Rathbone Greenbank Investments and the Food Foundation

The mission of the Food Foundation is to change food policy and business practice to ensure everyone can afford and access a healthy diet. Greenbank has been collaborating with the Food Foundation (and, before that, the Food Climate Research Network) since 2019.

In October 2020, we were pleased to contribute to both a Food Foundation report and its launch event, Plating Up Progress 2020: Pathways for a healthy, just and sustainable food system during a global pandemic.

The report is an output from Plating Up Progress (PUP), a Food Foundation project.  The project aims to forge a consensus on metrics and reporting mechanisms that allow assessment of food industry progress in transitioning to sustainable and healthy diets alongside engaging stakeholders to advance the uptake of these metrics and track progress in the industry.

This report is intended for investors, food businesses and policy makers and maps the current commitments, targets and performance reporting of 11 major UK supermarkets and 15 major UK-operating caterers, quick service and casual dining restaurant chains. Assessment is through 10 major topics, including encouraging healthy diets, climate change and biodiversity.

In the report, Perry Rudd (Greenbank’s head of ethical, sustainable and impact research) explained how we use the PUP’s company scorecards to provide a more complete and accessible picture of the companies we have under scrutiny, as well as others we may wish to engage with as part of collaborative projects.

At the report’s launch event, Sophie Lawrence (senior ethical, sustainable and impact researcher) contributed to the debate around the need for government policy to facilitate change, alongside the need for companies to set clear targets and improve reporting.

The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted food businesses to varying degrees, with supermarkets reporting positive financial results in 2020, but the hospitality sector seeing revenues slashed due to lockdown restrictions. The Food Foundation is keen to accelerate progress towards a more just and sustainable food system for all and to ensure that an economic recovery from Covid-19 does not come at the expense of an acceleration of this transition.