30 Ways Business Schools are Supporting SDG 2 Zero Hunger – World Food Day (part 2 of 3)

World Food Day is celebrated every year on the 16th of October (the date of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 1945). The theme for this year is Healthy Diets for a #ZeroHunger World. As overweight and obesity rates soar worldwide, the day is a call for action to make healthy and sustainable diets available and affordable to everyone. In honour of this day, here are 30 different ways that Signatories are exploring the topic of food and Sustainable Development Goal 2 in terms of method and dialogue (part 1), research and partnerships (part 2) and operations (part 3).

RESEARCH (Principle 4)

11. Contributing to global discussions: Glasgow Caledonian University researchers provided new evidence on the risks of food contaminants that could cause cancer to the joint UN Food and Agriculture Organisation / World Health Organisation Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA). The UN is very concerned about these chemicals and wants to know how potent they are as cancer agents and the levels at which they are likely to cause an ill effect.

12. Conducting collaborative, international research: Aarhus University in Denmark worked on a project in collaboration with partner organisations in France, Italy, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Norway, and affiliated, academic partner organisations such as the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University, USA, and the Sensory and Consumer Science group at the Universidad de la Republica, Uruguay. The multi-disciplinary and inter-sectoral project called ‘Bringing down barriers to children’s healthy eating’ aims to train a new generation of innovative and adaptable researchers, with highly specialised skills across complementary fields studying children’s food choice.

13. Conducting collaborative, regional research: The aim of the ‘Food Chains 4 Europe’ project at the Manchester Metropolitan University Business School in the UK is to improve the implementation of regional policies that stimulate the delivery of innovation to create sustainable food chains in five participating regions: Flevoland (NL), Plovdiv/ Sofia (BG), Emilia-Romagna (IT), Maramures (RO) and Greater Manchester (UK). The project takes the form of a series of Peer Reviews, leading to recommendations for improvement, and the development of Action Plans to implement change regionally.

14. Supporting long-term research projects: Porto Business School researchers have been conducting long-term research on the efficiency of health systems and the management of healthcare services. Issues such as capacity building (especially overcapacity as a response to demand uncertainty) and human resource planning have been the focus of the research agenda on this topic. The aim is to provide insight into ways of planning the use of resources and managing the services that may be more cost efficient.

15. Focusing on issues closer to home: Researchers at University of Liverpool Management School are currently working on a Heseltine Institute funded project ‘Hungry for Change: Working together to tackle food poverty in Liverpool and Stoke-on-Trent’. The study has involved community groups and social enterprises (Can Cook, Squash Nutrition, Imagine If, Unite Community) in both cities to facilitate knowledge sharing across groups.

16. Exploring food from different perspectives: University of Auckland Business School in New Zealand has research focused on food security, in particular in relation to indigenous people who see food as a sacred gift. The university is developing a research programme on food and health and explores issues of food security in Aotearoa, particularly for Māori, and in relation to Tribal First Nations of the United States and Aboriginal communities of Australia.The requirements and preferences of Indigenous peoples, their contribution to and conceptualisation of food production and security are often overlooked in scholarly literature and policymaking.

17. Exploring new possible solutions: Researchers at Kristianstad University in Sweden released a report, State of the Art Report Insects as Food and Feed, which looks at the possibility of using insects as food given their lower ecological footprint.

PARTNERSHIPS (Principle 5)

18. Supporting change: The University of Warsaw in Poland is involved in the “EIT Food: Trust Tracker” project, an evidence based questionnaire which has been developed to measure consumer trust in the food industry. Research has shown that consumers do not understand or trust the food industry. Other Universities involved included in this research include KU Leuven, University of Reading, Aarhus University

19. Partnering with local organisations: The Peter J. Tobin College of Business in the US is working with the Foodbank in New York City. It become the first university in the country to offer a virtual VITA site that allows accounting and tax students to download client information that had previously been uploaded from various Foodbank sites throughout New York City. Students prepare client tax returns electronically and discuss tax issues with clients telephonically.

20. Supporting local champions: The University of Exeter Business School in the UK has partnered with the South West partnership for Environment and Economic Prosperity (SWEEP) to give farmers in North Devon the opportunity to shape and design an agri-environmental scheme which could pay for ecosystem services. This is particularly timely with Brexit and potential changes being made to the basic payment scheme farmers receive annually. The project involves establishing working groups of farmers in North Devon to discuss and create potential agri- environmental schemes which will be shared with policy makers and other interested stakeholders.

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