ZSL Symposium: The future of food - the future of biodiversity? [LONDON]

A major symposium on the global impacts of UK food consumption.

Food production and biodiversity conservation are in conflict.  Join experts and leading voices from farmers' groups, food suppliers, major retailers, conservationists, scientists, NGOs and policy-makers to debate sustainable solutions to the growing challenge of balancing food security and environmental protection.

Dates: 21 Oct - 22 Oct 2015

Venue: ZSL London Zoo, Outer Circle, Regent's Park, London, NW1 4RY

Keynote speakers

  • Sir John Beddington FRS, ZSL President
  • Professor Tim Benton, the UK's Global Food Security Champion
  • Professor Wayne Powell, CGIAR Consortium

For more information, please visit the Symposium website or download the full programme  Programme: The future of food - the future of biodiversity? (432.54 KB)


  • Defining the challenge, Chaired by Sir Patrick Bateson FRS
  • A sustainable approach to food production, Chaired by Sir Brian Heap CBE FRS
  • Conserving biodiversity, Chaired by Professor Chris Gilligan CBE
  • The role of suppliers: a case study on palm oil, Chaired by the Earl of Selborne GBE DL FRS
  • Changing the conservation around diet - making the connection between healthy eating and biodiversity, Chaired by Professor Tim O'Riordan OBE
  • The role of the food industry (presentations by major food businesses), Chaired by Lord Haskins
  • UK food consumption: the role of British farming in reducing the UK's global carbon footprint, Chaired by Professor Charles Godfray CBE FRS
  • Providing solutions, Chaired by Sir John Sulston FRS


Tickets Full Rate Discount
Two days £150 £75
One day or part day £95 £50

Discounts are applicable for Students, Members and Fellows.

Further information

Food for humans and conservation are in conflict. The challenge for humanity is how is to produce more food for more people on less land and with less environmental impact. Feeding people should not come at the expense of biodiversity. Even if everything remains unchanged, the struggle will be to provide enough food for the human population because of climate change, urbanisation and land degradation.

The number of mouths to feed is expected to have increased in 2050 by two billion.   Demand for improved food quality will also grow as more people move out of poverty.  How can the food demands of a larger global population be met without further loss of biodiversity?  The need for far-sighted action is imperative to ensure that supplies of food for people and animals are to be produced sustainably.

The aim of this symposium is to find ways to avoid these otherwise seemingly inevitable conflicts.  As a major conservation organisation, ZSL is eager to find solutions.

This symposium will bring together conservationists and interested parties who represent all levels of the food-production chain, including scientists, economists, farmers, manufacturers, retailers and consumers. Issues such as achieving greater coordination between conservationists and the producers of crops (e.g. palm oil and soya) applying scientific knowledge to utilise agricultural land more efficiently and the impact of the UK’s global food footprint, will be discussed. Changing consumer behaviour to eating more healthily, and encouraging consumption of edible proteins that can be produced with fewer resources than, for example, grain-fed beef, will also be considered.

What are the strategies that could simultaneously deliver sustainable food supplies and biodiversity conservation?

Solutions cannot be implemented overnight and it will be necessary to use a step-by-step approach to address the issues.  Therefore the focus of this two-day symposium will be on how to transform the conversation about diet, change behaviour and reduce the conflicts between food production, consumption and conservation.

Speakers and chairs 

  • Sir Patrick Bateson FRS, University of Cambridge
  • Sir John Beddington FRS, Oxford Martin School
  • Professor Tim Benton, University of Leeds
  • Chris Bishop, Writtle College
  • Professor Ian Boyd, DEFRA
  • Duncan Brack, Independent
  • Professor Allan Buckwell, Institute for European Economic Policy
  • Sheila Childerhouse, East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust
  • Quentin Clark, Waitrose
  • Elizabeth Clarke, Zoological Society of London
  • Martin Collison, Collison Associates
  • Dr Glyn Davies, Director of Programmes at WWF
  • Caroline Drummond, Chief Executive of LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming)
  • Susie Emmett, Green Shoots Productions
  • Dr Andrew Fearne, Norwich Business School and University of East Anglia
  • Dr Tara Garnett, University of Oxford and Founder of the Food Climate Research Network
  • Professor Chris Gilligan CBE, University of Cambridge
  • Professor Charles Godfray CBE FRS, University of Oxford
  • Lord Haskins
  • Sir Brian Heap CBE FRS, University of Cambridge
  • Patrick Holden CBE, Founder of the Sustainable Food Trust
  • Dr Gordon Jamieson, John Innes Centre
  • Professor Heather Koldewey, Zoological Society of London
  • Professor Tim Lang, Centre for Food Policy at City University London
  • Stuart Lendrum, Sainsbury's
  • Dr Richard Mithen, Institute of Food Research
  • Professor Tim O'Riordan OBE, University of East Anglia
  • Professor Wayne Powell, CGIAR Consortium
  • Craig Sams, Founder of Green & Blacks
  • Earl of Selborne FRS
  • Talal Shamoon, Intertrust Technologies Corporation
  • Guy Smith, Vice President of the National Farmers Union
  • Sir John Sulston FRS, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
  • Olivier Tichit, SIPEF
  • Darrel Webber, Secretary General of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil
  • Dr Duncan Williamson, WWF
  • Kene Umeasiegbu, Tesco

For further information, please contact the Scientific Events Coordinator by contacting Jennifer Howes jennifer.howes@zsl.org, or 0207 449 6227.

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