Governance

Food security in a globally-connected world will require better governance at all levels – local, national and international.

By Hannah Rowlands.

We were honoured to have Professor Susan Jebb present our first annual lecture on November 27, 2013.

Professor Susan Jebb is a nutrition scientist, but recognises that dietary advice for consumers needs to optimise health within the constraints of a sustainable food supply.

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By Cecilia Schubert, Communications Officer and Joost Vervoort, CCAFS Scenarios Officer

Scenarios work makes headway as it now informs climate, agriculture and socio-economic development policies across seven countries.

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By Laura Pereira

From 29th September to 2nd October 2013, the first international conference on global food security took place in the Dutch countryside of Noordwijkerhout. Under the auspices of Elsevier and with the convening power of Ken Giller and David Tilman, the conference was set up to be an interdisciplinary platform for discussing the state of scientific research on food security. The depth and breadth of the topics covered is captured in the list of the parallel sessions that were run over the 3.5 days.

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By Tanja Schneider.

As part of our new research into ‘Emerging forms of food consumer behaviour and food governance’ supported by the Oxford Martin Future of Food Programme, we are exploring what kinds of information and communication technologies are available to assist consumers in gathering and exchanging knowledge on a broad spectrum of food issues. We are particularly interested in learning more about consumers’ use of mobile phone apps, online consumer organisations and databases and other websites that provide information on food content, price, availability etc. Related to this, some of you may have seen our invitation to participate in a short online survey to share with us what about food matters most to you and how you go about finding out relevant information with or without the use of new ICTs.

Based on the information you provided in the survey (we are still looking for more participants!) and our own mapping of potential ICT-enabled sources of food information, we recently have become interested in a number of mobile apps, how they work, what they allow consumers to do and for whom these might be of interest and relevance. So one of our OFG team, Tanja, set out to test some apps in her everyday consumer life, took notes and offered to report back her experiences to the group. We decided to share her report with our blog readers for further discussion, thoughts and reflections.

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Notes from Food Security Conference

By Hannah Rowlands.

April 27th was the 2nd Annual Oxford Student Food Security Conference. Around 70 people attended this 1-day conference, with presentations from 9 researchers, covering a wide range of issues on the topic of food security, plus animated discussions after each session. The day ended with an interesting and entertaining keynote talk by Professor Doug Gollin.

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By Abrar Chaudhury.

In a recent panel discussion at the World Economic Forum 2014 - “Doing Business the Right Way” an audience member asked Richard Goyder, CEO of Wesfarmer and Australia’s G20 business leader about when businesses could be expected to formally adopt the triple bottom line (TBL) i.e. incorporate the social and environmental bottom lines along with the economic bottom line. His response was that “the only thing in the financial statements that (one) can believe in is the cashflow statement” as profits are somewhat arbitrary.  Without “generating cash you go broke”, he emphasized, so businesses need to survive first before social and environmental responsibility can be demonstrated.

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Article published by Nature (Nature 531, 551 (31 March 2016) doi:10.1038/531551a) written by Dr Adam Briggs

 

Health campaigners and political observers got a surprise in the United Kingdom's latest budget. This month, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced a sugar tax in the form of a levy on sugary-drinks manufacturers.

This is a bold and welcome move from a Conservative government that has often been criticized for not standing up to industry. It demonstrates that officials and policymakers have heeded advice and now recognize that sugar is a public-health problem that needs legislative control. The tax has potential implications not just for public health and the global soft-drinks industry, but also for the ability of all governments to act on market failures in food.

Britain will not be the first place to introduce a sugar-drink tax. Mexico, France, Hungary and Finland, among others, have taxed sugary drinks; South Africa, the Philippines, Indonesia and India are considering doing so. Hungary and Finland have also taxed some unhealthy foods.

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By Dr Joost Vervoort & Elisabeth van de Grift

Under uncertain futures, decision-makers and researchers from across the Mekong region in Southeast Asia are reviewing their agriculture and climate policies.

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Introduction by Marie Persson of the Food Climate Research Network (FCRN), Blog post by Henri de Ruiter

The UK is increasingly “outsourcing” the environmental impact of its food supply

This new FCRN blog-post discusses the findings of a recent paper by Henri de Ruiter and colleagues, Global cropland and greenhouse gas impacts of UK food supply are increasingly located overseas.  Henri is a PhD Student at the University of Aberdeen and the James Hutton Institute and his current PhD project considers the implications of meeting a healthy and environmentally sustainable diet for future land use. In this post he describes how the UK is becoming increasingly dependent on croplands overseas and the environmental implications of this trend. He also reflects on the complexities of this type of research, and describes the combination of methods that the researchers used to calculate the total cropland footprint of the UK and its associated greenhouse gas emissions.

 

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By Kyle Turner, University of Oxford and Boyd Swinburn, Deakin University

The most comprehensive global study ever undertaken for obesity was just released and the need for serious population-wide action is no longer up for debate. The study’s key findings make for grim reading – not a single country saw a decline in obesity over the past 30 years.

Instead, between 1980 and 2013, the prevalence of global overweight and obesity increased by 27.5% among adults. What is even more worrying still is that overweight and obesity in children soared by nearly a half (47.1%) in just three decades.

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