A new report from the environmental thinktank Green Alliance argues that the food industry should pay for the restoration and preservation of the natural assets food production depends on.
As campaigners and policy makers ponder how best to use the opportunities presented by Brexit to make British food production more sustainable, the Green Alliance has come up with a bold proposal. Given that public subsidies for farming are likely to decline after 2020, it suggests in a new report that the food industry should step in to support farming. The move would be justifiable in economic terms, it argues, because the profitability of the food industry depends on healthy farmland.
Its two key recommendations are, first, for a Sustainable Food Pact between the whole of the food sector and the government, a 'facilitated pre-competitive collaboration', underpinned by regulation, that would aim to restore and maintain the natural systems and assets that farming needs. Secondly, new Natural Capital Allowances would provide financial incentives for food companies to invest in environmental restoration, complementing public subsidies.
The report is likely to cause controversy, because it envisages transferring responsibility -- and associated powers of decision making and prioritisation -- currently in the public sector into private organisations. But in the melting pot of possibilities presented by Brexit, thinking outside the box will be needed. Read the report here.
Sustain campaigns for a greener, healthier and fairer food system, and is coordinating the work on Brexit by a range of third-sector organisations: find out more here.
Published 10 Feb 2017
Sustain: Sustain The alliance for better food and farming advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, enrich society and culture and promote equity.
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