Last month an extraordinary road show hit 35 major cities around the world promising to save the planet. The EAT-Lancet Commision had come to town – big time. The roll-out of the EAT-Lancet diet comprises some 40 prominent scientists presided over by a beautiful 40-year old founder, a physician herself, name of Gunhild Stordalen, a longstanding environmental activist, married to billionaire Norwegian hotelier and property developer, Petter Stordalen.
The “EAT-Lancet Commision on healthy diets from sustainable food systems” is a remarkable initiative 3-years in the making involving the EAT Foundation, leading medical publication “The Lancet”, and the Welcome Trust, with active co-operation from the World Economic Forum at Davos and over 40 of its member corporations, as well as UN endorsement.
The EAT-Lancet diet we are being told, gives us the strategy to feed the 10 billion of us that will crowd the Earth by 2050 with a healthy diet that reduces greenhouse gas emissions, saves half the planet for nature, halves food waste and achieves all the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
In other words, we won’t starve, we will all be healthier, global warming will be solved, the rain forest and habitat are restored, we don’t kill off most of our our fellow mammals, and we get to clean up the air and the oceans too.
We can have all this – just so long we eat a lot less meat, reduce dairy, while getting the bulk of our protein from plant sources.
Hallelujah! At long last… the politicians and the Big Business are listening to us and they’re going to do something…. We know Big Ag, Big Pharma, Big Food et al. are the problem. Finally, even they are seeing sense. If not vegan or vegetarian, any fool can see that eating less meat is going to do a lot to clean up the mess we’re in. Right?
Well, yes and no…
Predictably the tabloids, climate-deniers, Trumpists, in fact all those Hilary was foolish enough to have described publicly as “deplorables” are having a field day. A good-looking blonde 40 year old Scandinavian MD, wealthy and married to a billionaire and who did a few modelling gigs at university, and who espouses green causes? That’s catnip in all the best deplorable circles.
“Hypocrite!”, they shreik on line.
Billionaire ex-model wants to tax your hamburger!”, they chorus.
Dr. Gunhild does enjoy her wealth and might have avoided some of this stuff had she not put pictures of herself and her husband Petter on social media, jetting around the world in their US$26m Bombardier private jet, sunbathing in Mexico, relaxing in Greece, hugging a tree in Costa Rica, meditating in Antibes, posing by a pool in St. Tropez and then lecturing people about eating meat against a Manhattan skyline. Clearly publicity isn’t a problem for the couple, given that they flew in over 230 people back in 2010 for their marriage in Morocco and a 3-day party with the ceremony performed by Sir Bob Geldof, no less.
Less well known is that Dr Gunhild suffers from systemic scleroderma, which is incurable and often fatal. For all we know, she may be a lady in a hurry, wanting to achieve her lifework and enjoy life to the full in the time left to her. For all we know, the couple may have more than offset their carbon footprint. We cannot say, we don’t know.
More sober critics do wonder at the carbon footprint of all this and, more to the point, flying nearly 40 scientist plus spouses to slap-up bashes in 35 big cities around the world. You would have thought perhaps these ecologically-minded scientists might also have given a thought to this.
Point is, if they can achieve even a fraction of what what’s intended, who give’s a witch’s whatnot if the Stordalens enjoy the celeb life?
For the first time we actually have a co-ordinated stategy that is a serious attempt to address all the planet’s ecological problems, which we humans created. Given EAT-Lancet has the active support of some of the largest coporations in the world as well as the major international organisations there is a chance it could work.
The question is, will it?
Broadly speaking the scientific consensus is – yes, it could. Such a program, tweaked a bit, can reduce GHG emissions to currently acceptable levels, and satisfy the rest of the program, but we have to act fast before we reach the global warming tipping point.
But hang on, haven’t we been here before, with the Green Revolution of the 1960s and 70s? Wasn’t that when Big Ag got farmers in South America, India and Southeat Asia to adopt hybrid seeds, artificial fertilisers and chemical sprays? Aren’t we now experiencing terrible droughts, struggling to make good on massive land degradation, loss of biodiversity and bankrupted farmers – all caused by the industrialised agriculture we call the Green Revolution?
Right now informed criticism of the EAT-Lancet program comes in three main areas.
First: the diet is not quite as healthy as claimed. Protein from plant is nowhere near as efficient as protein from animal sources. Certain important nutrients would be signicantly lacking from the proposed EAT-Lancet diet. Most notably retinol, Vitamins B12, D and K2 along with minerals sodium, calcium, potassium and iron. Such a diet would be bad for diabetics. The over-reliance on carbs and plant-based oils with the exception of olive oil is dangerous (visit online Dr. Zoe Harcombe, EAT-Lancet diet).
Second: for the diet to be widely adopted and in time to make a difference the EAT-Lancet Commissioners call for state action through taxation and regulation to encourage us to adopt the diet. That is a big worry (see below).
Third: The scientists who put together the EAT-Lancet are all proponents of the various parts of the diet. Nothing necessarily wrong with that, unless they are paid consultants to the corporations which stand to benefit massively from the program, and quite a few of them are compromised in that way (for full report visit online: Would you Eat-Lancet? Optimum Nutrition).
This is the big question mark hanging over it all. Of the 40 or so companies involved, the majority of them, some of the biggest corporations in the world, have criminal convictions, mainly for price fixing, rigging or ignoring research, as well as bribery and corruption. They make their money out of palm oil, sugar, genetically modified crops, processed foods, mass animal husbandry, chemical insecticides and fertilisers. They each maintain massive political lobbying machines, make large political donations and are virtually unaccountable.
How should we now trust the organisations and people, who have never failed to put their own interests first? Especially now that the profits to be made are so astronomical and the law itself is to be required to compel or favour use of their goods and services?
Here they are by industrial sector [* incicates criminal and/or civil conviction(s)]:
The Proponents: Agriculture, Bio-Tech, Chemicals, Food & Pharma
Arla (Den.), *BASF (Ger.), *Bayer (Ger.), Buhler (Swiss), *Cargill (US), Cermaq (Jpn), *CP Group (Thai), *Danone (Fr.), DSM (Neds), *DuPont (US), *Evonik (GER.), Ferrero (Ital.), Firmenich (Swiss), Friesland Campino (Neds), *Givaudan (Roche, Swiss), *Intl.Flavors & Fragrances (US), KDD (Kuwait), Kellogg’s (US), *Nestle (Swiss), Olam (S’pr), *Pepsico (US), Protix (Neds), *Sigma (US), *Solvay (Belg.), *Sonae (Port.), *Symrise (Ger.),*Syngenta (Swiss), Unilever ((UK/Neds), *Yara (Nor.)
The Enablers: Consultants, Financial PR & Tech. *Baker McKenzie (US), Boston Consulting Gp. (US), *Deloitte (UK), *Edelman PR (US), ERM (UK), *Google (US), Ikea (Swed.), *Rabobank (Neds)
That is 21 of the 36 corporations listed, who support and expect to benefit from EAT-Lancet program, have been convicted of criminal offenses, often egregious resulting in death, great loss and cost in human suffering.
It does not mean we should not adopt something like the EAT-Lancet, we probably must. What it does mean is that the utmost rigour must be consistently applied to ensure that these corporate titans are kept honest. It means, that if they transgress their CEOs and their chairmen must face jail time, they face fines so large that total redress can be made and their shareholders suffer significant financial pain so as to demand compliance with the law.
Anything less, and it will not go well for us.
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