EurSafe 2013 - Conference Theme

Last changed: 21 September 2012

The Ethics of Consumption: The Citizen, The Market, and The Law
EurSafe, Uppsala, Sweden, September 11-14, 2013

Welcome to the 11th Congress of the European Society for Agricultural and Food Ethics, Uppsala, Sweden, September 11-14, 2013!

The congress theme is The Ethics of Consumption: The Citizen, The Market, and The Law.

The deadline for submissions has passed, but you are still most wecome to participate in the conference, and we are still looking for chairs for some sessions . Please go to the registration page for more information, contact details, or to sign up.

Confirmed Keynote Speakers

  • Philip Cafaro, Colorado State University, USA
  • Dorothea Kleine, University of London, UK
  • Mara Miele, Cardiff University, UK
  • Soraj Hongladarom, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand

EurSafe 2013 is a forum for discussion of ethical issues at the intersection between social, economic and legal aspects of consumption of food and agricultural products. The congress has three main sub themes connected to the overall issue of ethical consumption. However, general contributions to agricultural and food ethics are also welcome.

While arguably remarkably efficient, the present system for agriculture and food production involves a number of negative consequences for human health, the environment, and animal welfare. Great challenges lie ahead as we are facing population growth and climate change. It is frequently argued that one of the keys to meeting those challenges lies in changing consumption patterns, for instance through reducing meat consumption, switching to organic or fair trade products, boycotting or 'buycotting' certain products, or consuming less overall. There is considerable disagreement regarding how to bring this about, whose responsibility it is, and even whether it is desirable. Is it a question of political initiatives, the virtues and vices of individual consumers in the developed world, or something else?

The Citizen: To an increasing degree, individuals' actions and choice of lifestyle have been put into focus rather than political and collective solutions. This raises questions such as: What roles and responsibilities regarding food consumption are related to being a citizen and consumer respectively? Is there any significant difference between a 'food consumer' and a 'food citizen'? Do we need to contextualize our expectations to the ethical consumer / citizen (e.g. in respect to culture, tradition, religion) or would we rather opt for a universal 'food citizen' codex?

The Market: Ethical consumption proceeds in the midst of economic realities like free trade and its barriers, agricultural subsidies, consumer expectations and preferences, labelling and 'glocalness' and so called organic alternatives. Given the two main trends in food marketing; globalisation on the one hand, and strive for localisation or regional or traditional food markets on the other, the issue of ethical consumption becomes closely related to understanding content and impacts of the tension between a variety of interests and ethical aspects. What is the role of retailers, producers and transport chains and waste processing in this tension? How are we to create efficient communication built on trust in the junction of economic factors, politics and human action as regards food consumption? What is the contribution of schemes like CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), certification systems and fair trade to a dialogue between these actors?

The Law: In the light of an increasing strive for ethical consumption the role, limits and possibilities of legislation are important to discuss. Traditionally legislation sets a minimum level, partly due to respect for cultural differences. However, globalization has promoted a deregulation of the food market and therefore both national and international institutions find it difficult to develop intervention tools that can reorient the food market. In the case of the European Union, food legislation does not set any more a minimum level as it usually did. Several factors have provoked a harmonization at maximum levels that aims at free trade and has relevant collateral consequences. Is the role of legislation rather to drive a change in consumer and market behaviour? If so, how to balance with freedom of choice, but also with global food security, animal welfare and climate change mitigation? To what extent can legislation mirror 'the' public view changing over time? How to value public participation in the development of food policies and legislation? Who defines what constitutes a 'good food legislation', its range - for whom, and based on what values?

If you have any questions, please contact the conference secretariat.
The web site will be updated gradually with further details

Kind regards,
Helena Röcklinsberg, Per Sandin, Anne Algers, Bo Algers and Jan Hultgren
The EurSafe 2013 Organising Committee, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Conference Secretariat: Academic Conferences
Tel. +46 18 67 10 03
Fax. +46 18 67 35 30

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