Theater of Cruelty

Collaborate or counteract?

The cane conservative agricultural leaders act as a plug in the system, preventing increased production of eco-food.


[chronicle] At Choice, we buy food for NOK 700 million every year. Over the past year we have been working to provide our guests with organic food. It's easier said than done.

Organic food is short-lived food, spares animals and reduces transport emissions. Organic food is natural and good food. More and more people want to choose organic. In other countries we see a green trend. The fact that it has not come any further here is primarily due to a rarity of the rare in the production chain. It is then thought that someone worked actively to prevent organic goods from competing with conventional ones. Others do not know what to do but lack understanding of the dimensions. As a farmer I met. He was interested in delivering organic eggs to our hotels and asked how many I needed.

- About 20.000 eggs, I replied.

- I can do that, said the farmer after thinking about it a bit.

"Every day," I said.

And then it got quiet.

The responsibility of the social actors. If we were to serve only organic food at our 157 hotels, we would vacuum the entire Scandinavian market. Still, that would hardly have been enough. After conducting a pilot scheme with an ecological alternative at three of our hotels, we have learned that even it requires dedication, effort and focus out of the ordinary. But we still have the ambition to introduce an ecological alternative to all our hotels. Because the guests want it. Because it is profitable. And because it is important.

My commitment to the environment has come creeping up over the years. I was not among those who spent their youth in Nature and Youth. And I will admit one more thing: When we started saving in Choice, it was first and foremost to save money. But this view has changed. Today we are Scandinavia's largest hotel chain. We operate profitably, make good money and have 8000 employees. We are about to become a social player, with enough market power that it gives us influence. The calculation is simple: environmental responsibility increases proportionately with earnings. This means that all consumers have a responsibility to choose environmentally friendly when shopping. This means that Choice must do what we can to reduce its own emissions and choose suppliers that do the same. This means that Norway as a sea-rich oil nation must take on a greater responsibility both in reducing emissions and in developing the sustainable technology of the future. And in this context, this means that the collaborators must take greater responsibility when it comes to making organic food and environmentally friendly products available and competitive on price. The latter is crucial for the products to have a commercial impact on the consumer at such a level that it can make a difference for nothing but palate and conscience.

If the numbers decide. In the Norwegian Farmers' Union and the Agricultural Cooperation, they obviously have none of the parts. Here is the money that goes. If you let the numbers control the development you are sitting to count. But you can't count on life. And these powerful organizations cannot believe that they can count on the future. If they do, the government will never reach the goal that 15 per cent of the food produced in Norway will be organic in 2015. Today that figure is two per cent. And as long as those who control agriculture and the food chains continue to bathe in their own brake bag, that figure will remain there.

While the Norwegian Farmers' and Peasants' Association is actively working for an organic conversion in agriculture, it seems that the Norwegian Farmers' Association and the Agricultural Cooperation are rather hiding behind the fact that there are already some organic products on the market that are not public winners. The argument is known. However, the effort behind making people choose organic is unknown. Distribution restrictions and prices slow down the population's purchase of organic food. Experience from others shows that when organic food is offered on par with other food, many people prefer organic food.

Reactionary and conservative. When the organic product range in stores is so poor, the turnover of organic products must necessarily be low. This is a symptom that we have a value chain for organic food production that does not work. The members of the agricultural organizations advocate a greater ecological effort. They want to produce more. It is agriculture's own organizations that are lagging behind. Maybe it's because the leaders are conservative, or they think it is part of the job instruction to be reactionary. Either way, they are a plug in the system, a bottleneck that harms the environment and development.

But they are not the only ones. Large parts of Norwegian agriculture are politically controlled, so it is also a political responsibility to ensure increased production of organic products. Demand is obviously not incentive enough to increase production of organic goods. There must be structural barriers that prevent more Norwegian farmers from producing organic, and that the increase in organic land for 2006 was at poor 0,1 per cent. If there is anything wrong with the system, it is the politicians' responsibility to rectify this.

FAO, the United Nations Agricultural Organization, says that the world's production of grain and cereals is declining. They say that today's high-intensity way of producing food will not respond to the needs of the future. At the same time, FAO points out that organic production worldwide can increase production by 132 percent. Last words are hardly said in this matter, but there is reason to take this seriously. Fortunately, there are signals that the red-green government is doing it.

At the same time, the toolbox to reach the target of 15 percent organic, is poor on management tools. A simple tool could be that the state used its purchasing power to build distribution and volume around the organic products. Several Swedish and Danish municipalities have done this, while in Norway there have been only a few attempts.

The changes in consumer power are one of the most exciting features of social development. Consumer power is the power of the people. People are becoming more aware of which players they want to leave money with. Consumers have begun to notice corporate social responsibility and other matters that speak to the heart, and take this into account when choosing who they want to act on.

Anyone who wants to convince today's and tomorrow's customers has to compete for things other than price and design. Today's customers most often buy from those they like. Tomorrow's customers will do even more. Therefore, our ambition is for all our hotels to offer a full ecological menu. And we do not intend to wait for the collaboration pumps to remove the garbage. Until then, both time and global warming are going too fast. ?

You may also like