Food Ethics Council 2021 impact report

2021 was another challenging year, as the pandemic lingered, with deep and lasting impacts for so many, including those working in food and farming. With parts of the world being re-opened, and then sometimes shut down again, it was a year when short-term patience and building longer-term resilience were vital.

Major global gatherings promised a lot and delivered only modest progress. At COP26, we saw how one word can make a big difference (a lastminute change to the collective agreement to ‘phase down’ rather than ‘phase out’ fossil fuel use left many disappointed). Given the food system’s impact on global heating and how the climate emergency is already impacting food and farming in so many countries, the fact that food barely featured on the COP26 agenda was a huge missed opportunity.

The ‘decade of action’ in the 2020s should now be well and truly underway, but it needs an urgent reboot – and national governments must seize opportunities to put food and food ethics at the centre of the agenda in 2022, for example at the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) and UN Climate Change Conference 2022 (COP27).

However, working with community food initiatives and networks, dairy farmers, civil society organisations, food businesses and social changemakers, what we’ve seen consistently in the past year are efforts to identify, bolster and build more resilient food systems. We’re heartened to see initiatives build capacity and expand – particularly those in which food citizens are empowered to shape the food systems they want and need, namely to ensure everyone is fed well and able to look after one another.

The Food Ethics Council’s work in 2021 has been wide-ranging, but has continued to focus on bringing ethics to the centre of food systems, particularly in two key areas: building community (food) resilience and helping dairy farmers transition to fairer, more ethical dairy.

Download and read our impact report to learn more about what we got up to in 2021 and join us in promoting #FoodEthics.

Check out videos from longstanding Council members that stepped down in late 2021 – Helen Browning and Geoff Tansey – about the value of our work and what lies ahead here.