Melbourne Law School - Research Publications

Permanent URI for this collection

Search Results

Now showing 1 - 10 of 17
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Who has a beef with reducing red and processed meat consumption? A media framing analysis
    Sievert, K ; Lawrence, M ; Parker, C ; Russell, CA ; Baker, P (CAMBRIDGE UNIV PRESS, 2022-03-01)
    OBJECTIVE: Diets high in red and processed meat (RPM) contribute substantially to environmental degradation, greenhouse gas emissions and the global burden of chronic disease. High-profile reports have called for significant global RPM reduction, especially in high-income settings. Despite this, policy attention and political priority for the issue are low. DESIGN: The study used a theoretically guided framing analysis to identify frames used by various interest groups in relation to reducing RPM in online news media articles published in the months around the release of four high-profile reports by authoritative organisations that included a focus on the impacts of high RPM production and/or consumption. SETTING: Four major RPM producing and consuming countries - USA, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. PARTICIPANTS: None. RESULTS: Hundred and fifty news media articles were included. Articles reported the views of academics, policymakers, industry representatives and the article authors themselves. RPM reduction was remarkably polarising. Industry frequently framed RPM reduction as part of a 'Vegan Agenda' or as advocated by an elite minority. Reducing RPM was also depicted as an infringement on personal choice and traditional values. Many interest groups attempted to discredit the reports by citing a lack of consensus on the evidence, or that only certain forms of farming and processing were harmful. Academics and nutrition experts were more likely to be cited in articles that were aligned with the findings of the reports. CONCLUSIONS: The polarisation of RPM reduction has led to a binary conflict between pro- and anti-meat reduction actors. This division may diminish the extent to which political leaders will prioritise this in policy agendas. Using nuanced and context-dependent messaging could ensure the narratives around meat are less conflicting and more effective in addressing health and environmental harms associated with RPM.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    What's really at 'steak'? Understanding the global politics of red and processed meat reduction: A framing analysis of stakeholder interviews
    Sievert, K ; Lawrence, M ; Parker, C ; Baker, P (ELSEVIER SCI LTD, 2022-08-22)
    Multiple reports from international organisations and expert groups call for reductions in production and consumption of red and processed meat (RPM) to attenuate associated health and environmental harms. Policymakers have given limited attention to the issue and public discourse on the topic is contentious. The framing of RPM as a policy issue by influential actors may be contributing to inertia and confusion. We investigate the political challenge of RPM reduction by analyzing how relevant actors interpret and portray the issue. Thirty-two participants from academia, civil society, intergovernmental organisations, and industry were interviewed. We find that food systems stakeholders do see value in continued RPM production and consumption in the food system, but that the current status-quo is untenable. RPM reduction was perceived as a polarising concept. Participants cited a lack of nuance in public discourse, with framings on harms and benefits of RPM being over-simplified and lacking context. Some participants noted that intensive RPM production and high consumption levels reflected corporatized/globalised supply chains, and power relations were the most critical factor to address the harms of RPM. Participants also viewed the preference for technology-driven responses (i.e., novel proteins) as reinforcing corporate power in the food system. This study shows that despite polarised public discourse, more convergence on the issue across food systems stakeholders exists. Furthermore, powerful actors such as the meat and 'novel protein' industries are perceived to be a driving influence in maintaining the market-driven status-quo and are a likely obstacle in achieving healthy and sustainable consumption of RPM.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Integrating nutrition and obesity prevention considerations into institutional investment decisions regarding food companies: Australian investment sector perspectives
    Robinson, E ; Parker, C ; Carey, R ; Foerster, A ; Blake, MR ; Sacks, G (BMC, 2022-11-08)
    BACKGROUND: There is growing recognition that current food systems are both unhealthy and unsustainable, and are increasingly shifting toward the supply and marketing of unhealthy, ultra-processed foods and beverages. Large food companies hold substantial power within food systems and present a significant barrier to progress on addressing issues related to nutrition and obesity prevention. Institutional investors (such as pension funds) play a key role in influencing corporate governance and practices, and are increasingly incorporating environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations within investment decisions. By considering nutrition and obesity prevention, institutional investors present a potential avenue for driving increased food industry accountability for their population health impact. This study investigated views of stakeholders in the Australian investment sector on the incorporation of nutrition and obesity prevention considerations within institutional investment decision-making regarding food companies. METHODS: Fifteen in-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted in 2020-21. Participants were predominantly Australian-based, and included representatives from asset management companies, superannuation funds, ESG advisory/consultancy firms, ESG research providers, and relevant advocacy groups. Interviews examined challenges and opportunities to the integration of nutrition and obesity prevention considerations within institutional investment decision-making. Interviews were analysed using deductive thematic analysis, informed by a theoretical change model. RESULTS: Several participants reported that their institution factored nutrition and obesity prevention considerations into their investment decisions; however, attention to nutrition-related issues was limited, generally perceived as 'niche', and not yet institutionalised. Key challenges and opportunities were identified at the employee, investment organisation, investment sector, government and non-government levels. These challenges and opportunities centred around experience and knowledge, quality and availability of ESG data and benchmarks, importance of investor coalitions, and demonstration of financial risks related to nutrition and obesity. CONCLUSION: There are a range of steps that could be taken to help ensure more systematic and effective consideration of issues related to nutrition and obesity prevention within institutional investment decision-making in Australia, including: (1) improved nutrition-related reporting metrics and benchmarking criteria for food companies; (2) better articulation of the financial risks that unhealthy diets and obesity pose to investors; (3) enhanced investor advocacy on unhealthy diets and obesity through investor coalitions and; (4) detailed guidance for investors on how to address unhealthy diets and obesity. Better engagement between the Australian public health community, institutional investors and government regulators is critical to drive changed investor practice in this area.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Are Banks Responsible for Animal Welfare and Climate Disruption? A Critical Review of Australian Banks' Due Diligence Policies for Agribusiness Lending
    Parker, C ; Sheedy-Reinhard, L (Cambridge University Press, 2022-11)
    Abstract This article argues that banks should adopt animal welfare policies in the light of the growing acceptance of the need for ‘responsible banking’, which incorporates environmental, social, and governance analysis into credit risk and due diligence processes. The responsibility of banks for animal welfare is underscored by the drive towards greater investment in animal agribusiness, and the vicious cycle through which animal agribusiness can both contribute to, and be impacted by, climate disruption. The article evaluates, through a desktop review, how leading Australian retail banks and agribusiness lenders are addressing animal welfare and climate disruption in animal agribusiness lending. We find that although most banks have made a commitment to animal welfare and climate policies, these often amount to little more than greenwashing. We call for an ecosystem of industry, regulatory, and civil society action to address this danger.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    An Impossible Task? Australian Food Law and the Challenge of Novel Meat Analogues
    Johnson, H ; Parker, C (SAGE Publications, 2022-09-01)
    This paper asks what the regulatory assessment of the novel processed meat analogue products reveals about the nature of food regulation in Australia. We analyse Food Standards Australia and New Zealand’s (‘FSANZ’) assessment of the recent application by Californian technology company Impossible Foods Inc to sell its proprietary burger products which contain a genetically modified protein that is said to make their burger ‘bleed’. We show that FSANZ’s assessment process has little capacity to engage with broader and longer term, social, ecological and public health implications of novel foods and changing food markets. FSANZ’s regulatory pre-approval process focuses almost exclusively on the safety of individual ingredients rather than the impact of novel foods on the food supply as whole and leaves broader issues to the market and consumer choice with limited support from laws addressing misleading labelling and marketing of foods. Extending the capacity of Australia’s regulatory regime for food to deal with more than the safety of individual ingredients will become more urgent as other novel foods, such as cell-based meats, enter the marketplace.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    From responsive regulation to ecological compliance: meta-regulation and the existential challenge of corporate compliance
    Parker, C ; van Rooij, B ; SOKOL, DD (Cambridge University Press, 2021)
    This chapter revisits the significance of responsive regulation for theories of compliance. It shows how responsive regulation’s theory of compliance recognises both multiple motivations for compliance and plural actors who help negotiate and construct compliance. It argues that responsive regulation theory implies responsive compliance and that this can help build possibilities for deliberative democratic responsibility and accountability of both businesses and regulators. This is the idea that Parker previously labelled the meta-regulation of the “open corporation”. This chapter concludes that since business activity, and indeed human development, now face the existential challenge of socio ecological disruption and collapse in which profit oriented commercial activity is a significant driver, theories of compliance need to expand to concern themselves with how whole markets and industries can be made responsive to both social and ecological embeddedness. Regulatory compliance scholars need to pay attention to how networks of interacting business, government and civil society and social movement actors can influence business activity profoundly enough to shift the very nature of “business as usual”. The chapter therefore proposes the need for “ecological compliance” as a development of Ayres and Braithwaite’s analysis of compliance.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Investing for Nurtrition and Obesity Prevention: Current Practice in Australia
    Robinson, E ; Carey, R ; Parker, C ; Sacks, G ( 2021-08-19)
    Summary • Unhealthy diets, obesity and related non-communicable diseases are the leading cause of death and disability worldwide and represent a major public health challenge. • Addressing unhealthy diets and obesity will require comprehensive societal change, including comprehensive action from governments and food companies to improve the healthiness of food systems. • Investors can contribute to change through their investment decisions. They also stand to benefit from the positive societal and economic impacts associated with obesity prevention efforts. • In 2019/20, we reviewed a large sample of Australian institutional investors, asset management companies and superannuation funds, to investigate how these investors were incorporating nutrition and obesity-related considerations in their decision-making. • We found that 18 out of 35 investors included nutrition and obesity-related considerations in their investment decision-making, albeit in limited ways. • The most common way in which nutrition and obesity were considered was through so-called ‘ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) integration’ strategies. Most often, this was through considerations related to ‘health’ in the general sense, e.g., broad health and wellbeing considerations in selecting investment portfolios. Some investors explicitly considered the healthiness of a food company’s products in determining whether to invest or not. • Examples of ways in which nutrition and obesity-related considerations were being applied included investors actively engaging with food companies to encourage them to improve their nutrition-related policies and practices, and screening food companies based on risks associated with the healthiness of their product portfolios. • The findings of this research point to the need for: – Consistent nutrition-related sustainability reporting by food companies, guided by clear reporting frameworks; – The availability of comprehensive nutrition-related ESG data for investors, accompanied by agreed nutrition-related performance benchmarks; – More guidance on best practices for investors and the food industry. • Further research will help to identify how the investment community can best support efforts to address obesity and improve nutrition in Australia.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Investing for Sustainable Food Systems: Current Practice in Australia
    Carey, R ; Parker, C ; Robinson, E ; Sacks, G ( 2021-08-19)
    Summary • Food systems are a major driver of climate change, biodiversity loss, depletion of freshwater resources and pollution of waterways. • We examined the extent to which major institutional investors engaged in responsible investment in Australia consider sustainable food systems as part of their investment approach. • Nineteen out of 35 investors incorporated considerations related to sustainable food systems into investment decisions in some way. • We identified six strategies that investors used to incorporate sustainable food system considerations into their decision making. • The most common strategy used by investors was 'corporate engagement and shareholder action’ (using shareholder power to influence corporate behaviour). • The sustainable food system themes most commonly mentioned by these investors were ‘human rights’ (specifically labour rights in the food supply chain) and ‘animal welfare and anti-microbial resistance’. • Only one company, Australian Ethical, had a comprehensive policy on investment decisions related to sustainable food systems. • Examples of good practice included engaging with companies in relation to modern slavery concerns in the food supply chain, negatively screening intensive animal agriculture due to concerns about animal welfare and environmental sustainability, and investing in agricultural land to support a climate transition. • Future research will focus on engaging with investors to identify opportunities for progressing an investment agenda that promotes sustainable food systems in Australia.
  • Item
    No Preview Available
    National plan to allow battery cages until 2036 favours cheap eggs over animal welfare
    Parker, C ; Bromberg, L ( 2021-07-05)
    Eggs laid by battery hens would be phased out within 15 years under a plan to improve poultry welfare in Australia. The proposal signals some relief for the 10 million or so egg-laying hens still kept in battery cages in Australia. But it doesn’t go far enough.
  • Item