A Sustainable Food Future 2016

Climate Change, Urbanization and Innovation

5 Dec 2016 - 09:30 to 6 Dec 2016 - 13:30
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Royal Society of Arts

International agreements, increasing urbanization and climate change are putting pressure on the global food system. The annual Chatham House food conference will address the specific challenges that need to be overcome to improve sustainability and food security, deliver carbon reductions in the food system, and the role of policy, industry and civil society in achieving these goals.

Discussion topics will include:

  • Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the COP21 climate change commitments – In order to satisfy these agreements, how will food production and consumption approaches need to be reassessed by countries, companies and individuals? Key areas for improvement include tackling food waste, changing consumption and improving the ecological efficiency of food production. 
  • Demographic shifts and increasing urbanization – These are furthering the need for, and accelerating, changes to farming systems. Methods for adaption to a low carbon, urbanized world and the potential for entrepreneurial approaches and new technologies to generate solutions will be assessed. 
  • Sustainable development and resilience - To ensure food security and economic development, resilience must be improved. As climate risk grows, how can investment be mobilized to help prevent serious disruption and what risk management mechanisms, including insurance, are available?

The Chatham House Rule 
To enable as open a debate as possible, this conference will be held under the Chatham House Rule.

Suggested hashtag:#CHFoodfuture

Monday 5 December

Session One | Global Commitments in Practice

With international agreements being made at both the UN Sustainable Development Goals meeting in New York and at COP21 in Paris, how these commitments will be achieved, and the role of the global food system in the process, must be assessed.  

  • What are the implications of COP21 and the SDGs for food and agriculture? What are the next steps for implementation and to what extent is there accountability and with whom does it lie?
  • How are agriculture and food waste reduction featured in the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) of developing and developed countries, and what does this mean for agricultural systems therein as well as for the global food system?
  • How can the finance required to satisfy these agreements through supporting food and agricultural developments be mobilized? What innovative approaches are emerging?
  • What would a 2-degree or 1.5-degree pathway mean for agriculture and land use?
  • What global trends will emerge over the coming decades within which these goals should be met?

Session Two | Innovation in Food Production and Sustainable Intensification

  • What is the need and potential for innovative forms of urban farming to sustainably produce food for growing and concentrated populations? What challenges do these systems face?
  • What improved farming practices are being developed that increase productivity while protecting the environment? 
  • How significant is the impact of soil erosion on agricultural systems and how can it be avoided? 
  • What is the future sustainability of aquaculture, especially in light of developments in aquaponics?
  • What developments have been made in genetically modified crops? To what extent are they likely to be taken up more widely, and what role might they play in more sustainable food production? 
  • What is the potential for alternative proteins such as cricket flour and cultured meat? 

Session Three | The Food Waste Challenge 

  • How can retailers and consumers be motivated to avoid food waste? Has food been devalued in developed economies, and how might this value be restored?
  • What policy mechanisms can be used to reduce food losses and waste across the supply chain?
  • What strategies can be used to prevent food waste post-harvest?  How can packaging and transportation be best deployed to improve food security? 
  • What are the practical challenges of food redistribution for human consumption?
  • To what extent can innovation and disruptive technologies address the food waste problem?

Session Four | Consumption Trends and Food Choices 

  • What are the effects of continued urbanization and income growth on global consumption trends in terms of dietary diversity, health, and demand for livestock and dairy products?
  • Should consumers be encouraged to adopt more sustainable diets, and if so, how? Are attempts to raise awareness sufficient?
  • How effective are policy ‘nudges’, such as guidelines and taxes, and what more could governments do to develop sustainable eating patterns?
  • What lessons can be learnt from the energy sector in encouraging consumers to consider sustainability?
  • How is the private sector contributing to the promotion of sustainable diets and what more can be done?

1730 Close of day one and drinks reception hosted by Chatham House

Tuesday 6 December

Session Five | Sustainable Development through Agriculture

Ensuring sustainable and profitable agricultural systems in developing economies is critical for growth. Pressures on agricultural systems include increasing urbanization, competition for land use and environmental factors. This session will address how these challenges might be managed and look at new approaches to overcome them. 

  • How can effective partnerships for sustainable food systems along value chains be built and developed by multinational organizations? 
  • How can farmers, especially women, be empowered and their livelihoods made more secure through improved access to resources including land, finance and education?
  • What can be done to make farming more attractive to the next generation? 
  • What role might entrepreneurs have in fostering sustainable and transparent supply chains and developing new approaches to the food system?

Session Six | Risk Management and Resilience across the Supply Chain

  • How effective have responses from national and international actors been before and during recent food crises? Where are the gaps in system resilience that need to be filled if we are to deal with climate change?
  • How can resilience be built into supply chains through infrastructure investment?
  • What are the challenges of measuring risk across a global supply chain, where economic, political and environmental factors combine?
  • How might cooperation in terms of risk management or information sharing across borders be developed?
  • How can the competing demands of resilience building and efficiency be reconciled? How might financiers and international finance institutions facilitate a move towards future-proofing and resilience building? 
  • Is the insurance industry prepared for a severe disruption in global food supply? 

1330 End of conference

© The Royal Institute of International Affairs 2016


Register by Friday 7 October 2016 to benefit from the early booking rate.

For any questions about which rate applies to you, please call Dora Rencoret on +44 (0)20 7314 2785



Major corporate member rates    
All organizations£545£654£645£774
Corporate member rates    
Commercial organizations£1,190£1,428£1,390£1,668
Government departments£720£864£820£984
NGOs and academics£440£528£540£648
Standard rates    
Commercial organizations£1,335£1,602£1,535£1,842 
Government departments£810£972£920£1,104
NGOs and academics£490£588£595


Keynote Speakers


Dr Francesco Branca to speak at the Chatham House conference: A Sustainable Food Future 2016

Dr Francesco Branca

Director, Nutrition for Health and Development, WHO

Carmel Cahill to speak at the Chatham House Sustainable Food Future 2016 conference

Carmel Cahill

Deputy Director, Directorate for Trade and Agriculture, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

Arne Cartridge to speak at Chatham House A Sustainable Food Future 2016 conference

Arne Cartridge

Special Adviser, Yara International and Executive Director, Grow Africa (2012-2016)

Javier Constante to speak at the Chatham House conference: A Sustainable Food Future 2016

Javier Constante

EMEA Commercial Vice President for the Packaging and Specialty Plastics Business, The Dow Chemical Company

Mihail Dumitru to speak at the Chatham House conference: A Sustainable Food Future 2016

Mihail Dumitru

Deputy Director-General, DG Agriculture and Rural Development, European Commission

Elise Golan to speak at the Chatham House A Sustainable Food Future 2016 conference

Elise Golan

Director for Sustainable Development, US Department of Agriculture

Liz Goodwin to speak at the Chatham House Sustainable Food Future 2016 conference

Dr Liz Goodwin OBE

Senior Fellow and Director, Food Loss and Waste, World Resources Institute

HE Amira Daoud Hassan Gornass to speak at Chatham House A Sustainable Food Future 2016 conference

HE Amira Daoud Hassan Gornass

Chair, Committee on World Food Security

Bernard Lehmann to speak at Chatham House A Sustainable Food Future 2015 conference

Bernard Lehmann

Director General, Federal Office for Agriculture, Switzerland

John Mandyck to speak at Chatham House A Sustainable Food Future 2016 conference

John Mandyck

Chief Sustainability Officer, United Technologies Corporation

Tosi Mpanu Mpanu to speak at Chatham House Climate Change 2016 conference

Tosi Mpanu-Mpanu

Chair of the Least Developed Countries Group, UN Climate Change Negotiations

Måns Nilsson

Senior Research Fellow, Deputy Director and Research Director, Stockholm Environment Institute

Professor Tony Ryan to speak at Chatham House A Sustainable Food Future 2015 conference

Professor Tony Ryan

Director, Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures

Gerda Verburg to speak at Chatham House A Sustainable Food Future 2015 conference

Gerda Verburg

Coordinator, Scaling Up Nutrition Movement

Juergen Voegele to speak at the Chatham House Sustainable Food 2016 conference

Juergen Voegele

Senior Director, Agriculture Global Practice, World Bank Group


The Grantham Centre sponsor of Chatham House A Sustainable Food Future 2015 conference

United Technologies to sponsor Chatham House A Sustainable Food Future 2016 conference

Yara logo

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor for this event, please contact
Amy Wevill on +44 (0) 20 7957 5732

Media partners

Agribusiness Intelligence to partner with Chatham House on the Sustainable Food Future conference

British Soft Drinks Association to partner with Chatham House on the A Sustainable Food Future 2016 conference

Corporate Citizenship Briefing to partner with Chatham House on the Climate Change 2016 conference


If you are interested in becoming a media partner for this event, please contact Amy Smith on +44 (0)20 7957 5755


Royal Society of Arts
8 John Adam Street


Due to refurbishment works at Chatham House in the summer, please note that this conference will not be held at Chatham House and will take place at the above venue. 

Although we cannot book accommodation for delegates, we have arranged a reduced rate at some nearby hotels, where you can book your own accommodation. Please inform the hotel that you will be attending a Chatham House conference to qualify for the Institute's reduced rate.

Please note all rates are subject to availability.

Flemings Mayfair
Half Moon Street
London - W1J 7BH

Tel: + 44 (0)20 7499 2964
Fax: + 44 (0)20 7499 1817

Standard Single from £195 + VAT

The Cavendish London
81 Jermyn Street
London - SW1Y 6JF

Tel: + 44 (0)20 7930 2111
Fax: + 44 (0)20 7839 2125

Standard Single £205 + VAT

Book The Cavendish online

The Stafford London 
St James's Place
London - SW1A 1NJ

Tel: 020 7518 1125
Fax: 020 7493 7121

Standard Single £235 +VAT

The Savoy London
London - WC2R 0EU

Tel: 020 7836 4343
Fax: 020 7240 6040 

Standard Single from £250 +VAT

This conference will be held under the Chatham House Rule. Information for journalists.

Press can request a press pass.