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About us

Our vision is of a world where everyone eats healthily and sustainably, enjoying food that is produced and traded fairly and humanely.

We are a charity, and our work is not for profit. We are not affiliated to any political party or religious organisation.

Our Council members are all leaders in their relevant fields, and appointed as individuals. They bring a broad range of expertise to our work, from academic research through to practical knowledge of farming, business and policy.

Our staff and volunteers are all committed to our aim of creating a food system that is fair and healthy for people and the planet.

Our mission statement

To build fair and resilient food systems that respect people, animals and the planet, by working with food businesses, government and civil society to address ethical concerns at the heart of decision-making about food and farming.

Our particular contribution is to promote ethical considerations in relation to decisions about food and farming and to facilitate deliberative thinking and bold action for a fair food system.

Ethics refers to the values, principles and codes by which people live. Acting ethically means taking values seriously and asking ‘what should I do, all things considered?’

Our values

We stand up for our principled ethical approach: respect for wellbeing, autonomy & fairness. We value our independence and are non-profit (a registered charity in the UK). We promote inclusivity by taking into account diverse perspectives (for example in relation to gender, culture and faith). We take a long-term view and believe in tackling root causes. We believe in openness and honesty, and we listen to, and learn from, each other.

The Food Ethics Council was established in 1998 with support from the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust and the Farm and Food Society. We became a company limited by guarantee in 2000 (No. 03901671) and registered as a charity in February 2004 (No. 1101885).

A history of the Food Ethics Council, written by Founder Director Ben Mepham can be found here. Geoff Tansey also wrote a paper giving a personal reflection on the way the Food Ethics Council has approached social justice in the food system.