Articles by Mollie Brennan on the GC Blog and GC analysis
WORLD: Are consumer preferences the main drivers behind the public policy changes? How food systems should change to meet growing demand, from increasing productivity, reducing waste and changing diets? Listen to Senior Director, Stephen Adams, Practice Lead for Sustainability, Elizabeth Beall and Associate, Mollie Brennan discuss the future of food in the UK, Europe and globally.
First it was tofu, then it was quorn, and now meat derived from a single animal cell and thus the creation of a new term – meat analogue. The meat analogue industry is one of the fastest growing consumer goods segments. It is also one of increasing political volatility and one in which regulation is struggling to keep up in a way that spurs innovation and shifts consumer behaviour. As the debate evolves, the EU’s commitment to upholding the highest welfare and safety standards may come into conflict with the bloc’s mandate for global leadership in health and environmental standards.
That probably got your attention. It certainly got enough attention to ensure that the editor of Waitrose’s food magazine, William Sitwell, had to stand down after he joked that "killing vegans, one by one" was preferable to publishing a feature on plant based recipes. The story broke on World Vegan Day: talk about bad timing.
At the governing UK Conservative party’s conference this week, parliamentary undersecretary of state, Therese Coffey, promised a ‘radical’ Waste and Resources Strategy by the end of 2018. A series of government enquiries this year have underscored widespread support for more hard-nosed policies. The EU’s circular economy package recycling targets and China’s hardening line on waste imports are also pressuring policymakers to move. So, what should businesses expect?
Putting a monetary value on nature provides a stronger economic case for ambitious environmental policy supported by public and private investment, but it also leaves that value, and the investment case, hanging on politics.
Whatever gets discussed at Mar-a-Lago between Donald Trump and Xi Jinping, it probably won’t include climate change. Trump has just ripped up Obama’s Clean Power Plan and approved Keystone XL. Xi is positioning China as the new global leader in climate change. Anyone trying to make sense of what this means for demand for renewables and the global dynamic in climate policy obviously has an interest in wondering what this adds up to. Xi can legitimately argue that he is bringing more to the energy transition table than the Trump administration is. But that is a very low bar. How seriously can we take China’s claim to leadership?
Everyday it seems there is another responsible investment framework, or new updates to comply with. Investors have driven the creation of these frameworks – now they need to drive their consolidation.