Keynote Speaker Biographies


Mike Barry

Former Director of Sustainable Business, Marks & Spencer

Mike is a Sustainable Change Maker and ex-Director of Sustainable Business at the retailer Marks & Spencer. A passionate believer that we need a fundamentally different way to doing business, one that’s good for customers, colleagues, citizens, communities, society and planet alike.

He worked as part of the M&S leadership team to integrate sustainability into the heart of the business across their customer proposition, global retail channels and supply chains. This included developing the business case; coaching/mentoring colleagues; changing business processes; customer and stakeholder engagement; and business model innovation.

He is a Visiting Fellow at the Smith Centre for Enterprise and the Environment at Oxford University and a Senior Associate at the Cambridge Programme for Sustainable Leadership. He is a chemistry graduate from Sheffield University. You can follow Mike @planamikebarry or on LinkedIn.

Professor Tim Benton 

Dean of Strategic Research Initiatives, University of Leeds

Professor Tim Benton is Research Director of the Energy, Environment and Resources Department at the Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House, UK, and Professor of Ecology at the University of Leeds.  From 2011-2016 he was the “Champion” of the UK’s Global Food Security programme which was a multi-agency partnership of the UK’s public bodies (government departments, devolved governments and research councils) with an interest in the challenges around food.  He was a lead author on the 2019 IPCC Special Report on Food, Land and Climate, and is an Agenda Steward of the World Economic Forum.  He has published over 150 academic papers, many on the topics of agriculture and its sustainability.  His particular interest is currently on food system resilience in the face of climate change.


Emma Lewell-Buck

MP for South Shields and sponsor of the Food Insecurity Bill

Emma Lewell-Buck is the Labour Member of Parliament for South Shields. Before entering the House of Commons, Emma worked as a child protection social worker. She served as Councillor for the Primrose Ward in South Tyneside and as Lead Member for adult social care. Emma was first elected as MP for South Shields in 2013.

Emma was born in South Shields and is the first woman to represent the Constituency in Parliament. She has been a member of the House of Commons Environment, Food & Rural Affairs and the Work and Pensions Select Committees.  Emma has served in the Shadow Front Bench Team as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Shadow Home Secretary and to the Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. She has been a Shadow Minister within the Communities and Local Government team and a Shadow Minister for Children and Families in the Education Team.  Emma is a founder member of an All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger. The group aims to raise awareness around the problem of hunger in this country, to try to understand the underlying causes and to explore ways of addressing the issues.

In November 2017, Emma introduced a Bill that seeks to place a duty on the Government to routinely and robustly measure the level of food insecurity in the UK. Emma is determined that the Government must be held to account, and that relies on transparent reporting about household food security.  She is campaigning alongside End Hunger UK to ensure the Government understands the true scale of hidden hunger in the UK and to raise awareness of household food insecurity and its devastating impact on the lives of adults and children.

Ali Capper

NFU Horticulture and Potato Board Chair

A top fruit (including cider apples) and hops grower in Worcestershire, Ali Capper has been chairman of the NFU Horticulture & Potatoes board since 2016. Ali is also Executive Chair of English Apples & Pears and a Director of the British Hop Association and Hop Industry Committee.

Ali said: “The horticulture and potatoes sector is extremely efficient, productive and innovative, and the next two years will be absolutely crucial as we deal with the UK leaving the EU.

“We need to make sure that we have access to a competent and reliable workforce in order to continue delivering food for the nation. As a team, we will be working extremely hard to get the best deal for growers.”

Professor Olivier De Schutter

Former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food

Olivier De Schutter was the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to Food from 2008 to 2014.  He is a Professor of international human rights law, European Union law and legal theory at the University of Louvain (UCLouvain), Belgium, as well as at the College of Europe and at Sciences Po in Paris.

He is the first chair of the Belgian Advisory Council on Policy Coherence for Development and he co-chairs the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food). IPES-Food employs a holistic food systems lens and focuses on the political economy of food systems, i.e., the differential power of actors to influence priority-setting and decision-making.

His publications are in the area of international human rights and fundamental rights in the EU, with a particular emphasis on economic and social rights and on the relationship between iPES Foodhuman rights and governance. In 2013 Olivier De Schutter was awarded the prestigious Francqui Prize, in recognition of his contributions to the theory of governance, EU law, and international and European human rights law.

Dr Emma Keller

Agricultural Commodities Manager at WWF

Emma Keller is a sustainability scientist with expertise in aspects of sustainable agriculture, carbon management and measurement and supply chains. She works for the WWF and is responsible for strengthening the engagement on soy, palm oil, beef/leather and cotton within the WWF network and leading on activities with UK companies, financial institutions and government on the need for responsible sourcing and stewardship.

Emma is currently in the final stages of completing an Engineering Doctorate (EngD) in Sustainability for Engineering and Energy Systems in collaboration with Unilever and the University of Surrey. Her thesis investigates how to improve management and measurement of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) with an agricultural food supply chain, focusing at the farm level.

Previously, for four years, Emma was part of Unilever’s sustainability team applying life-cycle thinking to a diverse range of problems and areas for further research. Emma was a core part of the deployment of Unilever’s greenhouse gas calculator tool within the supply chain. She also played a key role in the establishment of the Cool Farm Institute of which Unilever is a founding member.

Professor Laurens Klerkx

Wageningen University

Laurens is Professor at the Knowledge, Technology and Innovation Group of Wageningen University, The Netherlands, of which he has been part since 2002. He obtained his PhD from the same university and  is an expert in the field of (agricultural) innovation studies, doing social science research and teaching and supervision (at Bachelor, Master and PhD level) on various topics in this area.

Laurens has done research in many countries, such as The Netherlands, England, New Zealand, Vietnam, Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana, Chile and Mexico and has (co-)authored and published more than 90 articles in international peer reviewed journals. His work informs policy makers, through contributions to policy oriented publications and direct engagement through invited presentations with organizations like the World Bank, the European Commission, the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the United Nations Commission for Trade and Development (UNCTAD). Furthermore, he frequently interacts with practitioners through presentations and workshops on systemic perspectives on innovation and the implications for research and development professionals.

Wageningen University LogoLaurens is a member of the editorial board of a number of journals and he is a member of the steering committee of the International Farming Systems Association, member of the Science Advisory Panel of AgResearch Ltd (New Zealand). He has held advisory positions for several research and innovation programmes and projects in Europe, New Zealand, Australia, and Latin America.

Professor Tim Lang

Professor of Food Policy, City University of London, Centre for Food Policy

Tim Lang has been Professor of Food Policy at City University London’s Centre for Food Policy since 2002. He founded the Centre in 1994. After a PhD in social psychology at Leeds University, he became a hill farmer in the 1970s in the Forest of Bowland, Lancashire which shifted his attention to food policy, where it has been ever since. For years, he’s engaged in academic and public research and debate about its direction, locally to globally. His abiding interest is how policy addresses the mixed challenge of being food for the environment, health, social justice, and citizens. What is a good food system? How is ours measured and measuring up?

He has been a consultant to the World Health Organisation (eg auditing the Global Top 25 Food Companies on food and health 2005), FAO (eg co-chairing the FAO definition of sustainable diets 2010) and UNEP (eg co-writing its 2012 Avoiding Future Famines report). He has been a special advisor to four House of Commons Select Committee inquiries, two on food standards (1998-9 & 1999), globalisation (2000) and obesity (2003-04), and a consultant on food security to the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House 2007-09). He was a Commissioner on the UK Government’s Sustainable Development Commission (2006-11), reviewing progress on food sustainability. He was on the Council of Food Policy Advisors to the Dept for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (2008-10), and is a member of the Mayor of London’s Food Board (2009 – present). He helped launch the 100 World Cities Urban Food Policy Pact in Milan 2015.

He and the Centre for Food Policy at City University London work closely with scientific and civil society organisations, the latter in the UK notably through Sustain (which he chaired in the past), the UK Food Group, and Food & Climate Research Network (Oxford University). He has been Vice-President of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (since 1999) Centre for Food Policyand President of Garden Organic (since 2008). He is special advisor to the Food Research Collaboration, an inter-University, inter-disciplinary academic collaboration with UK civil society ( which he founded, and helped create City’s role in the 5 University IFSTAL partnership ( which shares food systems thinking for post-graduates in a wide range of disciplines.

He has written and co-written many articles, reports, chapters and books.

Professor Tom MacMillan

Elizabeth Creak Chair in Rural Policy and Strategy, Royal Agricultural University

Professor MacMillan is the Creak Chair in Rural Policy and Strategy and  focuses on informing national and international policy relating to the land-based sector, the environment and food.

Tom joined the RAU from the Soil Association, where he was Director of Innovation. There, he founded the Innovative Farmers network, which supports practical ‘field labs’ by farmers, and led an overhaul of organic standards.

Tom is also Head of Research for the RSA Food, Farming & Countryside Commission.

From 2003-2011 he was Executive Director of the Food Ethics Council, which received the BBC Food & Farming Derek Cooper Award for its Food & Fairness Inquiry. He has served on various advisory groups and boards, including for the Cabinet Office’s Food Matters report, ScienceWise, the BBSRC, Sustain and the Brighton & Hove Food Partnership.

He has a PhD in geography from the University of Manchester, where he investigated the use and abuse of science in food regulation.

Carina Millstone 

Executive Director of Feedback, founder of The Orchard Project

Carina is the Executive Director of Feedback, an environmental campaign group that aims to regenerate nature by transforming the food system. Her career began in the business world working as a sustainability consultant for Environmental Resources Management, before she realised our planetary ecological crisis would not be solved in the corporate boardrooms in which it was created. She has since worked with several  system change campaigning and movement organisations, including Changing Markets in the UK and the New Economy Coalition in the US.

Feedback LogoA committed permaculturalist, she founded The Orchard Project, a charity working with community groups in cities across the UK to plant and nurture community orchards in public urban spaces. Carina has also been a Research Fellow of the Global Development and Environment Institute of Tufts University and of the Schumacher Institute. Her book, Frugal Value: Designing Business for a Crowded Planet (Routledge, 2017), provides a blueprint for organisations in an ecologically sustainable economy.

Anna Wißmann

Coordinator of Cologne Food Policy Council (FPC)

Anna WissmanAnna’s academic background is in development studies and human geography. She worked for IFOAM-Organics International for several years, supporting the global organic movement through advocacy and leadership development. In 2016 and 2017, she was the first person to be employed in the newly emerging movement of food policy councils (FPCs), as the coordinator of the Cologne FPC, the first to be founded in Germany and neighbouring countries.

Since the beginning of 2018, she has been working to build the FPC network, currently counting 50 members in cities and towns in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Northern Italy (South Tyrol) and the Netherlands.