The access of citizen-consumers to Swiss agro-food decision processes: often called upon, rarely influential
- Conference Poster
The poster presents the results of a project conducted as part of the National Research Program 69 on “Healthy Nutrition and Sustainable Food Production”. Considering citizen-consumers involvement as a key to the economic success and political legitimacy of sustainable food systems, the project analyses how these actors, as individuals or organized groups, actually affect decision processes in Switzerland. By exploring who is involved in food governance, how and why, the research unveils a paradox in the codetermination rights of citizen-consumers in the decisionmaking processes related to sustainable food systems. On the one hand, their preferences are constantly put forward and the organisations defending their interests are increasingly consulted. Consumer willingness to pay for regional and ecological products justify many decisions made by political and economic stakeholders, and the literature underlines their growing role in explaining the direction undertaken by agro-food systems. The empirical research conducted as part of the project provides, however, a more nuanced picture. Based on four in-depth case studies located in Switzerland (Swissness legislation, carbon labelling, organic farming, and the development of a public trademark in Geneva), the results highlight the intrinsic complexity of food governance, the diversity of the actors involved, and the asymmetry of power between them. They show how citizen-consumers’ influence remains actually quite small once discussions become technical or crucial economic challenges are addressed. Consumer preferences, as well as the organisations defending their interests, still have a limited influence in a closed and unequal decision-making system Show more
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Book titleProceedings of the 2016 World Food System Center Annual Symposium
Pages / Article No.
Organisational unit08693 - Natural Resource Policy and Law / Natural Resource Policy and Law
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