But a closer look at the corporations and think tanks the WEF is partnering with to usher in this global transformation suggests that the real motive is tighter corporate control over the food system by means of technological solutions.
Vandana Shiva, scholar, environmentalist, food sovereignty advocate and author, told The Defender, “The Great Reset is about multinational corporate stakeholders at the World Economic Forum controlling as many elements of planetary life as they possibly can. From the digital data humans produce to each morsel of food we eat.”
The WEF describes itself as “the global platform for public-private cooperation” that creates partnerships between corporations, politicians, intellectuals, scientists and other leaders of society to “define, discuss and advance key issues on the global agenda.”
According to WEF’s founder and executive chairman, Klaus Schwab, the forum is guided by the goal of positioning “private corporations as the trustees of society” to “address social and environmental challenges.”
In July, Schwab published a 195-page book, “COVID-19: The Great Reset,” in which he challenged industry leaders and decision makers to “make good use of the pandemic by not letting the crisis go to waste.”
TIME magazine (whose owner Marc Benioff is a WEF board member) recently partnered with the WEF to cover The Great Reset and to provide a “look at how the COVID-19 pandemic provides a unique opportunity to transform the way we live.”
The Great Reset is meant to be all-encompassing. Its partner organizations include the biggest players in data collection, telecommunications, weapons manufacturing, finance, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and the food industry.
The WEF’s plans for the “reset” of food and agriculture include projects and strategic partnerships that favor genetically modified organisms, lab-made proteins and pharmaceuticals and industrial chemicals as sustainable solutions to food and health issues.
For example, WEF has promoted and partnered with an organization called EAT Forum. EAT Forum describes itself as a “Davos for food” that plans to “add value to business and industry” and “set the political agenda.”
EAT was co-founded by Wellcome Trust, an organization established with funds from GlaxoSmithKline and which still has strategic partnerships with the drugmaker. EAT collaborates with nearly 40 city governments in Europe, Africa, Asia, North America, South America and Australia. The organization also assists the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in the “creation of new dietary guidelines” and sustainable development initiatives.
According to Federic Leroy, a food science and biotechnology professor at University of Brussels, EAT network interacts closely with some of the biggest imitation meat companies, including Impossible Foods and other biotech companies, which aim to replace wholesome nutritious foods with genetically modified lab creations.
“They frame it as healthy and sustainable, which of course it is neither,” Leroy told The Defender.
Impossible Foods was initially co-funded by Google, Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates. Recent lab results showed the company’s imitation meat contained glyphosate levels 11 times higher than its closest competitor.
EAT’s biggest initiative is called FReSH, which the organization describes as an effort to drive the transformation of the food system. The project’s partners include Bayer, Cargill, Syngenta, Unilever and even tech giant Google.
“Companies like Unilever and Bayer and other pharmaceutical companies are already chemical processors — so many of these companies are very well positioned to profit off of this new food business which revolves around processing chemicals and extracts needed to produce these lab-made foods on a global scale,” Leroy said.
In Schwab’s book, he discusses how biotechnology and genetically modified food should become a central pillar to repairing global food scarcity issues, issues which COVID has revealed and exacerbated.
He writes “global food security will only be achieved if regulations on genetically modified foods are adapted to reflect the reality that gene editing offers a precise, efficient and safe method of improving crops.”
Shiva disagrees. She told The Defender that the “WEF is parading fake science,” and “for Mr. Schwab to promote these technologies as solutions proves that The Great Reset is about maintaining and empowering a corporate extraction machine and the private ownership of life.”
EAT developed what it refers to as “the planetary health diet,” which the WEF champions as the “sustainable dietary solution of the future.” But according to Leroy, it’s a diet that’s supposed to replace everything else. “The diet aims to cut the meat and dairy intake of the global population by as much as 90% in some cases and replaces it with lab-made foods, cereals and oil,” he said.
Shiva further explained, “EAT’s proposed diet is not about nutrition at all, it’s about big business and it’s about a corporate takeover of the food system.”
According to EAT’s own reports, the big adjustments the organization and its corporate partners want to make to the food system are “unlikely to be successful if left up to the individual,” and the changes they wish to impose on societal eating habits and food “require reframing at the systemic level with hard policy interventions that include laws, fiscal measures, subsidies and penalties, trade reconfiguration and other economic and structural measures.”
But Shiva said this is the wrong approach, because “all of the science” shows that diets should be centered around regional and geographical biodiversity. She explained that “EAT’s uniform global diet will be produced with western technology and agricultural chemicals. Forcing this onto sovereign nations by multinational lobbying is what I refer to as food imperialism.”