“Appetite for Change” – Reinventing the Global Food System
On June 23rd, SustainAbility (forefathers in the Corporate Social Responsibility movement) released an excellent macro-level analysis of our failing food system, Appetite for Change. Created from numerous interviews with leaders in the food, technology and finance sectors, it uncovers a disturbing disconnect in the way corporate and non-corporate actors are tackling food security issues. Most of the interviewees were big businesses, such as Nestle, Marks & Spencer, IBM and Syngenta, so I was happy to represent a more “grassroots” perspective.
While the tone and format of Appetite for Change may not resonate with some already working for food security and regional, sustainable food systems, I do think others – especially larger corporations – will respond well and gain valuable insights.
Ultimately, the report outlines the need for new leadership in:
- Redefined Vision encompassing sometimes unfamiliar or unconventional concepts like fair shares (not taking more than your share of the profit or product), closed loops (systemic efficiency; cradle-to-cradle), and ‘un-innovating’ (de-industrializing and simplifying back to organic processes and products).
- Application of Systemic Approaches moving away from simple, linear networks and fostering ‘mosaics’ (diversification of models and scale, and inclusion of more players and approaches).
- Use of Information Technology to facilitate robust webs of interactions and knowledge-sharing.
- Better understanding of Societal Needs in order to re-value food (considering the true cost of food production and distribution), gaining knowledge to then transform food-related policy and politics.
Of course I’m happy to see that the interviewees indirectly validated our upcoming Catalyst Commons full platform, as we’re hitting on the third Information Technology bullet to facilitate robust interactions and knowledge-sharing.