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Speech from Tim Lang, Professor Food Policy City University of London - GreenCook Launch Event

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  1. 1. Wageningen, November 17th 2010 LAUNCH EVENT
  2. 2. <ul><li>Introduction to food & food wastage issues by Prof. Tim Lang – City University of London </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Food and waste: an introduction </li></ul><ul><li>Tim Lang </li></ul><ul><li>Centre for Food Policy, City University London </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Paper to conference ‘GreenCook: a transnational strategy for global sustainable food management’ , Wageningen University & Research Centre (WUR) NL, November 17, 2010 </li></ul>
  4. 4. My talk <ul><li>Rich countries (us!) have unsustainable food </li></ul><ul><li>We don’t know what sustainable supply is </li></ul><ul><li>We don’t know what a sustainable diet is </li></ul><ul><li>We do know the criteria for judging them </li></ul><ul><li>This is the context for thinking about waste </li></ul><ul><li>Waste is a metaphor for lives, health, environment, packaging, resources, food </li></ul><ul><li>In GreenCook , you need to keep that big picture while focussing on the details of change </li></ul><ul><li>Big challenges: change, leaders, complexity </li></ul>
  5. 5. 1. Where do we start?
  6. 6. Waste is part of a picture (UK) <ul><li>Waste from UK homes – c.30% wasted: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>6.7 million tonnes of food waste; 40% cannot be recycled; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>5.2 million tonnes of food-related packaging </li></ul></ul><ul><li>source: WRAP 2007 </li></ul><ul><li>Agri-food chain contributes c 18-20% of GHGs </li></ul><ul><li>Source: T GarnetttCooking Up A Strom (2008) </li></ul><ul><li>Food consumption accounts for 31% of all consumption related GHG emissions </li></ul><ul><li>source: EC (2005) life cycle environmental impact of products [EIPRO] </li></ul><ul><li>Biodiversity loss due to agriculture: land use, genetic concentration etc source: FAO consultation 2010 </li></ul><ul><li>Food is heavy water user: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>UK agriculture uses 742 million m 3 of water </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Food & drink industry 155 million m 3 used </li></ul></ul><ul><li>source: Defra (2007) Water use in the supply chain </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>Different messages for different products at different sectors </li></ul><ul><li>Source: Sustainable Consumption Institute 2009 pg 22 </li></ul>
  8. 8. Case study: Walkers Crisps (PepsiCo) aim to reduce CO2 + H20 by 50% in 5 years <ul><li>Source: PepsiCo UK’s Sustainable Agriculture report October 2010 p.5 </li></ul>
  9. 9. Different hotspots for different products, eg soft drinks <ul><li>Energy: say ‘no’ to non-recyclable can </li></ul><ul><li>Health: say ‘no’ to drinking it at all </li></ul><ul><li>Culture: say ‘yes’ to drinking tap water </li></ul><ul><li>Planning: we need public water fountains </li></ul><ul><li>Economics: why are soft drinks so cheap? </li></ul><ul><li>Labour: there are many jobs in soft drinks </li></ul>
  10. 10. The food system’s challenge <ul><li>Complexity : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Many factors, many considerations </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Multi-level : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>local, national, regional, global </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Multi-actor : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>State, supply chain, civil society, consumers, professions, etc </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Split governance : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Who is in charge? </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. 2. What do we want? What is a good food system?
  12. 12. What is a good food system? <ul><li>Enjoyable </li></ul><ul><li>Good quality food </li></ul><ul><li>Food for all </li></ul><ul><li>Health-enhancing </li></ul><ul><li>Environmentally OK </li></ul><ul><li>Not wasted </li></ul><ul><li>Decent working lives </li></ul><ul><li>Affordable </li></ul><ul><li>Affordable </li></ul><ul><li>Accessible </li></ul><ul><li>Culturally appropriate </li></ul><ul><li>Secure & resilient </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledgeable </li></ul>
  13. 13. This is what I call ‘Omni-Standards’ T Lang (2010) Environment & Planning A, August <ul><li>Quality : </li></ul><ul><li>Taste </li></ul><ul><li>Seasonality </li></ul><ul><li>Cosmetic </li></ul><ul><li>Fresh (?) </li></ul><ul><li>Identity / authenticity </li></ul><ul><li>Social values : </li></ul><ul><li>Pleasure </li></ul><ul><li>Localness (identity) </li></ul><ul><li>Animal welfare </li></ul><ul><li>Working conditions </li></ul><ul><li>Equality </li></ul><ul><li>Cost internalisation </li></ul><ul><li>Trust </li></ul><ul><li>Environmental : </li></ul><ul><li>Climate change </li></ul><ul><li>Water </li></ul><ul><li>Land use </li></ul><ul><li>Soil </li></ul><ul><li>Biodiversity </li></ul><ul><li>Waste reduction </li></ul><ul><li>Health : </li></ul><ul><li>Safety </li></ul><ul><li>Nutrition </li></ul><ul><li>Access / affordability </li></ul><ul><li>Information & education </li></ul>
  14. 14. 3. If it is so obvious, why haven’t we got all this?
  15. 15. 10k years of food supply change <ul><li>Settled agric ( 8500 BCE ff) </li></ul><ul><li>Iron age (5000–6000 BCE) </li></ul><ul><li>Feudal & peasant agriculture (varies by region & empire) </li></ul><ul><li>Industrial Revolution (C18th) </li></ul><ul><li>Chemical Revolution (C19 th ) </li></ul><ul><li>Mendelian genetics (1860s but applied C20 th ) </li></ul><ul><li>Oil era (C20 th ) </li></ul><ul><li>Green Rev’n (1960s ff) </li></ul><ul><li>Modern livestock revolution (1980s ff) </li></ul><ul><li>Emerging </li></ul><ul><li>Ecological (C21 st ?) </li></ul><ul><li>Biotechnology (C21 st ?) </li></ul>
  16. 16. Unlocking the ‘lock-in’: who will make the first move? (SDC )
  17. 17. Rev. Dr Thomas Malthus (1766-1834) An Essay on the Principle of Population (1798) Dr Karl Marx (1818-1883) Political economist Fr Gregor Mendel (1822-1884) M onk, gardener, geneticist An old debate (the 3 M’s): supply-people-land-technology:
  18. 18. C19th Agricultural progressives Sir John Bennet Lawes (1803-1873) agricultural research Rothamsted UK Justus von Liebig (1803-1873) chemist Giessen Germany
  19. 19. C19th Healthy cities progressives Rudolf Virchow (1821 – 1902 ) Public health physician, Berlin Sir Joseph Bazalgette (1819 - 1891) Sewerage engineer London Edwin Chadwick (1800-1890) Civil servant author of Public Health Act 1848 London
  20. 20. C20 th reformers: produce more for health and social justice John Boyd Orr (1880-1971) public health researcher 1 st D-G of FAO Sicco Mansholt (1908-1995) 1 st European Agriculture Commissioner for 1958-1972
  21. 21. The Productionist Paradigm: 1930s model after: Lang & Heasman ( 2004)Food Wars <ul><li>Science + capital  output  distribution - waste  cheaper food  health </li></ul><ul><li>= progress </li></ul>
  22. 22. Productionism has had many modifications <ul><li>On the land: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Norman Borlaug et al: Green Revolution </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Hybrid plant technology, agrichemicals, fertilisers </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Off the land: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Retail revolution: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Logistics, just-in-time, </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Consumers: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Expectations: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Marketing, advertising, product formulation </li></ul></ul></ul>
  23. 23. 4. But these modifications are now in crisis
  24. 24. C21 st ‘New Fundamentals’ Chatham House Food project 2006-09 etc <ul><li>Climate change </li></ul><ul><li>Fuel / oil / energy </li></ul><ul><li>Water </li></ul><ul><li>Land use </li></ul><ul><li>Biodiversity </li></ul><ul><li>Labour </li></ul><ul><li>Population (9bn 2050) </li></ul><ul><li>Urbanisation </li></ul><ul><li>Affluence (BRICs +) </li></ul><ul><li>Inequality </li></ul><ul><li>Nutrition transition </li></ul><ul><li>Healthcare costs </li></ul><ul><li>Waste </li></ul>
  25. 25. Food’s contribution to total UK GHGs source: T Garnett (2008) Cooking Up a Storm
  26. 26. Embedded water in food source: Chapagain & Hoekstra 2004
  27. 27. Culture change: eg packaged / non-packaged foods , by country income level Source: Regmi & Gelhar 2005
  28. 28. Modern food culture: celebrities, burgerisation, supermarketisation
  29. 29. 5. This complex picture involves everyone
  30. 30. Policy positions in UK vary <ul><li>‘ It’s all dangerous, so avoid, ignore & resist ’: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Small business, some big business, right wing </li></ul></ul><ul><li>‘ Business-as-usual’ (consumer responsibility): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pragmatists, some sections of business </li></ul></ul><ul><li>‘ Sustainable intensification ’: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Chief Scientist’s Foresight project (reports late 2010), FAO Sust’ble Crop Intensific’n Div </li></ul></ul><ul><li>‘ Whole system change ’: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Policy outer circle eg SDC, NGOs, green business </li></ul></ul>
  31. 31. The politics of change <ul><li>Is the necessary change already underway? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>can we ‘leave it to Tesco / Leclerc / Lidl et al ’? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Will ‘nudge’ be enough? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Is small behaviour change enough? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Do we work on consumers? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>do we champion ‘choice editing’ not choice? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Must we eat differently? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>if so, what dietary change is needed? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Do we do all these because it’s urgent? </li></ul>
  32. 32. If serious, we’ll change … … from … … to… and Nutrition guidelines Eco-nutrition guidelines linking calories with carbon Big waste Zero waste Land fill, taxes Food products Total diet Eco-brand images Control green claims Verifiable standards Advertising and marketing Global all year sourcing Sustainable seasonality Defining sustainability Low cost food as a good Full cost accounting Consumer expectations
  33. 33. We’ll change what & how we eat FOOD WHY WHAT Meat Cancer; water; land use Offer less; mainly or only grass-fed Coffee / tea Water; imperialism Less; only fair trade; drink water Fruit All year round? Seasonal Fish Health vs. fish stock collapse Eat less; only MSC?; alternatives Vegetables Health; water; GHGs; Kenyan beans? Seasonal greens
  34. 34. This means tackling consumer culture: sensitive but overdue <ul><li>Consumer choice is central ideological issue </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Consumer sovereignty key to neo-liberal model </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Consumer change is being mooted by: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>WWF one planet diet campaign </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>SDC Setting the Table report (2009) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Defra Food 2030 (Jan 2010); but now on hold </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Rise of ‘democratic experimentalism’: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Vancouver 100 mile diet, Fife Diet, et al </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Eco-nutrition eg Barilla, CSPI, FAO SustDiet draft </li></ul></ul>
  35. 35. 6. Awareness of change is growing but there is resistance too
  36. 36. Governments start to act? <ul><ul><li>Sweden publishes Environmentally Effective Food Choices ( 2009) = 1 st Sustainable Diet document </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Appeals to responsible consumers & agri-food chain </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Germany: Council on SD’s shopping advice </li></ul><ul><li>NL: Towards Sustainable Production & Consumption (June 2008): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>business, research-led, technical approach to food quality </li></ul></ul><ul><li>France: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>INRA-CIRAD sustainable food systems (2009-11) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Australia: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Driven by climate change concerns eg water </li></ul></ul>
  37. 37. Euro Food Sustainable Consumption & Production Roundtable (CIAA) aims <ul><li>“ to facilitate agreement on uniform and scientifically reliable environmental assessment methodologies for food products ”. </li></ul><ul><li>“ We want to put an end to consumers seeing inconsistent environmental information on products” </li></ul><ul><li>& “ identify suitable means of voluntary communication to consumers”. </li></ul><ul><li>CIAA Press Release 26/02/2009 “Key food chain partners to launch sustainability roundtable”. </li></ul>
  38. 38. EU Sustainable Consumption & Production (SCP) & Sustainable Industrial Policy Action Plan COM (2008) 397 final <ul><li>Lisbon Strategy - economic growth & jobs </li></ul><ul><li>EU Sustainable Development Strategy (2006) </li></ul><ul><li>- Priority: </li></ul><ul><li>Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasise voluntary initiatives: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>EU Eco Label - might include food from 2011 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Greening Public Procurement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Supply chains’ environmental efficiencies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consumer awareness raising </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Public procurement for a better environment COM(2008) 400/2. </li></ul>
  39. 39. Civil society / NGOs <ul><li>Bubbling UK ‘democratic experimentalism’ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sustain: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>WWF: One Planet Diet </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>CIWF: ‘eat less meat’ campaign </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fife Diet (Vancouver 100 mile diet) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Food4Life project (2006-11): school food </li></ul></ul><ul><li>International NGO debates about: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Need to go beyond ingredients to processes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Full labelling being too complex; can lead to ‘blame the consumer’? [SDC agrees] </li></ul></ul>
  40. 40. 7. What do we say to consumers?
  41. 41. We need new cultural ‘rules’ <ul><li>Cut down on meat & dairy (Stern) </li></ul><ul><li>More plants (fruit and veg) = ‘win, win’ </li></ul><ul><li>Eat more locally but seasonably </li></ul><ul><li>Biodiversity in the field & onto the plate </li></ul><ul><li>Build exercise into shopping (NL model) </li></ul><ul><li>Drink tap water not bottled drinks </li></ul><ul><li>Accept price signals will change </li></ul>
  42. 42. Conclusions <ul><li>GreenCook is at a good time </li></ul><ul><li>Because the food system is failing precisely when it is seen to be such a success </li></ul><ul><li>Your project has to be about culture change </li></ul><ul><li>No sector can claim to be pure or good </li></ul><ul><li>Changing consumers is hard </li></ul><ul><li>The politics is even harder </li></ul><ul><li>We have to unlock the lock-in </li></ul>
  43. 43. <ul><li>Thanks! </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>
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