Clark Wolf is the host and organizer. The panel—on food and politics—includes me, talking about my memoir, Slow Cooked, An Unexpected Life in Food Politics; Chloe Sorvino, author of Raw Deal: Hidden Corruption, Corporate Greed, and the Fight for the Future of Meat; Alex Prud’homme, author of Dinner With The President: Food, Politics and the History of Breaking Bread at the White House; and Tanya Holland, author of Tanya Holland’s California Soul. Free, but register here. It starts at 5:00 p.m. and lasts one hour.
What should we think about the food industry’s new Sustainable Food Policy Alliance holds promise?
Danone North America, Mars Inc, Nestlé USA (no relation), and Unilever US have left the Grocery Manufacturers Association to form a new organization, the Sustainable Food Policy Alliance.
Its stated purpose (as explained in the press release):
- Consumer Transparency: Improving the quality and accessibility of information available to consumers about the food they purchase for themselves and their families.
- Environment: Advocating for innovative, science-based solutions to take action against the costly impacts of climate change, build more resilient communities, promote renewable energy, and further develop sustainable agriculture systems.
- Food Safety: Ensuring the quality and safety of food products and the global supply chain.
- Nutrition: Developing and advocating for policies that help people make better-informed food choices that contribute to healthy eating while supporting sustainable environmental practices.
- People and Communities: Advancing policies that promote a strong, diverse, and healthy workplace and support the supply chain, including rural economies.
The Alliance says it intends to:
- Urge policymakers to ensure the Farm Bill and other farm policies emphasize water quality and conservation issues, improved soil health, and renewable energy (particularly wind and solar).
- Explore the economics of sustainability, including financial incentives to reduce emissions and transition to low-carbon alternatives and to create value for farmers, ranchers, and others.
- Advocate on behalf of environmental policies at the state, national, and international levels, including the Paris Climate Agreement and Clean Power Plan.
Sounds good, no?
As I told the Washington Post, I would like
to see how the four companies address more inconvenient environmental and public health policies, such as limits on bottling water from national forests or mandated, front-of-package nutrition labeling. Those policies could potentially threaten their bottom lines — an issue Danone’s Lozano said his company did not face with its current efforts around sustainability.
Let’s give them credit for going after the low-hanging fruit first…But the real questions are what they will really do, and when.