Mike was Director of Sustainable Business at M&S helping develop, implement and evolve its ground-breaking sustainability program, Plan A (because there is no Plan B for the one planet we have). Today he’s consulting across the economy with organisations big and small, private and public.
Why do you support the Future Food Movement mission to radically upskill the food industry and leadership teams of today and tomorrow?
The global food sector is the most important one on the planet, it quite literally sustains us. But it has an outsized, growing and unsustainable impact on society (wellbeing to human rights) and the planet (GHG emissions to water use, soil and biodiversity loss). In turn it is uniquely vulnerable to the impacts its unleashing, especially weather extremes, at the very time the global population is growing. It is also, compared to other sectors, particularly hard to change. It’s political, heavily subsidised, populated by big and small (600m smallholders) and very, very price and availability sensitive.
New ways of producing and consuming food are emerging but technologies are not enough; at heart it is a deeply human sector and the Future Food Movement is there to engage, inspire, empower and upskill those who work in and/or care about it to create a very much more sustainable approach to food.
What do you think it will take to shift the industry on sustainable diets?
The dietary choices of billions of people are central to creating a sustainable food system. Our relationship with food is complex and personal, spanning factors such as taste, convenience, culture, price and provenance. To change these emotional and deeply engrained habits across whole populations will require us to ‘join the dots’ on multiple interventions on why and how we need to change diets.