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David Nabarro: ‘The food industry isn’t doing enough on sustainability’

David Nabarro says people are the key to effecting change, and for him, that is no different in the food industry.

“Some in the food industry tell me that they read the writing on the wall,” he says. “We know we’re going to have to change.

“We’re going to have to reduce our emissions and be much better at regenerating nature.

“I would say that’s a small proportion of those working in the food sector. So it is starting, but it’s not anything like enough.”

David is Co-Director and Chair of the Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College London.

He has had an extraordinary career in public health, working on complex issues that span disease outbreaks, food security, and nutrition.

You might remember his regular appearances in the news during the coronavirus pandemic. In 2020, he was appointed Special Envoy of the WHO Director-General on COVID-19.

He is also co-lead of the UN Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy and Finance.

Sustainability has been a key theme throughout his career, curating the Food Systems Summit Dialogues in 2018 and now working as Strategic Director at the 4SD Foundation, providing sustainable development training to leaders in all sectors.

Given his expertise and passion for sustainable food systems, David is the ideal person to discuss the critical topics of resilience and equitability in the global food system.

In this episode of the Food Matters Live podcast, we explore the existing barriers and assess whether our current system is prepared to tackle the challenges ahead.

Dr David Nabarro, Director, 4SD Foundation

Dr David Nabarro is Professor of Global Health at the Imperial College London and supports systems leadership for sustainable development through his Switzerland based social enterprise 4SD.

Furthermore, he Co-Facilitator for the Climate Action Summit in September 2019, Advisor at the Global Commission on Adaptation in Rotterdam, and curator of the Food Systems Dialogues. David secured his medical qualification in 1974 and has worked in over 50 countries – in communities and hospitals, governments, civil society, universities, and in United Nations (UN) programs. David worked for the British government in the 1990s as head of Health and Population and director for Human Development in the UK Department for International Development.

From 1999 to 2017 he held leadership roles in the UN system on disease outbreaks and health issues, food insecurity and nutrition, climate change and sustainable development. In October 2018, David received the World Food Prize together with Lawrence Haddad for their leadership in raising the profile and building coalitions for action for better nutrition across the Sustainable Development Goals.

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