Food Justice: the Report of the Food and Fairness Inquiry is published today. It is the result of a year-long investigation into social justice in food and farming, undertaken by a committee of respected and influential figures from across the food sector. They include Fairtrade Foundation CEO Harriet Lamb, Andrew Opie from the British Retail Consortium, Melanie Leech, Chief Executive of the Food and Drink Federation, Paul Whitehouse, Chair of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority, and Jeanette Longfield, who runs the campaign group Sustain.
The Food Ethics Council set up the Inquiry because we were concerned that issues of social justice were underplayed in debates about food policy. The Inquiry committee’s report vindicates this concern. It finds that injustice is widespread throughout the UK and global food system; and it shows how a fairer food system is central to achieving wider sustainability and health goals.
The evidence presented in Food Justice leaves no room for doubt about the scale of the challenges that face us. However, it is equally clear that we have no choice but to confront those challenges, and to that end the report makes a series of far-reaching recommendations towards a sustainable, healthy and fair food system.
Most significantly, the key messages from the report – the need for urgent action to address social injustice, the centrality of social justice to today’s most pressing ecological concerns, the fact that ‘business as usual isn’t an option’ – represent a consensus reached despite the diverse perspectives of the business leaders, academics, public servants and campaigners who made up the Inquiry committee. This is a shared voice that demands the attention of anyone with an interest in a fairer future for our food system.
You can read the report here. If you would like a paper copy please contact Jo Lewin.