Environment and sustainability hot topics at Business Leaders’ Forum

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Environment

The food and drink industry’s focus on environmental and sustainability issues was a welcome surprise at this year’s Business Leaders’ Forum, organised by Food Manufacture, according to the founder of Alara Wholefoods.

In this exclusive video interview, founder director Alex Smith said the day’s discussions had filled him with hope that the industry was getting onboard with issues surrounding climate change and sustainability – and taking the matter seriously.

“In terms of the environment, climate change – especially in the food industry – is the most serious element we have to address,”​ said Smith. “In this country, climate change gas from the food industry and food supply chain is only 10% of ​[overall] climate change gas, but globally it’s more than 30%.

Imbedded C02

“If you imagine that more than 50% of food consumed in this country is coming from abroad, then embedded C02​[equivalent] in the food we import needs to start to be addressed.”

Smith voiced his concerns that the amount of greenhouse gases created by the food and drink industry could be just cause for the Government to ditch manufacturing in the UK in order to shirk the threat of climate change.

“Heavy industry that requires a lot of energy – such as concrete manufacturing, steel manufacturing – where the UK Government has been concerned about climate change, have all been offshored; it’s now another country’s responsibility,”​ he explained.

Offshoring food production

“I’m concerned that this Government will see that exactly the same with food and want to offshore the climate change embedded in food as we enter our new regime.”

However, he pointed out that any pressure for manufacturers to become more sustainable and environmentally friendly was likely to come from consumers rather than the Government, driven by their perceptions of the industry’s contribution towards climate change.

Meanwhile, the Government’s roll-out of the National Living Wage (NLW) and pressure to add more sugar to products are just some of the challenges facing Freaks of Nature founder Peter Ahye, as he revealed in this exclusive video interview.

Music from https://filmmusic.io
"Acid Trumpet" by Kevin MacLeod (https://incompetech.com)
License: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

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