Sustainable Diets and State Policy

There is consensus that the agricultural production required for the ‘Western’ diet is causing significant environmental problems, which in turn cause serious harms to current and future generations. The increasing adoption of the diet across the world means this situation is set to worsen considerably.

While this problem is well-established, this project is devoted to the more neglected political question of what ought to be done about them. Can the spread of the Western diet be legitimately slowed and reversed, both at the domestic and international level? Put another way, if ‘sustainable diets’ need to be promoted, how should this promotion be balanced against individual and group freedoms? Fundamentally then, my project is concerned with marrying debates about sustainable diets with debates relating to the legitimate scope of political action.

As well as my academic work, I take seriously the activist part of my role as a Grantham Scholar. I currently focus on working with Sheffield University in its efforts to reduce its environmental footprint, and recently contributed to a report auditing the University’s progress on sustainability. I am also Campaigns Officer for the Students Union Sustainability Committee.

George Coiley