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11/2008

DEPFID Working Paper 11/2008 - Abstract

Innovation and food system sustainability: public concerns vs. private interests

Valeria Sodano
 

The food system negatively affects the environment, human health and the total well being of the society in many ways, causing: soil and water depletion, pollution due to the waste treatments, acid rains, desertification, climate change, ozone depletion and biodiversity loss. The paper endeavors to compare the needs of a sustainable food system with strategies actually carried out at private and public level. It is shown that while the process of trade liberalization is pushing towards market deregulation and decreasing state intervention, corporate social responsibility is very low and unable to tackle the huge environmental problems faced by the food system. The main conclusion of the paper is that the current competitive games played by leading firms are not in any way able to promote the sustainability of the new global food system and that more state intervention is requested in order to reach the goal.

Keywords: innovation, sustainability, local food systems, fresh produce, participatory democracy.

JEL Classification: Q13, L81

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