The future food system must provide adequate nutrition to sustainably feed the global population

The future food system must provide adequate nutrition to sustainably feed the global population


The philosophy of the Sustainable Nutrition Initiative (SNI) is to help create a better understanding of the food system and identify opportunities for improvement in order to sustainably feed the global population with the nutrients required. SNI has developed a modelling approach to test various scenarios for a globally sustainable future food system; The DELTA Model. This model is unique because it explores the ability of different food production scenarios to provide the bioavailable nutrients needed to adequately feed the global population. It does not try to provide the answer to the perfect sustainable diet for individuals. Rather, it aims to generate informed discussion about possible scenarios for future food production systems. This is critical, as a thinking failure today will lead to a system failure tomorrow. 

The fundamental principle of the DELTA Model is that for the global food system to be considered sustainable, it must deliver sufficient bioavailable nutrients to meet the nutritional needs of the global population. Having established the scenarios that can deliver this nutrition, it is essential to examine the associated environmental and socioeconomic consequences. Under such scenarios if the consequences are not acceptable, then a particular scenario is invalid and/or the performance of the environmental or socioeconomic outcomes need to be the focus for improvement.  However, a food system that optimises environmental and socioeconomic outcomes but fails to deliver the nutrition required is not sustainable. In this sense nutrition should come first in assessing future food production scenarios.

For the global food system to be considered sustainable it must deliver sufficient nutrients to meet the needs of the global population. 

According to FAO, a sustainable food system is defined as “a food system that delivers food security and nutrition for all in such a way that the economic, social and environmental bases to generate food security and nutrition for future generations are not compromised. This means that:

  • It is profitable throughout (economic sustainability)
  • It has broad-based benefits for society (social sustainability)
  • It has positive or neutral impact on the natural environment (environmental sustainability)”

The beginning of the above definition is that food security and nutrition is met for all. This means that the food system must produce sufficient nutrients to meet global requirements. While it is essential to examine environmental and socioeconomic consequences, individuals should not be forced to starve or have nutrient deficiencies in efforts to protect the environment. There is no point in ensuring nutrition for future generations if the current generation cannot be sufficiently nourished. This is the basis for the initial phases of building the DELTA model. The Model starts with assessing nutritional needs and the ability of various food production systems to deliver to that nutritional need. 

Nutrition refers to supplying sufficient calories, macro-nutrients, micro-nutrients and trace elements

Individuals must consume sufficient calories and macro-nutrients – fat, carbohydrates and protein – to keep healthy. Protein consumed by the body supplies the  indispensable (essential) amino acids, which are the 9 amino acids that cannot be synthesised by the human body. These amino acids are required to manufacture proteins needed for bodily functions, such as building muscle, transporting nutrients and fighting infection. Essential amino acid deficiencies can result in a range of health issues including decreased immunity, digestive problems, lower mental alertness or slowed growth in children. Therefore, it is important to consider bioavailable essential amino acid supply and not simply protein when assessing a global sustainable diet. 

Equally as important to address are micro-nutrients and trace elements; the vitamins and minerals that are vital for human function. These are all too often overlooked to focus on energy, carbohydrates, protein and fat (the macro-nutrients). Micro-nutrient deficiencies, known as ‘hidden hunger’, are common contributors to poor growth, intellectual impairments, perinatal complications and increased risk of morbidity and mortality. Long term consequences occur not only at the individual level but have detrimental impacts on national economic development and human capital. A sustainable diet must deliver sufficient micro-nutrients to meet global requirements.

Many other models and recommendations of a sustainable diet compare nutrient composition against a generic adult recommended daily intake (RDI). However, this is inaccurate because RDIs vary depending on age, gender and a multitude of other factors. For example, according to New Zealand guidelines, females aged 19-50 require 18mg of iron per day due to loss through menstruation, while their male counterparts require only 8mg. Pregnant women require even more, with an RDI of 27mg/day. Since the DELTA Model takes a global view of the world feeding the world, the daily requirement per person per day is a weighted average based on the expected age and gender range of the population. It does not inappropriately apply the adult RDI for all individuals of the population.

Nutrient bioavailability must be considered

It is not enough to compare nutrient composition directly against requirements, the comparison must also take the bioavailability of individual nutrients in foods into account. Bioavailability refers to the proportion of a consumed nutrient that is absorbed into the bloodstream and used for normal body functions. Not all nutrients can be used to the same extent, depending on various internal and external factors. For example, haem iron, found only in meat, is more readily absorbed by the body compared to non-haem iron often found in plant foods. Haem iron also helps with the uptake of non-haem iron. According to Scientific American, only 1.4% of the iron in spinach can be taken into the body, while 20% of iron from red meat can be absorbed. On a composition basis, spinach has a higher iron content than beef; with 2.7mg/100g vs 1.9mg/100g. However once bioavailability is accounted for, to get the same amount of iron as in 100g of beef, 1.04kg of spinach needs to be consumed.

In addition, protein quality is not equal in different foods. Foods differ in their indispensable amino acid composition, and the bioavailability of these amino acids is affected by a range of food factors. Hence, it is not as simple as multiplying protein content by a single bioavailability factor. Digestible Indispensable Amino Acid Score (DIAAS) is a method to measure protein quality. It measures the true ileal digestibility of individual indispensable amino acids. A score of 1 or greater is considered a complete source of protein, while a score of less than 1 indicates the food is limiting in one or more indispensable amino acid. Using DIAAS, the score for wheat is 0.45, for oats 0.67, for peas 0.65, for soy protein isolate 0.84 and for cow’s milk 1.16. It is therefore vital to take protein quality into account, rather than simply comparing protein composition.

Other models and recommendations of a sustainable diet make the over-simplification that all foods are equal in bioavailability. The DELTA Model is an improvement against such models, because it adjusts for bioavailability when comparing nutrient supply against requirements.

The food system must be built from nutrient rich and bioavailable foods

In order to produce sufficient food to meet global requirements within global resource constraints, it is important to start with foods rich in bioavailable nutrients. Foods that deliver high bioavailable quantities of any nutrient in short supply, as part of an overall nutrient-rich profile are essential to ensure food systems will provide adequate nutrition for the global population. For most food production system scenarios that can be tested with the DELTA Model, it is often not the macro-nutrients that limit the provision of adequate nutrition.  Rather, it is the micro-nutrients and trace elements.  The limitations are most common where the greatest variance in bioavailability occurs. Foods rich in bioavailable nutrients are therefore required. For example, the richest and best-absorbed source of calcium is milk products, which is also rich in other nutrients such as high-quality protein and vitamins such as B12. On the other hand, the best sources of other nutrients, for example vitamin C are plants. This is why a balanced food system with nutrient-rich animal and plant foods is important.

Diets cannot work on a global scale if there are insufficient nutrient-rich foods. For example, suggested diets recomended by EAT-Lancet and Greenpeace suggest a reduction in animal products. While such reductions claim to be good for the planet, they do not necessarily guarantee global nourishment, particularly when it comes to micro-nutrients and trace elements like calcium, vitamin B12, zinc, iron and others. Nutritionist Zoe Harcombe found the EAT-Lancet diet is deficient in multiple nutrients, for example the diet provides only 55% of recommended calcium and 88% of the recommended iron. This is consistent with the DELTA Model, which also indicates it is not possible to meet global nutrient requirements with only plant-based sources of nutrition without supplementation and fortification, which may not be a practical or affordable solution on a global scale.

This does not mean the answer to the global food system is an abundance of animal foods. The current food system is plant dominant; in fact 85% of all biomass that leaves the world’s farms is plant-based. The key is that a food system must be optimised with nutrient-rich foods to ensure global nutrient requirements are met. In other words, the food system is, and should be, plant-based and animal optimised.

The options available to feed the world are not the same as options available to feed individuals, particularly those that can afford to, have a lot more choice in their foods and diets. This includes the consumption of fortified plant-based foods and supplements to meet their nutrient requirements. What might work for one individual does not necessarily work on a global level. The SNI has developed the DELTA Model to generate informed discussion about the possibilities of how the world can feed the world, not to dictate an individual’s diet. And for the world to feed the world, nutrient-rich foods are required.

Once we have established how the world can be nourished, other aspects of the food system must be considered

Once possible scenarios of how the world can be nourished are established, practicality of the food system and improvements required to deliver optimal outcomes must be considered. A solution that can nourish the average global citizen may not necessarily be a viable solution. Wider socioeconomic and environmental factors must be evaluated, such as land and its use, greenhouse gas emissions, water availability and quality, social and economic viability, and so forth. Under such scenarios if consequences are not acceptable, then a particular scenario is invalid and/or the performance of the environmental or socioeconomic outcomes need to be the focus for improvement. However, the DELTA Model puts nutrition first when assessing sustainable food production systems. Any food production systems that cannot adequately contribute to nourishing the world will likely be a sub-optimal use of the world’s scarce and valuable resources.


Glossary

Photo by Valeriy Evtushenko on Unsplash



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 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.
Former 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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