Who we are

We are a think-tank and charity that provide independent advice on the ethics of food and farming. We are experts on fairness and sustainability in food and farming, and a leader on ethical food issues. We consider things ‘in the round’ by looking at the food system as a whole – this means considering the wider impacts of our food and farming systems on people, animals and the planet. We take the long-term view and believe in tackling root causes rather than treating symptoms.

Our vision is of a world where it is easy to eat well and hunger is a distant memory; where farmers and food producers make a decent living, animals are treated humanely, and the environment is respected.

Our work is not for profit. We value our independence and are not affiliated to any political party or religious organisation. Openness and collaboration are central to our work, and we bring people together from across farming, business, NGOs, grassroots community groups, academia, policy and the public, to hold honest, productive conversations and collectively find a way through the multiple, complex crises we face.  

Our Mission and Role

Our mission is to accelerate a shift towards fair food systems that respect people, animals and the planet.

Our role is threefold: 

  • To nurture a safe space for stakeholders in the food system to come together and engage in honest, meaningful dialogue 
  • To challenge business as usual by asking the hard questions and illuminating ethical tensions 
  • To encourage ‘in the round’ decision-making and long-term solutions that tackle root causes


Our Council Members are all leaders in their relevant fields, and appointed as individuals. They bring a broad range of expertise to our work, from academic research through to practical knowledge of farming, business and policy. Our staff and volunteers are all committed to creating food systems that are fair and healthy for people, animals and the planet.

Our Story

The Food Ethics Council was established in 1998 with support from the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust and the Farm and Food Society. We became a company limited by guarantee in 2000 (No. 03901671) and registered as a charity in February 2004 (No. 1101885).

We are considered by stakeholders to be experts on fairness and sustainability in food and farming, and the leader on ethical food issues. To see some of the milestones from our first twenty years and read a short explanation of how we were formed, written by Founder Director Ben Mepham, click here. Geoff Tansey, long-standing Council member, also wrote a paper giving a personal reflection on the way the Food Ethics Council has approached social justice in the food system, which can be read here.