Seminar - September 2021


Corporate Cultivation of Consumption: Time to Release the Weapons of the Structurally Weak

Prof Sharon Friel, School of Regulation and Global Governance, The Australian National University

For the Food Values Research Group's September 2021 seminar, we are pleased to welcome Prof Sharon Friel.

Corporate control of the global food system has resulted in greater global availability of highly processed, packaged and very palatable unhealthy food and beverages. Environmental harm, including climate change and biodiversity loss, occurs along the supply chains associated with trans-national corporations’ practices and products. In essence, the corporatization of the global food system has created the conditions that cultivate excess consumption, manufacture disease epidemics and harm the environment. In this talk, I will discuss governance issues relating to the industrial food system, and particularly issues of power. TNCs have used their structural power to ensure that policy and regulatory environments, and societal norms are favourable to TNC’s interests. There is hope, however. Power is held not just by the TNCs but by all actors concerned about and connected to the food system. This talk will examine these power dynamics, and identify how structurally weak, public-interest actors can release their agency and work to achieve positive structural change. Such an analysis will help understand how the status quo can be disrupted and healthy and sustainable food systems created.

When: Tuesday, 14th September 2021, 12-1 PM

Where: Online. Please RSVP to 

Prof Sharon Friel is a researcher in the School of Regulation and Global Governance at The Australian National University. She is an ARC Laureate Fellow and Professor of Health Equity and Director of the Menzies Centre for Health Governance. Her interests are in the political economy of health equity; governance related to the social determinants of health inequities; trade and investment, food systems, urbanisation, climate change.

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