Creating the Conditions for Investing in Sustainability

26 MAY 2022

In the opening session of Rural Policy Group’s Sustainable Food & Farming Conference we examine the structural conditions needed to stimulate investment in sustainable agritech and new farming practices. We look at how the industry can regain a greater degree of certainty and return to financial stability amid ongoing political and economic concerns.

Those concerns – both domestic and international – are worsening supply chain fragilities, shortages and price inflation for the food, farming and agribusiness sectors. At a time when survival is uppermost in leaders’ minds, we look at how sustainability can contribute to to positive results and why it should not fall off the agenda. 

We ask our expert panel of industry heavyweights, politicians and academics to consider the global context, framework of national policies within which we produce food and manage the land, greater collaboration within the supply chain, government ambitions, the consumer relationship with food and whether it is time for a food value reset.

As ever, we will be applying insights to business situations to facilitate actionable outcomes for participants.

Other ways to enjoy the conference:

WATCH the second session on The Evolving Role of Land Use in a Sustainable Economy with keynote speaker Tim Farron, Liberal Democrat Environment, Food & Rural Affairs Spokesperson. 

READ the Annual Report 2021 on Fair & Sustainable Food Pricing and the Value of Rural launched at this event. 

The Speakers

Natalie Bennett, Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle

Natalie Bennett, Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle

Green Party Peer, House of Lords

Natalie, also known Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle, migrated to the UK in 1999 after obtaining a degree in agricultural science from the University of Sydney and working on farms in Australia. She spent two years in Bangkok working with the National Commission on Women’s Affairs, on its report to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women. She also worked as a consultant with the International Labor Organisation (ILO) on child labour issues and World Health Organization (WHO) on women’s health. She’s a champion of the universal basic income, and is particularly interested in food security and farming issues, and supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals. She was leader of the Green Party of England and Wales from 2012-2016 and is a member of the board of the European Green Foundation.

Tim Doubleday

Tim Doubleday

Chief Financal Officer, BKUK Group Ltd and Chairman of the Sustainability Committee of the Hospitality Sector Council

Tim Doubleday has been Chief Financial Officer of the BKUK Group Ltd, the master franchisee for the Burger King business in the UK, since 2017. Mr Doubleday has a wealth of consumer sector experience and a successful record of implementing new site roll-out and buy-and-build strategies. Mr Doubleday was previously Chief Financial Officer of the Casual Dining Group and Principal Hayley Group. Prior to that he was UK Finance Director of Elior UK. Mr Doubleday previously chaired the Environmental Leadership Team at Business in the Community and now sits on the Global Goals Leadership Team. He is a member of the Advisory Board of UK Hospitality, the industry trade association, as well as chairing the Sustainability Committee for the Hospitality Sector Council. Mr Doubleday is a chartered accountant having qualified with Arthur Andersen, prior to which he graduated from the University of Manchester.

Sarah Dodds

Sarah Dodds

Head of Agriculture and Partner, MHA MacIntyre Hudson

Sarah’s strength lies in helping ambitious, owner-managers to reach their goals. Her clients not only benefit from the emphasis she puts on having the right management information upon which to base decisions but her ability to summarise their position and make timely and appropriate recommendations. The commercial world plays a major role in Sarah’s life but being married to a farmer and living on a mixed farm, has afforded her the opportunity to understand and appreciate the agricultural sector at first hand. As head of the firm’s Agriculture & Rural Business sector, Sarah has brought her considerable personal agricultural knowledge to this sector, enabling her to develop an insight into farming & agricultural businesses not usually available to other accountancy professionals.

Jose Hopkins

Jose Hopkins

Technical Director ESG, MHA MacIntyre Hudson

Jose is an ESG risk assessment expert with more than 11 years of big 4 experience auditing global large listed groups and complex entities within the Agricultural, Renewable, Technology and Mining sectors. In the last 2 years Jose has been applying his in-depth technical understanding of environmental (including climate risk), social, governance, accounting, assurance and financial reporting standards to support, validate and challenge organisations translate and disclose material ESG related risks and opportunities. Jose is passionate about a transparent and fair presentation of climate change reporting, consideration of material ESG risks and net zero transition plans.

Jose strong technical knowledge and understanding of the Task Force of Climate Related Disclosures (“TCFD”) strategic framework helps Jose provide support to a wider range of business in developing a resilient ESG strategy, setting up responsibilities for the Board and Management, integration of material risks in the risk management framework and support the alignment and evaluation of material ESG risks in the IFRS financial statements.

Mark Lumsdon-Taylor

Mark Lumsdon-Taylor

Partner, MHA MacIntyre Hudson

Mark is a Chartered Accountant, corporate financier and consultant with special interests in food & farming, rural business, ESG and the belief that business must be underpinned by sustainable finance. He established Rural Policy Group in 2019 following 16 years in the rural economy working with both public and private sector businesses. Mark has won numerous awards for his work including Finance Director of the Year 2007, Accounting for Sustainability 2012 (ICEAW), National Business Finance Director 2014 (Finance Director) and the Institute of Directors Blue Ribbon award for Governance and Finance Excellence in 2018.

Sarah Calcutt

Sarah Calcutt

Chair of the National Fruit Show and NED, Covent Garden Market Authority

Sarah is a 6th generation farmer from the Weald of Kent.  Originally trained as a classical musician she had returned to the family business by her mid 20’s and has spent the subsequent 20 years working within the vibrant food and farming community of the UK. In addition to running Partners in Produce Ltd, her successful business growth and communications consultancy, she is also the Operations Director of British Apples and Pears Ltd, Chair of the National Fruit show, SE Chair of the Nuffield Farming Scholarship Trust, Council member of the Rural Policy Group and NED for Tech fresh produce start-up business COGZ.

Related RED Talks

A Sustainable Rural Economy

EV in Food & Farming

ELM & Commercial Opportunities

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