted – Africa post-harvest loss = 25% (UNEP 2009) ‘New’ waste mostly by consumers: – USA est. waste 30% (UNEP 2009) – UK WRAP 2008 estimates (down slightly by 2011): UK waste c 1/3 of all food bought 5.3 mt thrown away every year Cost £12 bn pa (£480 per household) 13

14 Where is public policy in all this? Need to take the longer view 14

15 Dominant policy reflex: 1990s ff? ‘Leave it to WalMart, Carrefour, Tesco et al’ Food system (post farm) epitomises efficiency Agriculture is distorted by subsidies (PSE/CSE) But in 2010s, this analysis no longer fits: – Big Food Co.s are worried too – Lots of interesting initiatives (Unilever, PepsiCo) – There is a limit to what they can do singly – They are setting up parallel governance – This is a recipe for incoherence (eg labelling) 15

16 The 1940s aspiration: Hot Springs Conference, 1943 source: Called by F D Roosevelt 44 ‘free’ countries agreed 4 goals: I.raise “nutrition and standards of living” of the people II.improve efficiency of “the production and distribution of all food and agricultural products III.Deliver “better condition of rural populations” IV.Contribute to “expanding world economy and ensuring humanity's freedom from hunger” Agreed to create FAO (happened Oct 16, 1945) 144 countries by

17 17... Translated as the Productionist Paradigm Lang & Heasman (2004) Food Wars Science + capital + distribution  output  less waste  cheaper food  health = progress Q: Is this 1930s/40s science policy success now flawed?

18 2010s: policy is in trouble again! The problem: – Unmet need: persistent hunger just under 1bn – Declining rate of productivity – Stronger and more complex data on environmental crises – Disconnect with over-consumption & health data (obesity) The resolution?: – No agreement yet but restatement of MDGs – Dominant approach Technology again: GM, nano, logistics, – Reassertion of markets But what policy instruments? – Reformed World Committee on Food Security (CFS) – Multiplicity of initiatives: L’Aquila, G8, G20, 18

19 19 Companies engage on sustainability? International companies: – 2002: SAI launched Groupe Danone, Nestlé, Unilever – 2009 (Oct 16): G30 top TNCs initiative Coca-Cola, Tesco, Unilever, News International – 2011: World Economic Forum Roadmap (agric) 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 A product specific approach, not overall diet There are limits to how far they can push

20 What do we need? Time for deeper thinking Better framework Better scenarii Some Plan Bs? 20

21 new policy framework proposed by UK Sustainable Development Commission (2011) 21 QualitySocial values Taste Seasonality Cosmetic Fresh (where appropriate) Authenticity Pleasure Identity Animal welfare Equality & justice Trust Choice Skills (citizenship) EnvironmentHealth Climate change Energy use Water Land use Soil Biodiversity Waste reduction Safety Nutrition Equal access Availability Social status/ affordability Information & education EconomyGovernance Food security & resilience Affordability (price) Efficiency True competition & fair returns Jobs & decent working conditions Fully internalised costs Science & technology evidence base Transparency Democratic accountability Ethical values (fairness) International aid & development

22 Goals for C 21 st policy processes The Goals Sustainable Diets from Sustainable Food Systems Narrow the Evidence-Policy gap Reshape consumer aspirations around sustainable diets New frameworks around values-for-money This requires: Integrated food chain analysis: Agri-food-health- environment- society Improved policy debate and processes Stop being frightened of consumers – World cannot eat like the West; nor can it! Recognition of ‘democratic experimentalism: the limits of the current paradigm – Business is changing: choice vs choice-editing – Experiments and policy development is already happening 22

23 What would food systems look like if built for health and eco-systems? Contract & converge (Royal Society 2012 People & Planet report): – Rich societies cut and Poor societies eat more – All restructured around low impact diets Rebalanced financial flows (growers get too little): – UK (agric 8%, manuf 28%, retail 29%, catering 25%) – Shift incentives (biofuels, commodities) More focus on horticulture within ‘nutrition- sensitive agriculture’: – Biodiversity in field and to the stomach (FAO&Bioversity 2012) – 2x Fruit & Veg = 180k jobs in USA (UCS 2012) 23

24 Any signs of this ‘radical but reasonable’ future? Yes. Interesting ‘Democratic experimentation’. But too many splits between ‘health’ & ‘enviro’ 24

25 Democratic experimentation Rich experience from many projects, eg: – Shorter food chains – New cooperatives: CSAs – Markets (real ones) – Children projects: grow-cook-eat Tentative new national frameworks eg: – Sustainable consumption advice: D, S, UK, NL – Food policy formation: N, UK, Aus, Canada, EU 25

26 Sustainable Food: some EU developments Sustainable Consumption-Production & Sustainable Industrial Policy Action Plan (2008) Suitability of the potential extension of the Ecolabel to food products European Food Sustainable Consumption Production (SCP) Roundtable (2009-) co-chairs DG Environment & European Food & Feed Trade Associations. Based in FoodDrinkEurope) & supported by JRC. DG Environment & JRC ( ): Harmonised framework methodology for the calculation of the environmental footprint of products. Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe (2011) part of the actions form Europe 2020: A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth (2010) 26

27 Sustainable food consumption and production – emerging Govt policy advice in Europe (North) UK 2006Sustainable Development Commission (SDC) & National Consumer Council Sustainable Consumption “I will if you will” – generic Germany 1990s (2008) German Council for Sustainable Development Sustainable Shopping Basket : includes food – lists labels and schemes EU 2008Sustainable Consumption-Production & Sustainable Industrial Policy Action Plan Voluntary initiatives – but little food focus 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 2009SDC, Council of Food Policy Advisors  Dept Environment Food Rural Affairs (Defra) Recommend defining low impact (sustainable) healthy diet Netherlands 2011 Health Council for Ministry Economic Affairs, Agriculture & Innovation Guidelines Healthy Diet: Ecological Perspective 27

28 Company actions: some examples Big Cos: the rise of ‘choice-editing’ – Unilever: MSC (1990s)  Sustainable Living Plan (2010) – Wal-Mart: Hurricane Katrina 2007  CO2 (Asda) – PepsiCo: 50 in 5 commitments (2010) – Barilla: double pyramid – Nestle: 60/40+ – Marks & Spencer: Plan A (2007) Issues arising: – Are health and enviro competitive edge? – How to support / improve SMEs? – Consumer change: ‘the elephant in the policy room’ 28

29 But the scale of change needed is not emerging, so whence might change come? How? When? 29

30 Potential pressure points World Food insecurity pressures – Commodity trade; speculation (see: UNCTAD 2012); Internal systems ‘boiling-over’: (Tipping Points bk, OUP 2013) – food price spike – Climate change kicks in faster than politicians expect – Oil prices (  biofuel commitments) – Land grabs (  UN Special Rapporteur report) – Global Obesity rates (  WHA CSR ie not much) Potential ‘boil-dry’ moments: – Prices?  social unrest – Water?  crop shortage – Migration?  labour – Geo-political turmoil?  wars 30

31 Summary: we must face the range and scale of our problems ahead We need a new ‘Hot Springs 2’ around...: – Sustainable diets: new international guidelines – Integration of human and eco-systems health: ecological public health – Re-engineer food systems around broad version of sustainability (6 core value sets) – Consumer culture change: contract & converge We need to unblock the politics, arguing: – Organised change is better than enforced change – Self-interest coincides with eco-systems health – Embryonic shifts are underway already 31

32 Research needs for policy Better integrated food systems analyses Modelling total food systems Better involvement of social sciences (natural sciences verge on neo-Malthusianism!) Better scenarii and options Data summaries for policy-makers Studies of impact on macro-economy if food prices rise in developed economies (ie the rich) 32

33 Thank you! 33


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