DMI’s longtime PR firm is link to EAT Lancet
Decade of ‘players’ and ‘playbooks’ drive youth toward global food transformation endzone
By Sherry Bunting, Farmshine, February 15, 2019
BROWNSTOWN, Pa. — Edelman, a communications marketing and public relations company, which has been called the world’s largest global public relations firm, figures prominently as a herd-dog bringing non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and corporations together in the launch of the EAT Lancet forum last month.
Edelman also figures prominently in its similar work for DMI and GENYOUth. Richard Edelman, CEO and president of the company, sits on the board ofGENYOUth. According to a 2011 MarketWatch article, Edelman was instrumental in recruiting Alexis Glick to be CEO of GENYOUth.
He and his company have had a working relationship with DMI for 20 years, according to Edelman. The company most recently crafted and launched DMI’s Undeniably Dairy campaign.
None of this is, by itself, alarming, until peeling back the layers to see that Edelman is the core asset for the EAT FReSH launch as part of its move toward working with clients to build social values into business communication goals. The company is known for its annual Edelman Trust Barometer that monitors and interprets societal shifts.
So, what is EAT Lancet and what is EAT FReSH?
Dairy producers who attended the Pennsylvania Dairy Summit recently in Lancaster may have heard Dr. Frank Mitloehner, a climate and air quality expert from the University of California, Davis, talk about climate change and how cows are the solution, not the problem. (click here to read about that)
Dr. Mitloehner talked about how he found the flaws that led to retractions in the 2012 United Nations FAO report on Livestock’s Long Shadow. His discovery led to a substantial change in the report’s original assessment that animal agriculture accounted for 18% of green house gas (GHG) emissions, when the real number “corrected by the authors” is 3.9%.
The EAT Lancet Commission’s report released in January recycles portions of the old and discredited ‘longshadow’ report — and its flawed process — with a new approach to drive global eating patterns toward vegan goals for what it deems to be the pathway to healthy people and a healthy planet.
Mitloehner was confident last week that this EAT Lancet report is full of inaccuracies where milk and meat production are concerned. He outlined them methodically.
So what’s the connection of all of this to checkoff? In a word: Edelman.
In a May 2018 blog post at the company website, CEO and president Richard Edelman wrote about the company’s involvement in the EAT Lancet Commission. He wrote about the EAT FReSH initiative initially involving 25 food and agriculture supply-chain companies, which has since grown to 41. Some of the logos on the accompanying graphic reveal further cross-over alliances with GENYOUth
PepsiCo is one example. (And PepsiCo — recently honored by GENYOUth for buying 100 school breakfast carts at a reported cost of $7000 each – has detailed on its website its health and sustainability goals to be focused on plant-based diet leadership, which they’ve pursued this year with the launch of Quaker Oat beverage, a milk alternative, and with their nutrition “greenhouse” incubator program working with startup companies on non-dairy cheese and non-dairy yogurt).
Another cross-over alliance is Corteva Agriscience / DuPont / Dow as Dupont is part of the corporate EAT FReSH alliance and Corteva now has representation on the GENYOUth board via Krysta Harden, who served as Deputy Secretary of Agriculture under Secretary Vilsack.
Back to the EAT Lancet report and the EAT FReSH Initiative (see eatforum.org), Edelman writes in May 2018 – eight months before the EAT launch: “Food Reform for Sustainability and Health (FReSH) was launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the EAT Foundation (EAT). The alliance of 41 global food and agricultural companies aims to create new pathways to reach healthy, enjoyable diets for all, produced responsibly within planetary boundaries.”
Richard Edelman continues in his blog post, stating: “Edelman has partnered with (EAT) FReSH to help accelerate transformational change in global food systems.”
These two paragraphs, alone, signal what has occurred since January 2019 in the form of internal media launches, even though the first EAT Forum in the U.S., held at the United Nations last week, had a small media presence on site to “cover” it. In fact, dairy farmers and leaders listening to Dr. Mitloehner at the Pa. Dairy Summit last week breathed a collective sigh of relief because there had been little media coverage of the EAT Forum at the UN on the day before.
Instead, the PR campaign is in full swing. Videos about what the world would be like if it all went vegan were released a few weeks prior by the internationally-renowend magazine, The Economist.
Stories picking up portions of the report signaling animal agriculture in various separate ways as threatening the planet’s ecosystem have been circulating and published in media such as The Guardian.
Democrats, led by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, launched the Green New Deal resolution for which the original “FAQ” included a statement about “eliminating farting cows” and transforming the food system.
A high-profile interview with 2020 presidential hopeful Rep. Cory Booker, a vegan, this week quoted his thoughts. Here’s a sample: “The tragic reality is this planet simply can’t sustain billions of people consuming industrially-produced animal agriculture because of environmental impact.”
These are but a few examples of the insidious PR campaign that has erupted from all angles in the span of a few weeks on the one hand while the actual media coverage of the details of the EAT Lancet Report, itself, have been ‘light.’
Back to Edelman’s May 2018 blog, where he talks about Lara Luten, who is the account director for Edelman, Amsterdam. In that blog post prior to the EAT launch, Edelman wrote that Luten “will be helping the (EAT FReSH) partnership build communications and marketing plans in preparation for the Stockholm Food Forum and the upcoming (EAT) Lancet Commission Report.”
This EAT deal has a marketing plan underway. Meanwhile, the science behind it needs to be tried in the press with transparency on its significant shortcomings. A marketing campaign is guiding the public discussion instead.
The EAT Lancet Report calls for drastic reductions in dairy and meat consumption, globally. It mentions a carbon tax on foods derived from cattle. It positions a more vegan diet as the only way to feed 10 billion people seeking to transform the food supply to exist “within planetary boundaries” by 2030 – all based on science that is far from being settled on a dietary or planetary level — while completely overlooking science showing cows to be the solution, not the problem.
Going back to Edelman’s May 2018 blog post again for a moment, he describes his company’s work in the EAT launch as “working in a pre-competitive environment on a project that is driving impact by leading change.”
This same sort of pre-competitive environment has been used by DMI in the formation of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy eight to 10 years ago, which works on new products for checkoff grant funding as well as establishing sustainability and stewardship parameters for dairy farms to follow that are then incorporated at program-and-enforcement-levels by milk buyers and cooperatives down through the supply-chain to the farms that fund the checkoff.
What’s all this got to do with GENYOUth and helping kids be healthier in school?
GENYOUth has emerged as an alliance of corporations, government, NGOs and other ‘thought leaders’ on various areas of youth as change agents.
Here, too, Edelman is the prime mover on public relations that one can argue has morphed into NGO social-engineering.
GENYOUth describes its view of youth as “change agents”. Throughout its program layers, youth are educated and ‘herded’ toward the plant-based, low-fat, global-sustainability platforms that form the foundation for the very food-system transformation that the EAT Lancet Commission advocated in its report.
The wheels for this global agenda were set in motion 30 years ago by progressively more restrictive iterations of USDA Dietary Guidelines. Over the past 10 years, the progress toward this end was hastened under the Obama/Vilsack administration, in part through an alliance with Dairy Checkoff and others to educate and feed America’s youth along the lines of these transformational food choices – in the name of fighting obesity — even as obesity and diabetes levels worsened among America’s youth.
In the name of fighting obesity and diabetes, the Clinton Foundation has also been actively involved for at least 10 years, according to former President Bill Clinton’s remarks during his YouTube-televised speech at the 2017 GENYOUth Gala, where Clinton, a vegan, presented the Vanguard Award that year to his friend, former Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.