The Food Ethics Council believes that everyone should be able to eat healthily and sustainably, enjoying food that’s produced and traded fairly and humanely.
The UK – and indeed the rest of the world – is far from achieving that aim, and the next few years, as we negotiate our exit from the EU, is make or break for developing a sustainable food system.
The Food Ethics Council’s new programmes aim to directly influence the direction of our food system, by developing two powerful new tools: a Food Realities Index and a Food Policy Barometer.
This work will be an essential reality check for policy makers, civil society organisations and food businesses as the UK navigates its way through the uncharted territory post-European Union membership.
The Food Realities Index will provide a quantified assessment of how well the UK performs on key food system impacts relative to other OECD countries - across human health, social and economic value, animal welfare and environment. This will drive a deeper analysis, improving UK’s performance, learning from other countries’ experiences and enabling us to build programmes around areas of concern and to drill down at a UK policy level via the Food Policy Barometer.
The Barometer will evaluate selected key UK food and farming policies (and policy ideas) to assess whether they contribute to or hinder progress towards fair, sustainable food and farming systems.
These powerful tools will create a unique platform to focus and accelerate civil society advocacy on fair, sustainable food - and hold to account, primarily the UK Government and Devolved Administrations, but also business. It is only through such scrutiny and constructive pressure that the UK will be able to play its part in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly ending hunger and protecting ecosystems.
We’ll be publishing the first, beta version of the Index in spring 2017, alongside an ethical commentary that delves deeper into some of the ethical issues that the index throws up.
We will be using publicly available data for this work, and will publish in beta so that we can co-create ever stronger, more robust, definitive and useful versions of the index in the coming years. We also hope to identify gaps in data, and encourage other civil society organisations to undertake work to fill those data gaps.
The Food Policy Barometer will be released later in 2017, and will be directly influenced by the findings of the Index.
The Food Ethics Council is grateful to the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation for its support.