Food Matters: An integrative approach to food policy

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Food Matters: An integrative approach to food policy




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Food Matters: An integrative approach to food policy  Tim LangCentre for Food Policy, City University London, UKe: t.lang@city.ac.uk

Paper to ‘MOBILISING THE FOOD CHAIN FOR HEALTH ‘ THIRD MEETING OF THE OECD FOOD CHAIN ANALYSIS NETWORK,  25-26 OCTOBER, 2012, OECD CONFERENCE CENTRE, PARIS

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The problems: broad agreement on what they are

Under/over/mal-consumption & Nutrition Transition = mismatch of bodies and enviroHigh cost of food’s impact on health, environment, social inequalitiesEra of ever lower food prices may be ending; is volatility the new norm?Food system faces combination of pressures: material, biological, social, culturalPolitical uncertainty and lack of will?

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Solutions: the mainstream agenda

Favour markets: Reduce state involvement, end distortionsCost 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

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Solutions: the emerging agenda

Sustainable diets:New dietary guidelines – international & nationalFood for ecological public health: Only consider multi-sector interventionsRe-engineer food system: Roadmaps; frameworks; low energy infrastructurePrices: from ‘value-for-money’ to values for moneyUse rising energy prices to get more €$£ to growersConsumer behaviour change: contract & converge; ‘citizenship’ not consumerism

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Hotspots: Governments

Sust Diets experience: Sweden, D, UK (IAC)Eco Pub Health: multi-level interventionsGovernance: co-ordination mechanismsFPCs/Councils, cabinet committees, civil service co-ordination, RoundtablesNational strategy/ Food Plan: Aus, Can, UK (on/off?) Prices: €$£ follows the Plan; no sub-cost pricingInnovation: horticulture for biodiversityLabour strategy: skills, wages (UK/NL comparison)Consumers: but look at civil society experiment’n

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Food systems in trouble: the evidence

Revising the meaning of food progress

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But sober analyses from recent reports

WHO/FAO (2011): diet and physical activityUN / FAO (2010): food securityUNEP (2012): food & environmentWorld Bank IAASTD (2008): small farmersScientific advisors’ national and global analyses:PMSEIC Australia (2010)INRA France (Paillard et al) (2010)Foresight UK (2011)WEF (2011): business roadmapPrince Charles’ Int’l Sustainability Unit (2011): sustainabilityUN Special Rapporteur (De Schutter): social justiceEtc, etc

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FAO Food Price Index, 1990-2012

Source: http://www.fao.org/worldfoodsituation/wfs-home/foodpricesindex/en/ October 4, 2012

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Biodiversity

Food is major source of degradation15 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

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Water

Agriculture uses 70% of all freshwater extracted for human use Livestock = c.40% of av. UK citizen’s agric H20 footprintIt takes: (Hoestra & Chapagain 2004) NB NL figures16000 litres  1 kg meat200 litres H20  200ml glass of milk2400 litres H20  150g hamburger

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Energy:food = oilsource : UNEP 2009

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Planetary Boundaries already exceeded?

Source: Rockström, Steffen et al. Nature 2009

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Waste: ‘old’ and ‘new’ forms

‘Old’ waste mostly on / near farm:Happens in LDCs due to storage, contamination etcGlobal estimate: 30-40% of food fit to eat is wastedAfrica 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 bought5.3 mt thrown away every yearCost £12 bn pa (£480 per household)

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Where is public policy in all this?

Need to take the longer view

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Dominant policy reflex: 1990s ff?

‘Leave it to WalMart, Carrefour, Tesco et al’Food system (post farm) epitomises efficiencyAgriculture is distorted by subsidies (PSE/CSE)But in 2010s, this analysis no longer fits:Big Food Co.s are worried tooLots of interesting initiatives (Unilever, PepsiCo)There is a limit to what they can do singlyThey are setting up parallel governanceThis is a recipe for incoherence (eg labelling)

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The 1940s aspiration: Hot Springs Conference, 1943source: http://www.fao.org/docrep/009/p4228e/P4228E01.htm

Called by F D Roosevelt44 ‘free’ countries agreed 4 goals:raise “nutrition and standards of living” of the peopleimprove efficiency of “the production and distribution of all food and agricultural productsDeliver “better condition of rural populations”Contribute to “expanding world economy and ensuring humanity's freedom from hunger”Agreed to create FAO (happened Oct 16, 1945)144 countries by 1979

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... Translated as the Productionist ParadigmLang & Heasman (2004) Food Wars

Science + capital + distribution

 output less waste  cheaper food  health = progress

Q: Is this 1930s/40s science policy success now flawed?

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2010s: policy is in trouble again!

The problem:Unmet need: persistent hunger just under 1bnDeclining rate of productivityStronger and more complex data on environmental crisesDisconnect with over-consumption & health data (obesity)The resolution?: No agreement yet but restatement of MDGsDominant approach Technology again: GM, nano, logistics,Reassertion of marketsBut what policy instruments?Reformed World Committee on Food Security (CFS)Multiplicity of initiatives: L’Aquila, G8, G20,

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Companies engage on sustainability?

International companies:

2002: SAI launched

G

roupe 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

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What do we need?

Time for deeper thinkingBetter frameworkBetter scenariiSome Plan Bs?

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new policy framework proposed by UK Sustainable Development Commission (2011) http://www.sd-commission.org.uk/publications.php?id=1187

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Quality

Social values

Taste

Seasonality

Cosmetic

Fresh (where appropriate)

Authenticity

Pleasure

Identity

Animal welfare

Equality & justice

Trust

Choice

Skills (citizenship)

Environment

Health

Climate change

Energy use

Water

Land use

Soil

Biodiversity

Waste reduction

Safety

Nutrition

Equal access

Availability

Social status/ affordability

Information & education

Economy

Governance

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

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Goals for C 21stpolicy processes

The GoalsSustainable Diets from Sustainable Food Systems Narrow the Evidence-Policy gapReshape consumer aspirations around sustainable dietsNew frameworks around values-for-moneyThis requires:Integrated food chain analysis: Agri-food-health-environment- societyImproved policy debate and processesStop being frightened of consumersWorld cannot eat like the West; nor can it!Recognition of ‘democratic experimentalism:the limits of the current paradigmBusiness is changing: choice vs choice-editingExperiments and policy development is already happening

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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 moreAll restructured around low impact dietsRebalanced 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)

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Any signs of this ‘radical but reasonable’ future?

Yes. Interesting ‘Democratic experimentation’.But too many splits between ‘health’ & ‘enviro’

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Democratic experimentation

Rich experience from many projects, eg:Shorter food chainsNew cooperatives: CSAsMarkets (real ones)Children projects: grow-cook-eatTentative new national frameworks eg:Sustainable consumption advice: D, S, UK, NLFood policy formation: N, UK, Aus, Canada, EU

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Sustainable Food: some EU developments 2008-12

Sustainable Consumption-Production & Sustainable Industrial Policy Action Plan (2008)Suitability of the potential extension of the Ecolabel to food productsEuropean 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 (2011 -2012): 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)

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Sustainable food consumption and production – emerging Govt policy advice in Europe (North)

UK 2006Sustainable Development Commission (SDC) & National Consumer CouncilSustainable Consumption “I will if you will” – genericGermany1990s (2008)German Council for Sustainable DevelopmentSustainable Shopping Basket : includes food – lists labels and schemesEU 2008Sustainable Consumption-Production & Sustainable Industrial Policy Action PlanVoluntary initiatives – but little food focus Netherlands2009LNV Ministry – Policy outline for achieving Sustainable FoodSustainable food production & consumer educ. campaignsSweden2009National Food Administration (& Swedish EPA) – notification to EU (withdrawn 2011)Environmentally friendly food choicesUK 2009SDC, Council of Food Policy Advisors  Dept Environment Food Rural Affairs (Defra)Recommend defining low impact (sustainable) healthy dietNetherlands 2011Health Council for Ministry Economic Affairs, Agriculture & InnovationGuidelines Healthy Diet: Ecological Perspective

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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 pyramidNestle: 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’

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

How?When?

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Potential pressure points

World Food insecurity pressuresCommodity trade; speculation (see: UNCTAD 2012); Internal systems ‘boiling-over’: (Tipping Points bk, OUP 2013)2006-08 food price spikeClimate change kicks in faster than politicians expectOil prices ( biofuel commitments)Land grabs ( UN Special Rapporteur report)Global Obesity rates (WHA 2003 + CSR ie not much)Potential ‘boil-dry’ moments:Prices? social unrestWater?  crop shortageMigration?  labour Geo-political turmoil?  wars

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Summary: we must face the range and scale of our problems ahead

We need a new ‘Hot Springs 2’ around...:Sustainable diets: new international guidelinesIntegration of human and eco-systems health: ecological public healthRe-engineer food systems around broad version of sustainability (6 core value sets)Consumer culture change: contract & convergeWe need to unblock the politics, arguing:Organised change is better than enforced changeSelf-interest coincides with eco-systems healthEmbryonic shifts are underway already

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Research needs for policy

Better integrated food systems analysesModelling total food systemsBetter involvement of social sciences (natural sciences verge on neo-Malthusianism!)Better scenarii and optionsData summaries for policy-makersStudies of impact on macro-economy if food prices rise in developed economies (ie the rich)

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Thank you!

t.lang@city.ac.uk

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