An investor coalition led by Rathbone Greenbank Investments is requesting that the Government of the United Kingdom starts to enforce stricter health and sustainability standards on the food industry.
This came in the wake of a government-commissioned independent review of England’s food system, which was published last July. The review was titled National Food Strategy, and it is the first of its kind in 75 years.
The investor coalition had numerous discussions with the government on food policy, and all of these interactions influenced the content of a white paper that the United Kingdom recently released in response to the National Food Strategy.
The white paper is a declaration of the United Kingdom’s food strategy, and it contains sections on sustainable food production, healthier eating, and the country’s role as part of a global food system.
The coalition hopes to see the government make more of an effort to address the National Food Strategy’s recommendation for mandatory reporting of sales in the food industry.
While the government’s white paper promises to explore the idea, current regulations allow for voluntary reporting. This has led to “a lack of consistent data being reported by companies on their health and nutrition performance,” Sophie Lawrence, Rathbone Greenbank Stewardship and Engagement Lead, tells Food Tank.
“Mandatory reporting would help investors understand the direct and systemic risks companies face and facilitate the movement of capital toward companies that are supporting the transition to a sustainable and healthy food system,” Lawrence says.
Additionally, the investor coalition is backing its stance with statistics generated by The Food Foundation, whose organization is tracking reports from supermarkets, restaurants, and caterers.
“Collaborating with NGOs such as the Food Foundation on specific environmental and social issues ultimately allows us to magnify the positive social or environmental impact we can have as an investor through our engagement work,” says Lawrence.