Frédéric Leroy Profile picture
Agri-food scientist + CDP activist (Common sense, Decency & Pragmatism) Tweets reflect my own views
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Feb 24 7 tweets 18 min read
EAT-Lancet and the World Economic Forum
"The Great Food Transformation"

What is it, and what could it mean for global diets?

Part 1. A Davos for Food

The EAT foundation, launched by a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, is modelled on Davos. Its aim is to catalyse a Great Food Transformation. To do so, the EAT-Lancet Commission has designed a semi-vegetarian Planetary Health Diet. This diet has gained substantial influence and is actively discussed at both national and global policy levels. EAT's influence is amplified by collaborations with the United Nations and partnerships with agri-food corporations, facilitated through entities like the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, highlighting the convergence of business interests with dietary reform efforts. Moreover, EAT garners support from investors in vegan-tech industries, who advocate for alternatives to end livestock agriculture.

The EAT initiative, founded in Scandinavia in 2013 by Gunhild Stordalen and Johan Rockström, aims to revolutionize global diets by reducing reliance on animal source foods and partially filling the resulting food gap with 'alternative proteins'. At that time, Stordalen was married to the Norwegian billionaire Petter Stordalen, whereas Rockström was the executive director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre. The EAT initiative gained momentum with its inaugural Food Forum in Stockholm in 2014, where the Prince of Wales and Bill Clinton voiced support. The Forum's mission was to unite 'experts and decision makers who can come together to change the way we eat'. Financial backing from the Wellcome Trust and the Stordalen Foundation in 2016 propelled the initiative forward, leading to the establishment of the EAT-Lancet Commission. Spearheaded by Harvard's Walter Willett, the Commission then proposed a semi-vegetarian Planetary Health Diet, which rapidly became influential, being backed by the World Economic Forum, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and United Nations, among others.

The hand of Davos

To revolutionize global diets, EAT operates trough various public-private partnerships, drawing inspiration from the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos. Being a self-declared 'Davos for food', EAT aims to 'add value to business and industry' and 'set the political agenda'. This connection to Davos is no coincidence. Gunhild Stordalen was appointed as WEF Young Global Leader in 2015, and maintains close ties with WEF's Børge Brende, a former Norwegian Minister, ex-chairman of the UN Commission of Sustainable Development, and member of the Steering Committee of the Bilderberg group. He joined the WEF in 2008 and became WEF's managing director in 2011, after he failed to get the position of executive director at UN Environment Programme (UNEP). In 2017, Brende was appointed as WEF's President. Unsurprisingly, Davos has shown strong support of EAT. During the 2018 WEF conference in Davos, the EAT Foundation co-organized an event with, among others, Rabobank, the International Food Policy Research Institute, and the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition. Following the launch of the EAT-Lancet report in 2019, the WEF stated on its website that 'we all need to go on the planetary health diet to save the world'. A few days later, the report was also discussed at the 2019 WEF meeting in Davos, after which it was presented at the UN Headquarters in New York.

WEF's interest in food systems

The WEF's support for EAT's Great Food Transformation extends beyond mere sympathy. Food system overhaul is a component of the Davos strategy, highlighted in its Great Reset agenda. This includes an interest in the 'Future of Food', closely aligned with WEF's core activity of 'Developing Sustainable Business Models'. Convergence with the EAT agenda is unmistakable, both in concept and in practice. José María Olsen Figueres, the former CEO of WEF, is intricately linked to EAT as an 'EAT alumnus'. His sister, Christiana Figueres, who is also UNFCCC’s ex-Executive Secretary and has declared to be in favour of expelling meat eaters from restaurants, has ties to entities within the broader EAT network, such as the World Resources Institute, Unilever, the vegan-tech company Impossible Foods, and business fronts such as Nature4Climate and We Mean Business. Taken together, EAT appears to function as the dietary arm of WEF, aiming to effect dietary change within a 'Transition Decade' (2020-2030). To do do, the EAT/WEF network refers to a 'portfolio of solutions', including mock meat, lab meat, mycoprotein, and insects. In 2018, the WEF published 'Innovation with a Purpose: The role of technology innovation in accelerating food systems transformation' in collaboration with McKinsey & Co. Among other high-tech 'Fourth Industrial Revolution' interventions, also involving nutrigenetics, block chain, and virtual reality, the report made a case for 'alternative proteins'. Impossible Foods was cited as an example. A year later, WEF released a white paper on 'Alternative Proteins', prepared by the Oxford Martin School, as part of its 'Meat: the Future' series.

EAT as public-private partnership

Given EAT's roots in the WEF, it is anticipated that its strategy will mirror the principles of the Davos philosophy. In tandem with WEF's Great Reset agenda, EAT's aim is to catalyse a profound global overhaul of the food system, coined as the Great Food Transformation. The process is facilitated through high-level public-private partnerships, with support from WEF and close collaboration with NGOs, transnational policy organisations, and multinational corporations. References to EAT's Planetary Health Diet are already being integrated in policy frameworks worldwide to justify a transition to 'plant-based' eating, as evidenced in the EU's Green Deal and Farm-to-Fork strategy . EAT's dietary proposal, therefore, transcends mere theoretical discourse; it should be understood a top-down policy blueprint grounded in the stakeholder capitalism model advocated by Davos. Below, some of EAT's major allies will be listed, including factions within the United Nations, major agri-food corporations, and the vegan-tech industry. It will also be discussed how all these players emerged as a single constellation during the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit.

Alliance with the United Nations

To achieve its objectives, EAT frequently collaborates with factions within the United Nations, exemplified by the inclusion of WHO director Francesco Branca in its EAT-Lancet Commission. Additionally, EAT receives support from UNEP, which has gone so far as to label meat as 'the world's most urgent problem' while bestowing the highest environmental award of the UN upon vegan-tech companies Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods. This close interaction with the UN is likely facilitated under the patronage of WEF. In bolstering its transnational influence, WEF has established an official partnership with the UN to accelerate the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This 'strategic alliance' has faced criticism for what some view as a 'disturbing corporate capture of the UN', resulting in a 'public-private UN' where the decisions of governments could be made 'secondary to multistakeholder led initiatives in which corporations would play a defining role'. Urgent global challenges, such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and the COVID-19 pandemic are leveraged to create a sense of urgency, with EAT's emphasis on a broken food system seamlessly aligning with this strategy.

Alliance with agri-food corporations

Some major agri-food corporations have openly embraced the WEF/EAT vision of dietary reform, seeing the radical restriction of animal source foods and their replacement by 'alternative proteins' (aka, 'food from factories') as an opportunity to tap into new market segments and further consolidate their already significant control over the food system. In 2017, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) formalized a partnership with EAT, known as Food Reform for Sustainability and Health (FReSH). This collaboration was announced during the Third Stockholm Food Forum, which aimed to 'bring science, policy and business together'. WBCSD participation in the Forum was focused on sharing progress on FReSH and exploring further collaboration among 'stakeholders across science and academia, policy-makers, business and consumer groups'. The WBCSD serves as an industry lobbying platform, representing various global agri-food corporations. FReSH has been characterized as a 'business-led initiative designed to accelerate transformational change in global food systems', bringing together 30+ companies, including leading food multinationals such as Nestlé, Danone, Unilever, Kellogg Company, and PepsiCo. These affiliated multinationals been actively promoting a transition to 'plant-based' eating, sometimes with strong anti-meat overtones. Unilever, for instance, aims to achieve €1bn sales from vegan products by 2027, collaborating with the World Wide Fund for Nature and academia. Also during the 2017 Forum, another multi-million dollar effort linked to EAT was announced: the 'Food and Land Use' Coalition (FOLU). Described as an effort that 'brings together science, business solutions and country implementation plans', FOLU acknowledges 'the invaluable contribution of Unilever, Yara International and the Business and Sustainable Development Commission in nurturing [its] initial development'.

Alliance with the vegan-tech industry

Because of its generally unsympathetic attitude towards livestock agriculture, EAT also attracted support from investors in vegan-tech who have an interest in animal rights agendas. Examples of vegan investors include Farm Animal Investment Risk and Return (FAIRR) and KBW's founder, prince Khaled bin Alwaleed, the son of a Saudi top investor (prince Alwaleed bin Talal, chairman of Kingdom Holding). FAIRR is an investor company of which the membership and wider supporting network comprises institutional investors managing many trillions in combined assets. It was founded in 2015 by Jeremy Coller, a vegan who wishes to 'end factory farming', with the goal to put pressure on food companies to serve more imitation animal source foods. Coller has a seat on the advisory board of the Good Food Institute, the leading lobby group for vegan-tech industries. FAIRR often interacts with EAT, as during the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit and the linked 'Rethinking Protein: Accelerating law and policy in the global food system' conference to 'concentrate on legal mechanisms to transition the food system'. As a vegan, bin Alwaleed refers to dairy as the 'root of environmental evil' and like Coller is a member of the advisory board of the GFI. He is also influential within the EAT network. Together with several 'vegan leaders' with ties to GFI as well as with EAT's founder Stordalen, bin Alwaleed attended the Nexus Global Summit at the UN Headquarters in 2018 to discuss 'Next Generation Solutions for a World in Transition'.

The UN Food Systems Summit

The strategic alignment between the UN and EAT/WEF became particularly notable during the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit. EAT's Gunhild Stordalen was appointed as chair of the Summit's Action Track 2, focusing on 'sustainable diets'. Her stated aim was 'to take full advantage of the Summit' and 'to force the kind of far-reaching changes that the world now desperately needs'. The WHO functioned as the Track's 'anchoring agency'. Francesco Branca, an EAT-Lancet Commissioner and WHO director, had already made it clear that, within the food system, 'everything has to be reset [...] we have to have much smaller amounts of meat on our tables. We need to reset, and we need to adjust. We need the policies, the investments, on the supply side and the consumer side. The WHO will be working on the consumer side' (emphasis added). Action Track 2 was characterized by an outspoken anti-livestock sentiment, involving a vegan advocate and leader of the youth climate organization Zero Hour International as Youth Vice-Chair, the CEO of 50by40, an umbrella organization incorporating vegetarian pressure groups, vegan-tech industries, and animal rights activists, as Civil Society Leader, a vegan activist of the Chinese Good Food Fund as one of the workstream leaders, the founder of Brighter Green, an organization with an animal rights agenda (Mia MacDonald), and an academic from Chatham House and Harvard's Animal Law Department, previously affiliated with the Seventh-Day Adventist University of Loma Linda (Helen Harwatt). Moreover, the Good Food Institute (GFI) had been invited to 'lead the innovation pillar' of Action Track 2 and provide 'influence on the innovation thinking across all five action tracks'. Criticism was not only related to the clear anti-livestock bias, but to the Summit setup in general. Farmers, rights groups, and 'special rapporteurs on the right to food' from the UN lambasted the Summit as an opaque takeover by transnational corporations (including producers of ultra-processed foods), philanthrocapitalists, and the WEF. How leaders of the Action Tracks were recruited has raised specific concerns because of the lack of transparency, absence of key expertise, and doubts about the origins of the funding..

[to be continued]Image EAT-Lancet and the World Economic Forum
"The Great Food Transformation"

What is it, and what could it mean for global diets?

Part 2. The Planetary Health Diet

The Planetary Health Diet heavily restricts animal source foods, calling red meat an ‘unhealthy’ food like sugar, and advocates for alternative proteins. In contrast to what is commonly assumed, its semi-vegetarian composition (with a vegan option) is primarily rooted in assumptions about human health, as to minimize chronic disease, rather than environmental considerations.

EAT's 'Planetary Health Diet' (or EAT-Lancet diet) is a semi-vegetarian or 'flexitarian' diet. It sets a target for red meat at 5 kg/p/y (within a window of 0-10 kg/p/y) and suggests a total meat intake of 16 kg/p/y (within a window of 0-31 kg/p/y, both red meat and poultry). The suggested caloric contribution by all animal source foods is a mere 14%. It prescribes small daily rations of beef or pork (each at 7 g) and eggs (13 g), in addition to some poultry (29 g), fish (28 g, but limited at 40 kcal), and dairy (250 g, limited at 153 kcal). For comparison, the limit for sugar was set at 31 g (120 kcal). The authors also endorse a meat-less vegetarian or vitamin B12-supplemented vegan approach as valid options.

Design rationale

It is important to take into account that the dietary calculations were 'not set due to environmental considerations, but were solely in light of health recommendations'. This his is in contrast to what is commonly assumed about the Planetary Health Diet, and how it is usually promoted. Even if there has also been an assessment of how the diet aligns with planetary boundaries, the actual composition is based on health theory, as designed by Walter Willett from Harvard University.

[To be continued]Image
Dec 17, 2023 47 tweets 23 min read
Animal rights activists typically rely on appeal to authority by citing an Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics position paper as a basis for asserting the safety of introducing infants and children to a vegan lifestyle. Beware: the source is biased, the message is dangerous.
🧵1/n Image Infants born to macrobiotic or vegan mothers risk low birth weight, nutrient deficiencies & worse: failure to thrive, rickets, hyperparathyroidism, anaemia, neuropathy, psychosis, lethargy, spinal cord degeneration, cerebral atrophy, optic, ...
Dec 2, 2023 13 tweets 6 min read
With #COP28 going on, animal rights activists seize the occasion to vilify meat and livestock (beef & cows in particular) as major culprits for climate change. Don't be fooled by their hyperbole, here's context:
Image Situating the problem:
Yes, livestock generate emissions. But...
Jul 7, 2023 9 tweets 3 min read
PURE publishes its healthy diet score.
Average per day: 563g fruit/veg, 48g legumes, 28g nuts, 26g fish, 186g dairy (mostly whole-fat), 55g red meat, 22g poultry. 17% kcal from protein.
"Least healthy": higher carb, lower fat/protein.…
Image "Our findings suggest that globally the key to a healthy diet is probably one that includes diverse natural foods in moderation, rather than restricting intake to a small number of food categories."
Jun 11, 2023 12 tweets 4 min read
Something's rotten in the West.
Lots of doom and gloom. Many people are depressed or neurotic. Why is that?
Time to revisit #Maslow's work from the 1940s.
It starts here:
"Man is a perpetually wanting animal"
🧵1/n Image But different "wants" are not interchangeable.
The human psyche needs a healthy foundation.
2/n Image
Jun 10, 2023 4 tweets 2 min read
This hasn't been sufficiently discussed:
Why does the association between red meat & mortality in the US pop up at a lower dose than in most other regions, especially when compared to global data (PURE study) where it is even non-existent?… Image Could it be because it isn't about red meat as such, but -for instance- about how people prepare meat, or how they insert it in dietary patterns? Or could it be that a "healthy user bias" disfavours meat in the US (where eating meat comes with moral overtones), but not globally? Image
May 20, 2023 8 tweets 3 min read
"The true believer is everywhere on the march"

Mass movements recruit specific psychotypes. Which ones and how do they behave? In 1951, Eric Hoffer tried to answer those questions.

1/n Image The book kicks off with general descriptions ("the frustrated" who are "intensely discontented yet not destitute"), but gets more specific in the later sections. Being discontent is not enough. They must have access to power, a poor sense of practical reality, & a doctrine.

2/n Image
May 9, 2023 5 tweets 2 min read
If you think "lab meat" would come with lower emissions than real meat, think again.
Well on the contrary: according to a new cradle-to-gate life cycle assessment, its impact would be orders of magnitude higher (4-25x !!) than median beef production.…

Image And then we're not even talking about what this would look like if we'd also account for the actual contribution to further warming (GWP versus GWP* metrics).…
May 4, 2023 15 tweets 6 min read
Because we used the word zealotry in the #DublinDeclaration, some people think we're overstating the issue. Here's @nyuniversity's "Toolkit for Local Policymakers" advocating taxes & bans on animal foods. Up to you to judge whether that's zealotry or not.… Image BANS - do not rely on consumer behaviour - force them into compliance and stigmatize the dissidents. Image
May 4, 2023 17 tweets 5 min read
@death_thegarden's Maren: "People shout from the mountaintops to “believe” in science [..] we’re in a strangely regressive time if science is something to “believe” in [..] it’s a framework of inquiry, not the inquiry itself"
▶️…… Image "We’re all speaking in this newspeak of percentages & abstractions in an attempt to validate our worldview & obfuscate our complicity in the mess we’re all in. No one can seem to agree on the numbers, yet without wielding them, our worldview is considered backwards & ignorant"
Apr 30, 2023 5 tweets 3 min read
"Close to a thousand experts unite behind statement that rejects ‘zealotry’ of plant-based diets and promotes livestock farming": the #DublinDeclaration on the Societal Role of Livestock… Full text also here:…
Apr 28, 2023 5 tweets 2 min read
“When I am asked by a concerned citizen about those ‘wretched’ #cows and whatever else, I say, 'well hold on, before you criticise my cows [..]: we are the custodians of the nation’s #carbon. How much carbon do you manage?' And there is a silence"… “if we were to convert the whole farm into multispecies swards [we] could be net zero today without adjusting stocking density [but while] cattle &sheep production can be beyond carbon neutral, current policy frameworks in Europe only measure what farms emit, not what they store" Image
Apr 17, 2023 8 tweets 5 min read
This Special Issue of Animal Frontiers was written by a stellar interdisciplinary consortium of experts, to summarize the evidence on the societal impact of #meat. We hope that it may serve as a reference for future discussions on this vital topic.

🧵1/n As stated in our editorial (with co-guest editor @ederer_peer) "our request of the authors was not to reflect on the most granular levels of current scientific argumentation [but] to derive what can be robustly learned & has most societal significance"
2/n… Image
Apr 15, 2023 11 tweets 3 min read
Is there something like "too little" 🥩 for health?

"The role of meat in the human diet: evolutionary aspects and nutritional value"
🧵1/n… Aspects of human anatomy, digestion, & metabolism diverged from other primates, indicating evolutionary reliance on, & compatibility with, substantial meat intake. Implications of a disconnect from evolutionary dietary patterns may contribute to today’s burden of disease.

Apr 15, 2023 7 tweets 2 min read
Is there something like "too much" 🥩 for health?

"Non-communicable disease risk associated with red and processed meat consumption—magnitude, certainty, and contextuality of risk?"
🧵1/n… Mean global intakes per person of red and processed meats are 51 & 17 g/day respectively. Consumption is lowest in South Asia (7 & 3 g/d), and highest in Central Europe/Asia (114 & 54 g/d).

Mar 27, 2023 5 tweets 2 min read
According to the @GOALSciences model (check out the tool!) "rabbit meat makes up 0.22% of total meat production".

The existential question here is: 🐇
valuable nutrition or too-cute-to-eat?… What do you say, tweeps? Rabbits🐰 are:
Mar 4, 2023 7 tweets 2 min read
🧵with quotes from "The Open Conspiracy", written in 1931 by HG Wells.
Looks like the Club of Rome and WEF are just copycats, recycling old ideas. A solid dose of technocracy: centralized control over populations and natural resources.
Feb 5, 2023 8 tweets 5 min read
Essentially, @WEF strategy is to use buzzwords in an attempt "to put a 'progressive' gloss on the neoliberal world of austerity, exploitation, dispossession, and destruction imposed by the globalized capitalist class on the people and ecologies of our planet" The end game of @WEF-style neoliberal corporate globalization? To operate through global management institutions [that] "have created a new world system where [..] sovereignty [has] been severely weakened [&] transferred to investors[,] corporations[,] international bodies [..]"
Jan 25, 2023 7 tweets 4 min read
"Regen ag may open the doors to greenwashing", says one of the exponents of today's corporate greenwashing: the @FOLUCoalition, a platform launched by the @WBCSD, Yara, Unilever, and endorsed by the @WEF.

#Hypocrites… Here's Unilever. But in their case it's genuine and heartfelt of course, certainly not "greenwashing" 🙄…
Jan 24, 2023 6 tweets 2 min read
@GeorgeMonbiot playing by Godwin's law. I'll just throw in another "mainstay of Nazi thought" then🙄
Jan 18, 2023 4 tweets 2 min read
A #wef/#Davos panel talking about "future proteins", meatless diets for billions, and the organization EAT - which is said to have "all facts & the policies". What is EAT? This, from 2014 👇 a "Davos for food". In practice, the dietary "policies" from EAT are part of a larger WEF-style technocracy, to be implemented by C40Cities, among others (having the EAT diet as a specific goal) - check this thread: