This week saw the ESRC kick off meeting at Kings Manor for the 2-year research programme titled, ‘Sustainable Consumption, the Middle Classes and Agri-food Ethics in the Global South’. The research is a collaboration between four N8 Universities (York, Newcastle, Sheffield and Durham) plus the Universities of Cape Town, Federal, Rio de Janeiro and Sun Yat-Sen. Co-Investigators Hector Gonzales Jimenez and Fernando Fastoso will lead the quantitative consumer research and Bob Doherty will lead the research impact component with in-country partners.
This research aims to examine the current and potential roles of consumption in the global South in addressing major global sustainability challenges in the food sector, evaluating the ethics, mobilization and practices of sustainable consumption. Its objective is to provide an original assessment of the institutional and cultural levers for change that are shaping different forms of sustainable food consumption in the dynamic urban contexts of rapidly growing middle classes in Brazil, China and South Africa. It aims to advance current research by conducting systematic cross-country comparisons, investigating the interconnectedness of online and offline spaces of sustainable consumption in global South contexts, and evaluating the potential of digital technologies to generate more socially and environmentally sustainable patterns of food consumption.
Developing sustainable pathways is of great interest to many stakeholders and of course supports Sustainable Development Goal 12 (Sustainable Consumption & Production). Bob Doherty explains ‘the kick-off meeting finalised the programme of work and exact timelines with our partners. The York theoretical marketing expertise on consumer behaviour and ethical markets will support the intellectual development of the programme’.