2018, September: Sustain proposes radical solution at Tory Party conference

Sustain chief executive Kath Dalmeny explains how large amounts of public money could be invested in heatlhy and sustainable food, for the benefit of everyone

Sustain chief executive Kath Dalmeny explains how large amounts of public money could be invested in heatlhy and sustainable food, for the benefit of everyone

Sustain's chief executive Kath Dalmeny won the popular vote at a fringe event at the Conservative Party Conference in 2018, with her idea for investment of big money in sustainable, climate-friendly food and farming. Audience members chose Sustain's 'radical solution' as the one most likely to happen.

The debate took place as part of Unlock Democracy's Radical Solutions series. Kath Dalmeny went on to feature as one of their podcast interviewees. Listen to the podcast here.

Kath Dalmeny argued that there are critically important outcomes that we now expect from our food, farming and fishing. These range from solving obesity and climate change, to ensuring high animal welfare, good farming and fishing livelihoods, conservation of soil, water and pollinators, robust antibiotics stewardship, and much more. It is a huge shopping list, but nobody is stepping up to pay the bill. Such outcomes are generaly not rewarded by the market.

We need to find enough money to invest in change. Kath used the diagram shown at the top of this page to prompt the audience to consider that very large amounts of money are indeed available in the food system, which could be much better directed. These include (starting with the smallest first):

  • c.£3 billion of farm payments, currently managed for UK farmers and land managers as part of the Common Agricultural Policy.
  • c.£10 billion (probably more) of repatriated European funds - those currently distributed to UK regions and programmes, in the form of - for example - the European Social Fund, European Regional Development Fund, Leader+ and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.
  • c.£220 billion in UK consumer spend on food and drink.
  • c.£4.5 trillion, which which represents the investment funds influenced by the FAIRR initiative, seeking to shift finance decisions to divest from damaging practices and to invest in companies that support sustainable food, farming and environmental practices.

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Sustain advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, promote equity and enrich society and culture.

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