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Cambridge Global Food Security

An Interdisciplinary Research Centre at the University of Cambridge

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Food and Corporations

The fourth seminar in the ESRC series 'Future of our Food'
When Mar 30, 2015
from 09:30 AM to 05:30 PM
Where City University London
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This seminar is the fourth in the ESRC funded series Future of Our Food, hosted by Essex, Edinburgh, Cardiff and City Universities. The series explores topics of mutual interest to civil society organisations and academics.

The focus for this seminar is on the position and role of Food Corporations. Civil society organisations (CSOs) spend much time and energy trying to influence and sometimes confront huge corporations which dominate the UK, EU and global food systems. Support from academics to CSOs in this work is patchy. On some issues - obesity, food products, safety - there is a tradition of academic-NGO liaison, but on wages or conditions, there is less. This seminar is a chance to consider what is going on in the corporate food world and the nature of Food Corporate power.

We will explore questions such as:
•    How powerful are food corporations in the UK?
•    With giant supermarkets supposedly in trouble, are there cracks in food corporate power?
•    How are corporations responding to the challenges from civil society and academia?
•    What is the role of corporate social responsibility in the food sector?
•    Can NGOs work safely with corporations? If so, how?

Talks to include:
•    Who are the Food Corporate Giants? Michael Heasman (Harper Adams) & Tim Lang (City University London)
•    Should CSR be taken seriously? Bobby Bannerjee (Cass Business School / ETHOS project)
•    Financialisation and Food Power. Terry Marsden (Cardiff University)
•    'What about the workers?' Union strategies on food corporations in the UK and globally. Dave Spooner (Global Labour Institute)
•    From Codes of Conduct to Full Accountability: lessons from a 40 year campaign. Patti Rundall (Baby Milk Action)
•    Food Corporations' in a sustainable food system and how to influence them.  Mark Driscoll (Forum for the Future)

There will be ample time for discussion and debate, ending with a discussion about whether the UK public is interested in Food Corporations, if more research is needed, and where there is political traction to improve health, environment and social justice.

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