Towards Sustainable Production and Consumption
Last week, Jenny Wilson attended a two day conference entitled ‘Food Futures: Towards Sustainable Production and Consumption’ which took place at Chatham House.
Last week, I attended a two day conference entitled ‘Food Futures: Towards Sustainable Production and Consumption’ which took place at Chatham House. In actuality, the event excelled itself, joining up production and consumption by examining the steps in between to develop the thinking around the entire supply chain.
Another impressive feature was the range of stakeholders in ‘food’ who came along- with representatives from supermarkets, food brands, investors, and governments: national, regional and international. Although, it was noted that there was a lack of representation from the farming community, this was apparently not for a lack of being invited.
On the first day, the conference did go a long way to set out the issues at both ends of the spectrum in terms of production and consumption. However, my favourite part of this day was the session looking at up and coming technologies to address sustainable food production. It would seem that nanotechnology has come a long way to carve itself a niche in the agricultural scene, and is lending a hand with regards to smart water usage, by releasing water as and when its needed when mixed with soil. Following on from this, another organisation seems to have turned the water-food-energy nexus on its head: rather than puzzling at its complexity, they have acknowledged it and used it to design a system that addresses each of the components in a sustainable way in order to work together.
There was an interesting contrast on the second day, which could be considered as two quite different approaches towards food security. On the one hand, there was an urge to further investigate the psychological and behavioural drivers of unsustainable food consumption to then combat it from a change in behaviour through greater understanding, whilst the other was an advocate for the economic approach: i.e. that food isn’t currently priced in terms of its full cost to produce, or indeed its impact on the environment. In this way, Government subsidies can distort the impressions of the end consumer.
Ultimately, the conference did seem to agree that there could be more done to create a more unified strategy towards global food security which incorporates all of the angles and actors that were presented and present. The next step will presumably be contemplating how to achieve that.
Image credit: Denise Bossarte