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Report Finds that Millions of Workers Need to be Upskilled in the UK Food Sector to Combat Climate Crisis

Report Finds that Millions of Workers Need to be Upskilled in the UK Food Sector to Combat Climate Crisis

Ruth Smith

Ruth Smith

Northampton, MA –News Direct – Acre

Ruth Smith

Ruth Smith

​Every job in the UK food manufacturing sector should become a climate job to reach carbon net zero targets, a new report has revealed.

The Future Food Movement’s study has shown that millions of people need to be trained to make climate-friendly decisions.

Veris Strategies, a strategic change consultancy, created the Future Food Movement, a pioneering community, industry network, and upskilling platform. The movement focuses solely on closing the climate skills gaps and encouraging collaboration between food businesses to combat climate change.

It has published a whitepaper called Tomorrow’s Talent: Skills for a Climate Smart Food SystemThis study showed that 50% of the 2 million people working in the UK’s food sector want to be trained to understand climate issues.

The report highlighted that just 12 per cent of people who work in the industry felt fully confident about their understanding of climate and sustainability issues and two thirds don’t believe that their businesses are taking positive action to tackle climate change. Eight out of ten people believe their employers have a responsibility to help them deal with the crisis.

Last month’s COP26 highlighted the need for rapid decarbonisation in the UK food industry but to achieve the 1.5-degree target, the Future Food Movement believes that food businesses need to make every role a climate role.

Kate Cawley, managing director of Veris Strategies and founder of the Future Food Movement, said: “The hard truth is that, currently sustainability in the food sector isn’t working. There aren’t enough sustainability experts who can drive science-based change and there’s a lack of confidence from senior leaders on how best to reach climate targets.

“The Future Food Movement brings together businesses to focus on four stand-out skills areas that are key to unlocking climate proficiency within the workforce: climate literacy, application, technology and communication. Our goal is to empower the industry at all levels to effect the necessary changes in order to combat climate change.

“This isn’t just another technical, science-based upskilling programme tailored to ESG roles. We have collaborated with some of the world’s leading lights on climate issues who will be delivering workshops on topics such as climate language, regenerative agriculture, the future consumer, tech for good and human rights & ethics.”

The climate skills gap is made worse by the aging workforce, labour shortages, and poor perceptions of this industry.

Gizzi Erskine (chef and sustainable food campaigner) and Lucy Siegle (climate author) launched The Future Food Movement at a dinner regenerative agriculture-focused.

Lucy Siegle, journalist and author on climate and nature said:“We need a much sharper, more open conversation about food security and supply chain resilience in the UK. I know from my own work that there’s huge appetite from the general public to consume food in a climate smart way.

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“Meanwhile there is a huge opportunity for manufacturers and producers to have a voice in the climate debate and shape a positive food future that addresses emissions, impact, but also price and affordability. For me the Future Food Movement has all the ingredients of the smart, open debate that will drive change.”

Ruth Smith, Consultant in Acre’s Sustainable Business group commented“There’s never been such a high demand for hiring across sustainability, with food and climate being a significant area of growth. It’s amazing to see so many companies stepping up and taking ownership of their impact, and acting accordingly, but there’s still a long way to go. At this point, it’s essential to take into consideration that we all play a part in the carbon reduction journey and we can’t leave it to the big brands and suppliers. It can make a big difference to eat responsibly and keep the environment in mind. We should be aware of our individual contributions.

The Future Food Movement will tackle the climate skills deficit in many ways. This includes upskilling more then a thousand industry leaders through a climate and network zero programme, connecting food industry executives to a Business Leader Network, as well as running a series 12-month Accelerators that offer live online CPD certified learning.

Ruth joined Acre to support organisations in FMCG and Retail, embedding Sustainability through their teams and recruitment. This fast-growing industry aligns closely to Ruth’s core values, prior professional and educational experiences.

Ruth has international experience in recruiting in the Renewables and Clean Energy industry. Her focus is on Sustainability. She holds a University of Brighton 2:1 in BA Geography. This was a specialized degree in Sustainable Development, EIA, and Geographical Politics that she applies daily to her work in Acre and in the Sustainability space.

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