This year’s Investor Day marked our 25th annual event. We are proud to have reached this milestone, only possible with the support of our growing investor base and the ongoing commitment of our expanding team.
The topic for this year was how to build a healthier food system, with a particular emphasis on the UK. This is closely aligned to our ‘Health and Wellbeing’ theme, one of eight sustainable development themes which drive our investment and engagement activity.
Soaring food prices are currently in the spotlight as a result of the inﬂation caused by the residual eﬀects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the increase in energy costs stemming from the Russia-Ukraine conﬂict. This war, in one of the world’s major food producing countries, has had a dramatic impact on supply, most notably of wheat, corn and sunﬂower oil, leading to global food shortages as well as increased costs.
In the UK the government’s recent response to the recommendations of the National Food Strategy has broadened the debate, reﬂecting on the health impacts of a broken food system. It is sobering to note that £18 billion a year is spent by the government treating obesity-related conditions linked to excess weight alone, representing 8% of all health expenditure.
There is a business angle too, as the food sector is a major part of our economy. If we take the manufacturing component of food and drink alone, this contributes more to the UK economy than all other manufacturing sectors and represents about 5% of our GDP.
"We simply cannot aﬀord to fail at building a healthy food system - the cost of inaction is too great for business, the wider economy and society as a whole."
Fortunately, the investor voice can be a powerful means to inﬂuence and direct the actions of companies and institutions. Rathbone Greenbank (Greenbank) aims to engage with both, and act as a catalyst for change. For example, we recently led the creation of the Investor Coalition on UK Food Policy. This coalition of investors, representing over £6 trillion in assets under management, is calling on the UK government to introduce consistent and mandatory reporting of health and sustainability metrics by food sector companies.
We will keep our investors informed of our progress as we endeavour to help shape a more sustainable food system.
Read the full review of our Investor Day 2022.