Food

Food is at the heart of many environmental, social and economic challenges faced across the globe. Our mission is to accelerate the move to a sustainable food system that gives everyone access to healthy, nutritious food whilst protecting and restoring the natural environment.

We work with organisations in the private and public sectors from across the food value chain, both individually and in collaboration, in order to create change in the food system. Through these partnerships and multi-stakeholder alliances we develop practical solutions to deliver the scale of change we need. Organisations we have worked with in this way include Unilever, PepsiCo, Sainsburys, Pret a Manger and WWF. See the full list of our partners in food here.

Read more about our work in Food

Our current food system is unsustainable. Persistent hunger and soaring obesity rates; prices that fail to reflect the cost of production; wastage from field to fork; power imbalances in the supply chain; and a lack of resilience in the face of resource constraints and climate change all undermine the short and long-term sustainability of the global food system.

We want to use our expertise in sustainability, along with collaboration processes, leadership and innovation, to create a sustainable global food system; one which feeds the world's growing population with healthy and nutritious food while protecting and enhancing key ecosystems.

Our activities in the food system aim to create change in three ways: by rethinking how value is created across food networks, by reconnecting people with their food, and by restoring resilience within the system.

 

Rethinking value creation across food networks

We want to enable sustainable livelihoods, pull people out of poverty and make the food industry an attractive place to work by rethinking value creation.

Currently risk and reward are unfairly distributed along the food value chain, with producers and growers often bearing a disproportionate burden of risks and costs so that for many, food production is not a sustainable economic activity.

We build powerful coalitions to drive significant change. Our flagship projects bring together key players in the food sector to explore how to create sustainable value networks. Tea 2030, for example, explores innovation across the tea value chain, from farms to leftover teabags. Dairy 2020 explored the challenges facing the UK dairy industry and its recommendations formed the basis of the National Farmers' Union dairy strategy in the UK, as well as stimulating a similar project in Australia, Horizon 2020.

Our work with the Shell Foundation explores how to develop and scale up sustainable value chains.

 

Reconnect people with the food they eat

Living in an increasingly urban society we've become disconnected from our food and where it comes from. We aim to help reconnect people with the food they eat and help inspire a new food culture where sustainable diets are mainstream and food waste is practically eliminated.

We believe household brands have the power to drive popular demand for sustainable food, one of the reasons we developed the Sustainable Brands Roundtable which brings together leading brands from the Forum Network to generate new ideas and find practical ways to inspire sustainable living. Our Consumer Futures Project also explores changing patterns of consumption and consumer behaviour.

 

Restore resilience to the food system

The current food system relies too much on non-renewable resources, degrades our environment and is a significant contributor to climate change. We want to reverse this by increasing the system's resilience, which means increasing efficiency, delivering better risk management and shifting to a circular food economy.

Through the use of trends, visions and scenarios we challenge businesses on their assumptions about the world and to map their route to a sustainable future. Our work with Pepsico, for example, opened their eyes to their reliance on agriculture and helped them develop a resilient business strategy. By developing a series of scenarios for 2030, this project identified major sustainability risks and opportunities, and led the company to set up a new sustainable agriculture team who manage the risks that climate and water crises pose to its supply chains. We've used similar approaches with General Mills, Dupont and Delhaize.

We know that a sector-wide approach has greatest impact and we look to engage widely. For example, our multi-award winning Farming Futures project, an industry-led collaborative initiative which we developed and ran, communicated practical action on climate change to farmers and land managers in the UK.