Comparing the environmental cost of foods: Nutritional LCAs

Environmental cost of foods

Comparing the environmental cost of foods: Nutritional LCAs

The environmental impact of a food, be that carbon footprint, water use, land use or some other factor, can be estimated by life cycle analysis (LCA). With the environmental impact of food an increasingly important consideration for many consumers, industry and policymakers, the FAO have recently published a report on the challenges and opportunities of nutritional LCAs – those that attempt to capture the nutritional value of food alongside its environmental impact.

LCAs are strongest when used to identify hotspots or areas for improvement within the supply chain for a single item. They can be used to answer industry questions like: where should we act first to lower the footprint of our product? They can also be used in comparisons between two otherwise identical products for consumers: which one should I buy? However, challenges arise when LCAs are used to compare the impacts of very different products.

Take Energy Rating labels on electrical appliances as an example. Analogous to LCAs, these are an indication of the relative energy usage of a particular model compared with other appliances of the same type. These are useful for comparing two refrigerators, but do not really help when comparing refrigerators with freezers. They are even less useful when comparing a refrigerator with a washing machine: the appliances have completely different functions, and a purchaser would be unlikely to use them to choose which of the two to take home.

Even within the category of refrigerators, ratings become less relevant when comparing different size models, as they provide a different level of service. Without considering the service or benefit provided by the product we do not have a fair basis on which to compare the footprint or cost of providing that service.

Energy rating labels
Energy Rating labels on electrical appliances are only useful when comparing appliances of the same type.

The same problem exists when comparing foods. When we look at the footprint of food products and start making comparisons, we need to be clear on the service or benefit being provided by the products to ensure we are making a valid comparison. However, the service provided by a food item depends on the purpose for which it is consumed.

Food is consumed for a variety of reasons: as a source of nutrition, for sensory experience or pleasure, or for social and cultural purposes. Accounting for these different purposes is not straightforward. For example, from a nutritional perspective, alcoholic beverages provide very little benefit, but many consumers may still place high value on their sensory or social purposes.

The FAO report focuses on nutrition, rather than the other services provided by food, and looks at how nutritional information can be combined with environmental impact data.

One approach is to try and bring together the “benefit” and “cost” into a single analysis: the development of a nutritional LCA (nLCA), a life cycle analysis that includes nutrition.

There are two different methods by which this can be done:

  • As part of the definition of the functional unit (e.g., land use per 100 kcal)
  • As part of the human impact assessment, what is often thought of as the cost side of the analysis (e.g., likely impact on human health)

Neither of these approaches is easy.

Shifting functional units

Often, an LCA uses mass as the functional unit. For example, if considering the water use needed to grow rice, an LCA might report results as “litres of water used per kg of rice”. In this case, the functional unit is “1 kg of rice”.

Putting nutrition into the functional unit moves away from just using mass. In the simplest form, this may be evaluating a set of foods based on the amount of a particular nutrient they contain. Protein is often used for this purpose. Our rice example would then change to “litres of water used per kg protein in rice”.

However, protein is not a single nutrient needed by the body, but rather a collection of amino acids, which are the essential nutrients. Not all proteins are created equal, having both different concentrations of these amino acids and varying in their digestibility. Rice protein is therefore different to soy protein, for example. Thus, comparing water use per kg protein does not capture this information. Sophisticated methods that include protein quality exist, but are challenging and rarely used.

Nutritional LCA's

Most food items provide more than one nutrient, and we need a broad range of nutrients to remain healthy. The DELTA Model® estimates the ability of the global food system to supply a basket of 29 nutrients, and would include more given suitable data. Evaluating a food item based on only one target nutrient misses this complexity.

An alternative to selection of a single nutrient as the functional unit is to use a basket of nutrients to create some form of nutrient reference score. The intention of this score would be to provide a more “balanced” view of the nutrition provided by foods. However, what nutrients should make up this score? Do they all have equal weighting? Or are some more important than others? And how does this relate to the needs of an individual? The scientific literature contains many different suggestions, each with their strengths and weaknesses. Each is at risk of introducing some form of bias into the assessment.

Another important consideration is portion size. Once we move away from a functional unit based on mass, we lose some of the context around the amount of food that needs to be consumed to deliver a particular nutrient or group of nutrients, and how that relates to the size of a normal serving. Functional units “per serving” have also been explored, but face the same problems as mass based units.

Bringing human health into the assessment

The alternative approach is to leave the functional unit as the mass of the food item and build the nutritional assessment into the impact side of the LCA. This requires having data on the expected impact of consuming a food for human nutrition or health. The main approach that has been considered to date uses epidemiological data on diets, health, and mortality. This is usually of the kind captured in the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study, which calculates statistical links between consumption of food groups and expected lifespan or quality of life.

Unfortunately, this data is limited to comparatively coarse effects. The GBD study reports statistical measures for 15 health aspects related to diet and 3 related to nutrient deficiency. The statistical associations are the result of a complex analysis that attempts to isolate the impact of individual food factors on overall outcomes. Changes in assumptions used in the analysis between the 2017 and 2019 data sets resulted in significant changes in the apparent impact of several food groups. These have been highlighted in a recent letter to The Lancet, and would have a major effect on any nLCA employing this data.

In general, the benefits of consumption of food or nutrients follow a curve. Initially there is a positive impact on health, with increasing consumption providing nutrients essential to bodily functions and growth. This benefit is reduced once daily requirements are met, and, if consumption continues to increase, may eventually have negative health outcomes.

This is illustrated with the energy content of diets: eating insufficient calories leads to wasting, but eating too many leads to obesity and a range of related health conditions, and just how much is too few or too many depends upon the need of the individual. Sodium is another example: a diet deficient in sodium can have serious health consequences. However, many diets contain a considerable excess of sodium, carrying health risks for many individuals.

Putting food and nutrients in context

Food items are consumed as part of meals and diets, and it is at this level that we need to apply considerations of nutritional sufficiency. The relative nutritional benefit of consuming a food item varies based on the dietary context of the individual. For example, the protein or amino acid content of a food item may be of limited value in a diet that is otherwise oversupplied with this nutrient, but of immense value in a diet that is deficient.

Within the DELTA Model we have implemented a simple nutrient contribution measure for food items. This is based on the sum of the relative contribution the food item makes to each of the nutrients captured in the model. As such, it gives a higher weighting to nutrients that have low global availability and a lower weighting to nutrients that are abundant.

For example, the default 2018 DELTA Model scenario has a 34% deficiency for calcium against global requirements (achieving 66% of target), whereas phosphorous has a 150% excess (250% of target). Thus, a food that provides 33% of the daily target for calcium gets a score of 0.5, whereas 33% of the daily target of potassium scores only 0.13 – approximately ¼ the importance. A similar approach has recently been published for the individual dietary context.

The right use of nLCA

The challenges described above stem from trying to compare refrigerators with washing machines, and lead us to the fact that nutrition does not easily collapse into a single score.

The scope of comparisons, or the grouping of foods into groups becomes important. If food items are grouped with others that provide or purport to provide similar nutritional benefits, we can make more realistic comparisons that better reflect the real choices facing us.

As an example, we might compare the nutritional LCA of milk with that of a plant beverage and use a nutritional functional unit that reflects the role of these items within the overall diet. Milk products make a significant contribution to the global supply of calcium, phosphorous, and potassium, six indispensable amino acids, dietary fat, overall protein, and vitamins A, B2, B5, and B12. A nutritional functional unit could be designed that reflects this nutritional value to enable us to compare milks and milk-alternatives when consumed as a source of nutrients. However, this same approach would not necessarily be appropriate if the purpose of the product was simply to whiten a cup of coffee. The intended service or benefit of foods must be understood when deciding how to compare costs.

Whilst the concept of a universal nutritional LCA that provides all the information necessary to support a wide range of decisions is attractive in its apparent simplicity, the reality is that nutrition and environmental impacts are too complex, and too important, to be reduced to a single number.

Photo by Victoriano Izquierdo on Unsplash; vector graphics from freesvg.org



Professor Warren McNabb
Warren McNabb is a Professor of Nutritional Science at the Riddet Institute; one of New Zealand’s Centres of Research Excellence (CoRE), hosted by Massey University. He leads SNi® and his research interests include digestive physiology and metabolism, nutrition for health, and sustainable nutrition.
Project Leader | W.McNabb@massey.ac.nz
Professor Warren McNabb
Warren McNabb is a Professor of Nutritional Science at the Riddet Institute; one of New Zealand’s Centres of Research Excellence (CoRE), hosted by Massey University. He leads SNi® and his research interests include digestive physiology and metabolism, nutrition for health, and sustainable nutrition.
Project Leader | W.McNabb@massey.ac.nz
Dr Nick Smith
Nick works as a mathematical modeller on the Riddet Institute SNi®. He is responsible for a wide range of SNi's work and the continued development of the SNi models like the DELTA Model®. This is a tool for investigating how global food production meets global nutritional requirements as part of a sustainable food system.
Research Officer
Dr Nick Smith
Nick works as a mathematical modeller on the Riddet Institute SNi®. He is responsible for a wide range of SNi's work and the continued development of the SNi models like the DELTA Model®. This is a tool for investigating how global food production meets global nutritional requirements as part of a sustainable food system.
Research Officer
Dr Andrew Fletcher
Andrew is a Chemical Engineer with a PhD in process control and modelling. Andrew is a Honorary Fellow at the Riddet Institute and has been involved with SNi® since the outset. He is based at the Fonterra Research and Development Centre in Palmerston North and is involved in a range of research, management and strategy roles.
Honorary Fellow
Dr Andrew Fletcher
Andrew is a Chemical Engineer with a PhD in process control and modelling. Andrew is a Honorary Fellow at the Riddet Institute and has been involved with SNi® since the outset. He is based at the Fonterra Research and Development Centre in Palmerston North and is involved in a range of research, management and strategy roles.
Honorary Fellow
Professor Jeremy Hill
Professor Jeremy Hill has played a major role in developing SNi®. He has also been involved in developing strategic partnerships between Fonterra and the Riddet Institute. For example, the establishment of three Professorial Chairs in Food Material Science, Nutrition, and Consumer and Sensory Science. Jeremy is the Chief Science and Technology Officer at Fonterra.
Adjunct Professor
Professor Jeremy Hill
Professor Jeremy Hill has played a major role in developing SNi®. He has also been involved in developing strategic partnerships between Fonterra and the Riddet Institute. For example, the establishment of three Professorial Chairs in Food Material Science, Nutrition, and Consumer and Sensory Science. Jeremy is the Chief Science and Technology Officer at Fonterra.
Adjunct Professor
Dr Mahya Tavan
Mahya is a postdoctoral research fellow working on the development of the iOTA model. iOTA is a dietary optimisation tool for designing sustainable diets that are nutritious, acceptable and affordable. Prior to joining SNi®, Mahya held a research role at the University of Melbourne, Australia where she carried out various research projects on sustainable food production, resource use efficiency and biofortification of fresh food.
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Dr Mahya Tavan
Mahya is a postdoctoral research fellow working on the development of the iOTA model. iOTA is a dietary optimisation tool for designing sustainable diets that are nutritious, acceptable and affordable. Prior to joining SNi®, Mahya held a research role at the University of Melbourne, Australia where she carried out various research projects on sustainable food production, resource use efficiency and biofortification of fresh food.
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Raquel Lozano
Raquel is a postdoctoral research fellow creating models for national food systems. Her PhD research focused on helping design horticultural packaging systems to minimise the environmental impact. Raquel was awarded the International Society of Horticultural Sciences Young Minds Award in 2023, and is keen to use mathematical modelling to provide holistic information to decision-makers in the area of sustainable nutrition.
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Raquel Lozano
Raquel is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow creating models for national food systems. Her PhD research focused on helping design horticultural packaging systems to minimise the environmental impact. Raquel was awarded the International Society of Horticultural Sciences Young Minds Award in 2023, and is keen to use mathematical modelling to provide holistic information to decision-makers in the area of sustainable nutrition.
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Patricia Soh
Prior to her current PhD, Patricia attained a Master of Science in Human Nutrition at Massey University, Albany. The current focus of her PhD is investigating nutritional concerns within vegan diets.
PhD Student
Patricia Soh
Prior to her current PhD, Patricia attained a Master of Science in Human Nutrition at Massey University, Albany. The current focus of her PhD is investigating nutritional concerns within vegan diets.
PhD Student
Ejovi Abafe
Prior to his current PhD, Ejovi obtained a Master’s and a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of South Africa (UNISA) and Delta State University, Nigeria. The current focus of his PhD at the Riddet Institute is Global land use for the delivery of nutrition.
PhD Student
Ejovi Abafe
Prior to his current PhD, Ejovi obtained a Master’s and a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of South Africa (UNISA) and Delta State University, Nigeria. The current focus of his PhD at the Riddet Institute is Global land use for the delivery of nutrition.
PhD Student
Justine Coomson
Prior to her current PhD, Justine obtained a Masters degree in Population, Family and Reproductive Health and a Bachelor's degree in Dietetics from the University of Ghana. Justine has worked as a research assistant and a clinical dietician in Ghana before coming to New Zealand. The current focus on her PhD is the impact of biofortification and supplementation to diets.
PhD Student
Justine Coomson
Prior to her current PhD, Justine obtained a Masters degree in Population, Family and Reproductive Health and a Bachelor's degree in Dietetics from the University of Ghana. Justine has worked as a research assistant and a clinical dietician in Ghana before coming to New Zealand. The current focus on her PhD is the impact of biofortification and supplementation to diets.
PhD Student
Hannah Ramsay
Hannah is the Project Manager for SNi®. She started her career in the Riddet Institute when she first came to New Zealand and has since done project and event work across various educational institutes. The opportunity to return to Project Management at the Riddet Institute was very welcome, especially given the fascinating research and mahi conducted as part of SNi®.
Project Manager | H.Ramsay@massey.ac.nz
Hannah Ramsay
Hannah is the Project Manager for SNi®. She started her career in the Riddet Institute when she first came to New Zealand and has since done project and event work across various educational institutes. The opportunity to return to Project Management at the Riddet Institute was very welcome, especially given the fascinating research and mahi conducted as part of SNi®.
Project Manager | H.Ramsay@massey.ac.nz
Amelia Barker
Amelia is a Communications Officer at the Riddet Institute. She has many years experience in digital media communications at various organisations. Amelia is passionate about research and enjoys promoting the fantastic mahi (work) that SNi® does.
Communications Officer
Amelia Barker
Amelia is a Communications Officer at the Riddet Institute. She has many years experience in digital media communications at various organisations. Amelia is passionate about research and enjoys promoting the fantastic mahi (work) that SNi® does.
Communications Officer
Rangimarie Hunia
Rangimarie Hunia was appointed an alternate director of Te Ohu Kaimoana at the beginning of 2015 before being appointed a full director in November 2015, and Chair in July 2019. The first wahine (woman) Chair in the history of Te Ohu Kaimoana. In 2017, she was appointed a Chair of Te Pūtea Whakatupu Trust. In 2016, she was appointed Chief Executive of Ngāti Whātua Ōrakei Whai Maia. Whai Maia is responsible for the well-being of its 5,000 tribal members and focuses on education, health, employment and environmental areas. She played an active role as a member of the Iwi Working Group that was established to facilitate understanding and iwi decision making in response to the 11-year Review of Māori Fisheries Settlement entities. Rangimarie is also a member of Global Women and was a finalist in the Westpac Women of Influence Awards 2014.
Ngāti Whātua Chair of the SNi® International Advisory Group Chief Executive of Ngāti Whātua Ōrakei Whai Maia
Rangimarie Hunia
Rangimarie Hunia was appointed an alternate director of Te Ohu Kaimoana at the beginning of 2015 before being appointed a full director in November 2015, and Chair in July 2019. The first wahine (woman) Chair in the history of Te Ohu Kaimoana. In 2017, she was appointed a Chair of Te Pūtea Whakatupu Trust. In 2016, she was appointed Chief Executive of Ngāti Whātua Ōrakei Whai Maia. Whai Maia is responsible for the well-being of its 5,000 tribal members and focuses on education, health, employment and environmental areas. She played an active role as a member of the Iwi Working Group that was established to facilitate understanding and iwi decision making in response to the 11-year Review of Māori Fisheries Settlement entities. Rangimarie is also a member of Global Women and was a finalist in the Westpac Women of Influence Awards 2014.
Ngāti Whātua Chair of SNi® International Advisory Group Chief Executive of Ngāti Whātua Ōrakei Whai Maia
Jeroen Dijkman
Dr. Jeroen Dijkman is the founding head of the Nestlé Institute of Agricultural Sciences at Nestlé Research. The Institute aims to translate novel agricultural science into concrete applications and to identify and develop the most promising regenerative agriculture technologies. Headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland, the organization has a decentralized structure and incorporates Nestlé’s existing plant sciences research facilities in France, as well as numerous research and reference farms around the world. The Institute has three focus areas: plant sciences, dairy-livestock sciences and agricultural system sciences. Jeroen has worked for over 30 years, in all major regions of the world, with bi- and multi-lateral donors, i-NGOs, international and national research centres, the World Bank, UN agencies and the private sector on finding ways to use research and innovation to transition agri-food systems towards more productive but also more sustainable and socially inclusive pathways. In his last two assignments prior to taking up his current position, Jeroen combined the roles of Director (International) of the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre and the Senior Technical Adviser of the UN Environment, Climate and Clean Air Coalition agriculture initiative. Subsequently, he was the Managing Director of the Animal Sciences Group, Wageningen University and Research. The Animal Sciences Group consists of the Department of Animal Sciences of Wageningen University and three Wageningen Research institutes: Wageningen Bio-veterinary Research, Wageningen Livestock Research and Wageningen Marine Research.
Head of Nestlé Institute of Agricultural Sciences
Jeroen Dijkman
Dr. Jeroen Dijkman is the founding head of the Nestlé Institute of Agricultural Sciences at Nestlé Research. The Institute aims to translate novel agricultural science into concrete applications and to identify and develop the most promising regenerative agriculture technologies. Headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland, the organization has a decentralized structure and incorporates Nestlé’s existing plant sciences research facilities in France, as well as numerous research and reference farms around the world. The Institute has three focus areas: plant sciences, dairy-livestock sciences and agricultural system sciences. Jeroen has worked for over 30 years, in all major regions of the world, with bi- and multi-lateral donors, i-NGOs, international and national research centres, the World Bank, UN agencies and the private sector on finding ways to use research and innovation to transition agri-food systems towards more productive but also more sustainable and socially inclusive pathways. In his last two assignments prior to taking up his current position, Jeroen combined the roles of Director (International) of the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre and the Senior Technical Adviser of the UN Environment, Climate and Clean Air Coalition agriculture initiative. Subsequently, he was the Managing Director of the Animal Sciences Group, Wageningen University and Research. The Animal Sciences Group consists of the Department of Animal Sciences of Wageningen University and three Wageningen Research institutes: Wageningen Bio-veterinary Research, Wageningen Livestock Research and Wageningen Marine Research.
Head of Nestlé Institute of Agricultural Sciences
Berry Marttin
Berry Marttin was born and raised in Brazil. Over the course of his career at Rabobank, he has gained extensive experience as an international banker in both wholesale and retail banking, working in various senior executive positions in Australia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Curacao and Brazil. Mr Marttin moved to the Netherlands in 2004 to become Chairman of the Board of Directors of Rabobank Amsterdam. In 2009, he joined the Managing Board with special focus on Rabobank’s international Wholesale and Rural banking activities and further responsibilities including Leasing (DLL), Rabo Carbon Bank and RaboResearch. His principal other activities outside Rabobank include serving as President of the EACB (European Association of Co-operative Banks) and Member of the Board of Neumann Foundation. Moreover, Mr Marttin serves as the first Chairman of the Global Steering Committee of the Food Action Alliance, where World Economic Forum together with IFAD, WBCSD, CIAT, AfDB and Rabobank and over 20 global leaders unite to deploy large scale action through game changing initiatives for food systems transformation. In 2021, he was invited to join the UN Food Systems Summit Champions network, a network encompassing leadership from a broad range of constituencies, in all parts of the world, who are championing food systems and food systems transformation.
Member of the Managing Board Rabobank Group
Berry Marttin
Berry Marttin was born and raised in Brazil. Over the course of his career at Rabobank, he has gained extensive experience as an international banker in both wholesale and retail banking, working in various senior executive positions in Australia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Curacao and Brazil. Mr Marttin moved to the Netherlands in 2004 to become Chairman of the Board of Directors of Rabobank Amsterdam. In 2009, he joined the Managing Board with special focus on Rabobank’s international Wholesale and Rural banking activities and further responsibilities including Leasing (DLL), Rabo Carbon Bank and RaboResearch. His principal other activities outside Rabobank include serving as President of the EACB (European Association of Co-operative Banks) and Member of the Board of Neumann Foundation. Moreover, Mr Marttin serves as the first Chairman of the Global Steering Committee of the Food Action Alliance, where World Economic Forum together with IFAD, WBCSD, CIAT, AfDB and Rabobank and over 20 global leaders unite to deploy large scale action through game changing initiatives for food systems transformation. In 2021, he was invited to join the UN Food Systems Summit Champions network, a network encompassing leadership from a broad range of constituencies, in all parts of the world, who are championing food systems and food systems transformation.
Member of the Managing Board Rabobank Group
Dr Jason Clay
Jason Clay is the Senior Vice President for Markets and Executive Director of the Markets Institute at WWF, which was created to identify and address emerging global issues, trends, and tools impacting conservation in more timely, cost-effective, and scalable ways. His career has ranged from working on a family farm and for the US Department of Agriculture. He taught at Harvard and Yale and spent more than 35 years with human rights and environmental NGOs. In 1988, Clay founded Rainforest Marketing, set up a trading company within an NGO, helped Indigenous people and local communities access global markets, and launched Ben & Jerry’s Rainforest Crunch, plus more than 200 other products with sales of $100 million. From 1999 to 2003, he co-directed a WWF, the World Bank, UN FAO, and NACA consortium to identify the most significant environmental and social impacts of shrimp aquaculture, as well as practices to reduce them. From 2004 to 2012, he convened multistakeholder roundtables to create performance-based standards for commodities including salmon, soy, sugarcane, cotton, and beef. He developed WWF’s Market Transformation program in 2006 to work on agriculture, aquaculture, livestock, and corporate engagement. Clay continues to lead WWF-US efforts to improve private sector supply chain management and help their producers address the most significant impacts. In 2008, he created the Carbon and Commodities program to address supply chain GHG emissions. He has helped whole sectors improve their sustainability performance (e.g., the Global Salmon Initiative). He is now working with the global leather industry to support a DCF leather fund and is testing support for a 1% environmental performance payments to support the transition costs and incentives to finance what producers need to do to become legal and deforestation and conversion free. He is launching a two-year proof of concept for Codex Planetarius, a set of minimum global standards to reduce the key impacts of food and commodities traded internationally. Clay has authored 18 books and 500 articles, and has given more than 1,500 invited presentations. He studied anthropology and agriculture at Harvard, the London School of Economics, and Cornell (PhD).
Senior Vice President, Markets at World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
Dr Jason Clay
Jason Clay is the Senior Vice President for Markets and Executive Director of the Markets Institute at WWF, which was created to identify and address emerging global issues, trends, and tools impacting conservation in more timely, cost-effective, and scalable ways. His career has ranged from working on a family farm and for the US Department of Agriculture. He taught at Harvard and Yale and spent more than 35 years with human rights and environmental NGOs. In 1988, Clay founded Rainforest Marketing, set up a trading company within an NGO, helped Indigenous people and local communities access global markets, and launched Ben & Jerry’s Rainforest Crunch, plus more than 200 other products with sales of $100 million. From 1999 to 2003, he co-directed a WWF, the World Bank, UN FAO, and NACA consortium to identify the most significant environmental and social impacts of shrimp aquaculture, as well as practices to reduce them. From 2004 to 2012, he convened multistakeholder roundtables to create performance-based standards for commodities including salmon, soy, sugarcane, cotton, and beef. He developed WWF’s Market Transformation program in 2006 to work on agriculture, aquaculture, livestock, and corporate engagement. Clay continues to lead WWF-US efforts to improve private sector supply chain management and help their producers address the most significant impacts. In 2008, he created the Carbon and Commodities program to address supply chain GHG emissions. He has helped whole sectors improve their sustainability performance (e.g., the Global Salmon Initiative). He is now working with the global leather industry to support a DCF leather fund and is testing support for a 1% environmental performance payments to support the transition costs and incentives to finance what producers need to do to become legal and deforestation and conversion free. He is launching a two-year proof of concept for Codex Planetarius, a set of minimum global standards to reduce the key impacts of food and commodities traded internationally. Clay has authored 18 books and 500 articles, and has given more than 1,500 invited presentations. He studied anthropology and agriculture at Harvard, the London School of Economics, and Cornell (PhD).
Senior Vice President, Markets at World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
Professor Manny Noakes
Professor Manny Noakes has a PhD in nutrition as well as having trained as a dietitian in her earlier years. She is more recently a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Prof Noakes is a former Director and Senior Principal Research Scientist, Nutrition and Health at CSIRO, Australia. She currently runs her own nutrition consultancy and is also a non-executive Director for Meat and Livestock Australia. She is considered a key opinion leader and advisor in nutrition and health, has extensive media and public speaking experience. She has over 25 years’ experience in many fields of nutrition and health, and has undertaken numerous clinical dietary intervention trials in weight management, functional foods and cardiovascular health. She has also undertaken research on diet and sustainability and redefined the environmental agenda from a food and health perspective. Prof Noakes has authored more than 200 peer-reviewed publications which have been cited more than 9000 times and has an H index of 52. She was instrumental in the development and release of five editions of the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet, which was launched in 2004 and has been translated into 17 languages and sold over one million copies in Australia. The Total Wellbeing Diet has been further commercialised to a successful online programme. Prof Noakes is the recipient of three CSIRO Medals, is a Distinguished Alumni of Flinders University, holds a research excellence award from the University of Adelaide and is a recipient of the Zonta Club Woman of International Achievement award.
Nutrition Consultant
Professor Manny Noakes
Professor Manny Noakes has a PhD in nutrition as well as having trained as a dietitian in her earlier years. She is more recently a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Prof Noakes is a former Director and Senior Principal Research Scientist, Nutrition and Health at CSIRO, Australia. She currently runs her own nutrition consultancy and is also a non-executive Director for Meat and Livestock Australia. She is considered a key opinion leader and advisor in nutrition and health, has extensive media and public speaking experience. She has over 25 years’ experience in many fields of nutrition and health, and has undertaken numerous clinical dietary intervention trials in weight management, functional foods and cardiovascular health. She has also undertaken research on diet and sustainability and redefined the environmental agenda from a food and health perspective. Prof Noakes has authored more than 200 peer-reviewed publications which have been cited more than 9000 times and has an H index of 52. She was instrumental in the development and release of five editions of the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet, which was launched in 2004 and has been translated into 17 languages and sold over one million copies in Australia. The Total Wellbeing Diet has been further commercialised to a successful online programme. Prof Noakes is the recipient of three CSIRO Medals, is a Distinguished Alumni of Flinders University, holds a research excellence award from the University of Adelaide and is a recipient of the Zonta Club Woman of International Achievement award.
Nutrition Consultant
Lain Jager
Lain Jager is best known for his time with the hugely successful kiwifruit marketer Zespri where he was CEO from 2008 to 2017. During his tenure as CEO, Zespri grew strongly through the impact and recovery from the bacterial vine disease Psa, grower returns doubled, and the share price grew from $1.00 to $8.00. Today, Lain is involved in a range of investment projects in Tourism and Agribusiness, serves as a Director on several Boards, was the Chairman of the Primary Sector Council that produced the Fit for a Better World Report focused on the New Zealand Food and Fibre Sector, and is the Co-Chair of Te Puna Whakaaronui – a Food and Fibre think tank. Lain and his wife Debra live on a lifestyle block in Tauranga, New Zealand.
Chair of the Thought Leaders Group for Te Puna Whakaaronui Food and Fibre Think Tank
Lain Jager
Lain Jager is best known for his time with the hugely successful kiwifruit marketer Zespri where he was CEO from 2008 to 2017. During his tenure as CEO, Zespri grew strongly through the impact and recovery from the bacterial vine disease Psa, grower returns doubled, and the share price grew from $1.00 to $8.00. Today, Lain is involved in a range of investment projects in Tourism and Agribusiness, serves as a Director on several Boards, was the Chairman of the Primary Sector Council that produced the Fit for a Better World Report focused on the New Zealand Food and Fibre Sector, and is the Co-Chair of Te Puna Whakaaronui – a Food and Fibre think tank. Lain and his wife Debra live on a lifestyle block in Tauranga, New Zealand.
Chair of the Thought Leaders Group for Te Puna Whakaaronui Food and Fibre Think Tank
Samuel Thevasagayam
Samuel Thevasagayam is the Director of Livestock and Aquaculture within the Agriculture Development Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he oversees the implementation of foundation’s strategy in animal health, animal production, animal nutrition, animal systems and livestock off-take markets in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Samuel started his career as a small animal clinician and lecturer at the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. He then moved to work in academic research, Pharmaceutical R&D (veterinary and human), Business Development and the not-for profit sector, living/working in four continents before joining the Gates Foundation in 2012. Samuel graduated from the faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences of the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. Gained his PhD in veterinary virology from the University of Hertfordshire for his research on foot-and-mouth disease virus at the Pirbright Institute and holds an MBA from the University of Oxford. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology.
Director of Livestock and Aquaculture within the Agriculture Development Program, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Samuel Thevasagayam
Samuel Thevasagayam is the Director of Livestock and Aquaculture within the Agriculture Development Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he oversees the implementation of foundation’s strategy in animal health, animal production, animal nutrition, animal systems and livestock off-take markets in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Samuel started his career as a small animal clinician and lecturer at the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. He then moved to work in academic research, Pharmaceutical R&D (veterinary and human), Business Development and the not-for profit sector, living/working in four continents before joining the Gates Foundation in 2012. Samuel graduated from the faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences of the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. Gained his PhD in veterinary virology from the University of Hertfordshire for his research on foot-and-mouth disease virus at the Pirbright Institute and holds an MBA from the University of Oxford. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology.
Director of Livestock and Aquaculture within the Agriculture Development Program, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
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