IFST chief executive Jon Poole told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “The main theme of our conference will be picked up by the panel discussion which is around the concept of ‘sustainable intensification’.
“While, for some people this might sound like an oxymoron, we hope that our panel will steer us towards how this can become a reality.”
The keynote panel discussion – What does Sustainability mean? – will be chaired by Tim Benton, professor of population ecology at the University of Leeds and UK champion for UK’s Global Food Security Programme.
‘What does Sustainability mean?’
Taking part in the discussion will be Caroline Drummond, chief executive of Linking Environment and Farming, Jeroen Wouters, director international, Food Valley, Netherlands, Andrew Parry, special adviser to the Waste & Resources Action Programme, Craig Sams of Green & Blacks and Lucy Foster, from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
The IFST boss also identified minimising food waste and resource use as critical challenges for the sector. “There are many solutions being put forward to this from changing consumer behaviour to the use of anaerobic digesters,” said Poole.
“We have a particular focus during our conference dinner on the how more food from the food supply chain can but utilised rather than thrown away. We are attempting – with the help of Fareshare to source the vast majority of our dinner from unwanted food.”
Minimising the use of resources
Science can play an important role in minimising the use of resources such as energy and water, he added.
“Our conference is only one day,” said Poole. “So we expect to carry on our theme of sustainability for next year’s conference as well so hopefully we can focus on more of these topics.”
The event is aimed at a wide audience with specialist interest in sustainability, from technical managers through to policy-makers, from students just starting their food careers through to experienced consultants and food and drink manufacturers and retailers.
More information about the conference is available from the IFST website.
Meanwhile, watch out for reports from the IFST spring conference later this month.