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Global Food Systems

Accelerating global leadership for food system change

UK action in the global food system 

Major transformations in the global food system are required in order to meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end hunger, achieve food security and improve nutrition. The critical role which food systems and our diets play in shaping our natural environment, contributing to climate change and determining our health is now undisputed: food system change is needed at a global level to ensure we have an environmentally sustainable system that can deliver healthy diets for all. In order to achieve this, a cross-cutting, collaborative approach across different sectors (e.g. health, trade, environment, education) and stakeholders (e.g. business, investors, young people, local and central governments) at different levels (e.g. local, national and global) is essential.

Our Global Food Systems project

This work will help to develop a clearer vision for how the UK’s experience in changing the food system domestically could help support change to take place internationally, and thereby protect and promote public and planetary health.

The work will engage three groups who play a part in driving food systems change:

  1. City authorities – leading to a network of cities who take part in a learning series and commit to take action to improve city region food systems (this work builds on the BINDI project)
  2. Young people – ultimately leading to a global youth movement campaigning for food system change.
  3. Leaders of businesses and investment companies – leading to a group of UK businesses who are committed to report on their progress for food systems change helping to catalyse other business commitments globally

Leadership by city authorities

We began by convening city authorities to share experiences on their food responses to the Covid-19 pandemic. Visit our publications page to access an initial set of case studies detailing radical approaches adopted by city authorities in response to lockdown measures. A recording of a recent webinar is also available and includes speakers from the UK, India and South Africa. City officials and their partners discussed whether the Covid-19 emergency presents a crisis or opportunity for city food systems.

We are now working with partners to develop and expand the learning partnership established through BINDI to involve cities across the world.  This exciting new initiative is called Food Cities 2022 and will culminate with a meeting ahead of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham to provide an opportunity for city authorities participating in the learning partnership to present their work.

Leadership by young people

Coming soon….

Leadership by businesses

The first phase of this work connects to our Plating Up Progress project, analysing the health and sustainability targets and commitments of major customer-facing food businesses in the UK.  This includes the major supermarkets, fast food and casual dining restaurant chains, and caterers.  The results of this analysis are presented in our Plating Up Progress  2020 dashboard and will be updated every six months.  We will be engaging with these businesses and their investors in order to identify case studies where progressive targets are being set or can be set in the future, based on the expectations of investors and internal goals within the businesses, and showcasing these within the context of the wider Global Food Systems project.

We are grateful to our funder FCDO who is making this work possible.