This Food Thinkers will explore a key issue within civil society’s quest for a better, fairer food system. Professor Fearne will question whether the growth of consumer concern for doing the right thing is as simple as its proponents sometimes suggest it is: “The gap between what people think/plan/do is as wide as ever and advocates of a market-based approach to sustainable consumption (of which the author was, until very recently, an extremely vocal one) are living in cloud cuckoo land! Evidence-based decision-making is a worthy cause but only if the evidence bears scrutiny and is interpreted holistically, in context.
The seminar will focus, in particular, on the lessons from two case studies: (a) fair trade and (b) carbon labelling, including insight from the analysis of supermarket loyalty card data. It will propose a more thoroughly integrated approach to sustainability, in which the supply chain is the focus of attention for market-related initiatives and choice editing is the focus for the regulators – at least those with the stomach for it!”
Andy Fearne is Professor of Value Chain Management and Head of Kent Business School (Medway Campus). His main areas of research are consumer behaviour, inter-organisational relationships and value chain analysis. He is the founding editor of the International Journal of Supply Chain Management (the No.1 ranked journal in the discipline), author of over 150 journal articles, book chapters and conference papers, the 14th Adelaide Thinker in Residence and the son of a Kentish pig farmer, the significance of which is revealed through a tireless work ethic and a positive approach to all opportunities and challenges!
His innovative approach to the funding and application of applied research has resulted in an impressive record of business engagement, with organisations large and small, from around the world, and at all stages of the food chain. Prominent amongst existing corporate partners are dunnhumby and Tesco, with whom he has been working for the last nine years, mining the most comprehensive supermarket panel data in the world – the weekly supermarket purchases of 1.7 million Tesco Clubcard holders – through PhD students funded by trade associations, regional development agencies and government departments. His work in the area of organisational justice and supplier relationships has resulted in collaborative research with major players in the food industry (e.g. Unilever, Tesco, Oxfam, International Institute of Environment and Development) and beyond (e.g. CEVA logistics, Angel Trains, Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply).
Andy also joined the FRC for a Food Bites to give us a snapshot snapshot of what the current issues in the food system are and what civil society organisations and academics could be doing to work towards solutions.