By Angela Green, Content Executive, H&C News: Future Food Movement creates UK’s food & climate Youth Advisory Board.
The Future Food Movement, a pioneering climate-first industry network on a mission to accelerate climate action in the food industry from observation to meaningful action, has partnered with VotesforSchools to co-create an innovative food and climate focused Youth Advisory Board.
The FFM Youth Advisory Board is the first of its kind in the UK that focuses specifically on the food industry’s impact on the planet.
It will give a megaphone to young people in Generation Z and Alpha to speak directly to senior leaders of the UK’s biggest and most influential food businesses and enable them to voice their thoughts and challenges about the future of the food industry.
The food industry is the second largest carbon emitting sector and consequently has the opportunity to play a huge part in solving the climate crisis.
The FFM Youth Advisory Board is made up of 17 young people aged between 13-18 who have been specifically recruited by VotesForSchools. The board will meet monthly to discuss relevant issues and each term will meet directly with senior leaders from the food and drink industry to voice their concerns, ideas, and challenges.
Kate Cawley, founder of the Future Food Movement said: “There is a great deal of climate anxiety with the younger generation so it’s our responsibility to actively listen to their concerns and act on them. Learning what young people think and feel about our food system and the role of businesses today is an area that is currently lacking informed input from younger generations.”
Monthly insights from the meetings will be shared with FFM business members which will provide unique viewpoints on climate issues affecting young people.
Sean, 17 from the FFM Youth Advisory Board said: “We’re seeing the impacts of climate change now, but we will see it get worse. It’ll be our generation who will have to live through the consequences. If everyone’s opinion and everyone’s outlook on the world is taken into account now, we can try to help limit the change that is happening.”
The Future Food Movement recognises that the whole food industry needs to play its part and make climate action a key performance metric for the 2 million people who work in it. In order to do this successfully, the sector needs to overcome a massive climate skills gap which is evident at all levels, from boardroom to shop floor.
The opportunity to have direct conversations with young people about the food industry’s role in the climate emergency is incredibly valuable to businesses. Two of the biggest food and drink businesses in the UK, and FFM business members, Moy Park and Quorn Foods will be taking part in the initial Youth Advisory Board sessions.
Chris Kirke, President at Moy Park, a business member of Future Food Movement said: “It’s so important to connect with young people, to give them a platform to speak about the climate-related issues that affect them now and in the future – and importantly – for us to listen. Connecting with this generation gives us an incredible opportunity to listen to new perspectives, ideas and challenges, but also to engage and attract this talent of the future into the food industry to help us address these issues in the longer-term.”
Tess Kelly, Head of External Engagement at Quorn Foods, business member of Future Food Movement said: “There is clearly a huge disconnect between generations on issues around the climate. We think it’s critical to listen to young voices and take them into account as we try to solve the challenges we face. We’re excited that the Youth Advisory Board is giving young people a ’seat at the table’ and we look forward to hearing their ideas on the future of the food industry and the implications for our business.”
VotesforSchools launched in 2016 with the intention of working to reduce voter apathy and promote the youth voice. It provides over 800 schools and colleges with weekly resources to facilitate informed, considered and respectful classroom discussions on pressing topical issues.
Kate Harris, CEO & co-founder of VotesforSchools said: “Children and young people are incredibly passionate about the environment and have a huge amount of insight and opinion to offer the food industry to help make it fit for the future. The Future Food Movement has an essential role in upskilling everyone in how the climate will affect the food system and inspire businesses to develop strategies to mitigate global warming. Tapping into the youth voice is incredibly important in this journey so we’re looking forward to sharing their opinions with business leaders.”
The Youth Advisory Board will be an active and engaged member of the Future Food Movement, growing and engaging with the community and encouraging food business leaders to review their ongoing climate strategies.
Kate Cawley adds: “It’s key to nurture tomorrow’s workforce and demonstrate the climate job opportunities that the food industry offers. If you care about the climate and society, there is no greater sector for impact than the food system.”
More information on the Future Food Movement and their Youth Advisory Board is available here.