tractors farming supply chain climate change

Food industry bosses and the government have agreed to hold a series of talks to discuss measures to tackle the climate crisis, after identifying risks to the food supply chain as one of the key threats facing the future of the UK.

A new ‘resilience group’, which is being set up by Defra and the Food and Drink Sector Council, will be chaired by Booths’ managing director Nigel Murray and include supermarket leaders, major suppliers and figures from agriculture and hospitality.

The government said the new roundtable would provide a forum to advise on possible interventions to help the food industry to tackle some of the barriers they face in adapting to climate change.

It said the search was now on for industry leaders to sit on the group alongside Murray.

Nigel Murray Booths 2024

Source: Booths

Booths’ managing director Nigel Murray will chair the new ‘resilience group’

Their challenge will be tackling medium to long-term supply chain threats and identifying common issues in the agri-food supply chain, to try to find solutions to enable different sectors to adapt and be more resilient to the effects of climate, industry structural and geopolitical risks and challenges.

The round table will also come up with recommendations on how the industry can help the government to meet its NAP3 commitments, which vow to protect the natural environment and support business in adapting to climate change.

The initiative was announced following a major report by the IGD in March, which concluded that tackling threats to the resilience of the supply chain was of the upmost urgency for all sectors of the food industry, with climate change, water shortages and biodiversity loss among a series of key challenges.

The resilience group will use IGD’s guide to set the stage for its talks and will meet every other month for the next three months and then quarterly.

The climate change moves come ahead of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s latest Food Summit to be held at Downing Street next week, which is also intended to bring together different parts of the food supply chain to protect the food system.

“We welcome the Food and Drink Sector Council’s intention to address the topic of resilience, and are keen that any conversations are converted into clear actions for the industry,” said IGD CEO Sarah Bradbury

“In order to feed the nation and work efficiently, the whole supply chain must work collaboratively to become more resilient.

“UK food and consumer goods constitutes the UK’s largest private sector employer. We have a responsibility to continue empowering communities locally and nationally by attracting talent and feeding economies.

“Part of the collaboration needed to increase resilience is shared data and intelligence along the supply-chain.

“The FDSC Resilience Group/Roundtable will be one of the forums used to further this spirit of collaboration. However, we are concerned that conversations are converted to positive action, and we are ready, as an organisation to drive this with our stakeholders and the wider sector. “

A Defra spokeswoman said: “Food supply resilience is one of the industry and government’s key areas of focus.”

She said the new body would help to “assess, manage and communicate risk in the mid to long-term”.