The urgency for a UN-led omnilabel cannot be over-stated, we heard, on July 27 at Quota’s pre-Food Systems Summit event, led by Professor Tim Lang and joined by Terrence Collingsworth who leads at IRAdvocates and Anya Doherty, CEO and founder of Foodsteps. UN pre-Food Systems
- Take a look at the event here.
- Take a look at professor Tim Lang’s presentation slides here.
- Take a look at Terrence Collingsworth’s slides on child labour here.
- Here’s the formal proposal to the UN Food Systems Summit.
More than 600 viewers joined via Zoom and the livestream over Facebook and TikTok from more than 23 countries, across Africa, Latin America, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, The Philippines, Europe and the United Kingdom. UN pre-Food Systems
Given the proposal’s universal support at the event, we will now ask for an official agenda item at the UN Food Systems Summit, where we will propose that the omnilabel is adopted by the UN Human Rights Council as an urgent resolution.
We heard that already consumers are confused by conflicting brand-led omnilabels which are emerging and which do not address human rights, from brands including Nestle, Cargill, Danone, Unilever, Impossible Foods.
The fragmentation dissipates the ability of consumers to influence the food system and encourages brands to seek out the least rigorous metrics.
Armed with accurate information, consumers are able to turn the dial on food system practices. Where consumers go, business will follow. Sixty per cent of the economy is driven by consumers – this needs to be harnessed to transform the food system dramatically and rapidly.
“Young people specifically are looking for UN support and protection”
A rigorous, global set of metrics, which embody human rights across the entire food system, must be adopted as a matter of urgency. Only the UN is able to take the leadership role.
Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) investments are attracting ever growing funds, but investors need a simple set of metrics to demonstrate that a food company meets global and rigorous approved criteria.
Deloitte said last year that the number of retail and institutional investors applying ESG principles to at least one quarter of their portfolios jumped from 48 percent in 2017 to 75 percent in 2019.
Deloitte predicts that investment managers will launch a record 200 new ESG funds by 2023, more than double those of the previous three years.
And Prince Charles alone leads a fund committed to investing $10 billion in nature capital such as regenerative agriculture by next year – 2022.
There is no other proposal before the UN capable of improving the lives of so many so efficiently as this one.
“1.56 million children are harvesting cocoa in Ivory Coast and Ghana alone – after 20 years of the Harkin Engel protocol”
We heard that corporate self-monitoring and corporate-led schemes aren’t working, with the Harkin Engel protocol as just one example. Child slavery in the cocoa trade has gone up rather down since it was adopted. Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance are not monitoring child slavery – indeed no programme is.
Currently 1.56 million children are harvesting cocoa in Ivory Coast and Ghana alone – after 20 years of the Harkin Engel protocol.
Young people specifically are looking for the UN support and protection an omnilabel would provide, in the face of powerful lobbies obstructing attempts at policy which would deliver them human rights in the food system.
Our speakers and the audience confirmed that the data collection and technology required is in place, making it possible to deliver rigorous omnilabel measurements.
So with this in mind, the omnilabel metrics proposed could harness agrifood to help deliver each and every UN Sustainable Development Goal, which is important because food’s role in delivering SDGs has been largely overlooked.
Most importantly, the UN has a duty to empower consumers to make positive human rights food choices to protect the planet, health and the welfare of all.
Professor Joachim von Braun who heads the Scientific Group for the UN Food Systems Summit, said, “There is no other area – where the human rights of so many people are violated – as in the food system.”