The environmental challenge of the food system is one of the trickiest and most politically contentious challenges of our time. One potential solution lies in cultured meat grown in laboratories. As the UK moves towards permitting these meats and adapting regulation, sustainability expert Bella Nourse and policy expert Tobias Burke have taken a look at the current state of play and barriers to cultured meat with a special focus on the attitudes of consumers, backed by Stonehaven’s own survey data.
Cultured meat (also called lab-grown, cultivated or cell-based) provokes a beefy and polarised response across the globe. This divisiveness is reflected in the support (or lack of support) cultured meat is receiving from Governments worldwide. While some countries are giving regulatory approval, others have moved to ban these products to “safeguard their nation’s heritage”.
In this age of (rightful) sustainability scrutiny of all corporate sectors, including consultancy, it occasionally crosses my mind that our firm, which married Robertsbridge with Stonehaven, might one day find itself on the end of one of those ‘gotcha’ moments in which advisory firms are challenged, in public, on the client work they do. Despite our long history of fruitful collaboration with campaigners across countless NGOs, no one is immune from challenge, and nor should they be. The most obvious (and necessary) of these ‘stings’ has been the now frequent calling out of PR and advertising firms for blatant greenwashing. I have often participated in this sport with unbridled glee – both on my own social media channels and even in a more concerted effort as an occasional contributor to various publications. Slamming greenwash (when it really is that) is legitimate, it is necessary, and it is fun. One could even make a career of it, and some people are. No one is a bigger enemy of PR front groups, eco marketing guff, of information designed to mislead, confuse or question scientific consensus than me. In my brief few years at a very large communications agency, I also performed the role of professional irritant from inside the firm, as many of my former colleagues will testify.
Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s vision for privatisation was to ensure: “the state’s power is reduced, and the power of the people enhanced”. While some market-based reforms from her premiership have given customers greater flexibility, control, and choice, it is hard to see how privatisation of retail energy has resulted in anything other than a broken and illusory market.
Britain is on the brink of an engineering skills crisis that threatens to delay major infrastructure projects unless it addresses how the sector is seen.
Plant-based foods are an increasingly popular alternative to meat and dairy products. In the second report of Stonehaven and Robertsbridge's Sustainability and Political Economy series, we explore the changing place of meat in the diets of people around the world, as well as the policy implications and business opportunities that come with change as sustainability pressures mount.
It has been almost 2 years since the aviation industry was grounded. The path back will be shaped by customer concerns over open borders, appetite to return to mass travel, and growing concern over the climate impacts of aviation.