Nudging Sustainable Food Chain Production in times of Climate Change: Food Policy Paradoxes and Parallel Contexts

Authors: Zaina Gadema-Cooke*, Northumbria University
Topics: Environment, Cultural Ecology, Political Geography
Keywords: Nudge, climate change, food chain, public health, sustainability and individuation
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Senate Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper examines so called business school models for policy formulation and public health programming against the wider context of food chain decarbonisation. Analogous to the burgeoning development of nationally and internationally applicable voluntary environmental standards for food, no single consistent unified theory fully captures the complexity of the socio-environmental problem of climate change. A series of semi-formed theoretical positions rely on assumptions about individuation dominate the business-centric and social-marketing scholarly literature streams. Yet individuation underlies the social-sciences of economics and psychology, essentially denying a ‘social’ being within ‘pro-environmental behaviour change’ policy narratives. This is paralleled with the often-contentious political terrain of Nudge theory to generate behavioural change; the ethics of ‘nudging’ (e.g. food labelling) which are frequently developed through collaborative multi-stakeholder approaches but remain hidden from food consumers. Part one of this paper deals with the customary theoretical bases that underpin models of behavioural change under capitalist market conditions. Part two presents the qualitative methodological case study approach, its key findings and twelve parallel theoretical contexts to behavioural change under current dominant market assumptions. Part three provides an overall framework for policy making and programming when seeking change in consumer behaviour for the benefit of the individual and society as a whole. The paper concludes that because most approaches focus on the individual, not the ‘social’ and provide guidance for individual, not social change, there is no sufficiency in the overall argument to address perhaps the most significant and complex socio-environmental challenge of the twenty first century: climate change.

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