Investor Coalition on Food Policy expanding its work

Investor Coalition on Food Policy event

It’s been just over a year since we held our first ever Investor Summit dedicated to food systems.

The conference brought together analysts, policy makers and members of the Investor Coalition on Food Policy to discuss the central role the investment community must play in driving systemic transformation towards a healthy, sustainable and equitable food future.

The participants called for government action to transform the way we grow, manufacture and eat food, to tackle Britain’s public health crisis and the food industry’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions.

Investor Summit image120 leading investment analysts, policymakers and NGOs attended the summit

As the summit took place at the time the Food Data Transparency Partnership (FDTP) was being established, one of the key themes of the event was calling for mandatory reporting, and there were high hopes that this would be implemented!

You can read more about the event here and more about the FDTP below. The Investor Coalition on Food Policy exists to harness the power of the investment community to engage with the Government on food system related issues.  

One year on from the summit, it’s been a busy start to 2024 for the Investor Coalition on Food Policy and its secretariat The Food Foundation.

Investor Coalition on Food Policy logo

Working to ensure greater business transparency and accountability

The Coalition has a Policy Working Group which has been advocating for increased business accountability and transparency in the food and beverage sector.

More specifically, the working group has been engaged in the UK government’s FDTP process, inputting into the development of a consistent set of voluntary health and mandatory sustainability metrics to be agreed as part of FDTP.

It has been disappointing to see the watering down of the mandatory commitment on the health metrics, and the slow progress of the FDTP generally, but the Coalition maintains that the FDTP is a crucial process for developing streamlined metrics and sees the voluntary health metrics as an important stepping stone towards mandatory reporting in the future.

As the FDTP is only one aspect of corporate disclosure and reporting, there are plans to expand political engagement, such as through inputting into the recently-convened House of Lords Select Committee on Food, Diet and Obesity.

And finally, the working group is advising The Food Foundation on a project to strengthen corporate lobbying activities disclosures relating to the food industry, given investors’ increasing scrutiny of lobbying practices.  

Increasing investor engagement with the UK food system

In early February The Food Foundation organised the first of three “immersion events”.

The aim of these events is to provide investors with more in-depth exposure to different parts of food system, and explore both the material risks of a business-as-usual approach to key food system issues and the potential opportunities to innovate and regulate so that our food system works for both people and planet.

The first event focused on food waste and the need for mandatory reporting, given how significant a problem food waste is (if food waste were a country, it would be the world’s third largest emitter after China and the USA).

Investor Coalition on Food Policy eventThe first full Investor Coalition meeting

The Food Foundation hosted a dinner at the wonderful Silo, the world’s first zero-waste restaurant.

Investors who attended had the opportunity to hear and experience first-hand how these kinds of disruptive business models work and thrive, and to learn about the challenges and opportunities faced by these kinds of businesses that do things differently.

By better understanding the food system and environment, investors can bring different perspectives and arguments to their engagement and stewardship activities, and to their engagement with government.

Investor Coalition on Food Policy event2The first full Investor Coalition meeting

The Food Foundation is planning a further two immersion events in the coming months – get in touch to find out more!

And last but not least, towards the end of February we held the first full Investor Coalition meeting of the year, which was a hybrid meeting hosted at the Greenbank's offices in London as well as online.

During the meeting we launched the Coalition’s strategic focus areas for the coming 12 months, which prioritises advocating for greater business transparency and accountability (including mandatory reporting by food and beverage companies) and exploring emerging risks and opportunities for investors within food systems.

Silo, the world’s first zero-waste restaurantSilo, the world’s first zero-waste restaurant

The meeting also heard from a range of expert guest speakers who talked about the financialisation of ultra-processed foods, health targets for retailers, obesity reporting in the USA, and what that means for investors.

The meeting ended with a joint networking lunch held alongside ShareAction’s Long-term Investors in People's Health initiative members.

To read more about the Investor Coalition on Food Policy and its work, including its presence at COP28, please click here.

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