www.foodtechnology.co.nz 17 Traceability Knowing where product came from and how it got here is vital to a robust supply chain. your supply chain. 0800 102 356 HM058 Mistrust, however, exists, often exacerbated by media reports which represent ‘both sides’ without giving an indication of the weight of opinion – or even whether it is fact or feeling-based. Walking the boundary, or being the bridge, between facts and feelings is the role of the science communicator. We must be able to describe what is known, and also explain what is not known and what the implications might be. Options for policies and implementations can then be developed by the appropriate parties, but it is not the role of the science communicator or advisor to develop the strategies required. Impartial and informed advice is the platform from which the future can be developed; it is not a co-management approach. The fundamental challenge in the link between facts and feelings is both the increasing lack of understanding and the increasing mistrust in the work of science globally, not just in New Zealand. Hence the increasing global recognition that evidence should play a greater role in the policy process than it has, and Sir Peter’s work in science advice – trying to encourage all parties to achieve a common understanding of evidence (rather than emotion) and how it should be assessed. Part of my new role will be to promote scientific understanding of, and engagement with, science. The objective will be to increase the public understanding of the role of science, and how the EPA is assisting in the development of New Zealand. This will require explaining the application of science, the methods and limitation involved, and the opportunities ahead for the country. The EPA has linked this new role to being a science ambassador, driving communications and public awareness of science and, indeed, the work of the EPA. For the food technology industry - from soil to saliva (or paddock to plate, block to bowl, grass to glass) - the EPA has a role to play in new organisms, hazardous substances, resource management, the ETS and the Economic Zone - New Zealand’s future, in fact. Almost every major decision on development in the industry will touch on an area in which the EPA is involved. Society uses science in many ways for its benefit. Although there have been some rogue elements in science which have allowed distrust to emerge, the role of the EPA is to uphold and explain standards that can be defended rigorously, while explaining the reason for decisions that have been made in a manner that is appropriate for and understandable by the audience – those affected. For me it means developing the role aligned with the statement of intent, expectations and becoming a science ambassador. It means working with industry and business, as well as with science and society. It means talking about the challenges and assessing the issues. It means explaining the potential and discussing the pitfalls. Success will mean recognition that the EPA has played an important part in protecting the environment while enabling environmentally-sound development in the food technology industry. In addition, New Zealand will be recognised as a world-leading country for the creation of sound environmental policy underpinning economic development. And there will be increased interest in science at schools. No pressure…! Jacqueline Rowarth is Professor of Agribusiness at the University of Waikato Management School. The fundamental challenge in the link between facts and feelings is both the increasing lack of understanding and the increasing mistrust in the work of science globally, not just in New Zealand.
To see the actual publication please follow the link above