What are the values in value chains?


Health/Sustainability/Education Alliance:

Crutchett, L., Davis, A., Harvey, A., Pntifex, D. & Satsiak, M.


Linda Crutchett – Public health nutritionist, SA Health crutchett.linda@health.sa.gov.au


Alexandra Davis – Financial Incentives, Zero Waste South Australia alexandra.davis@zerowaste.sa.gov.au


Anne Harvey – Director, Sustainability & Industry Partnerships, Department of the Premier and Cabinet harvey.anne@dpc.sa.gov.au


Deborah Pontifex – Education Officer, Adelaide Thinkers in Residence, Department of the Premier and Cabinet pontifex.deborah@dpc.sa.gov.au


Monika Stasiak – Senior Policy Officer, Zero Waste South Australia monika.stasiak@zerowaste.sa.gov.au




This article aims to provoke thought about the ways in which current approaches to food and wine value chain analysis either contribute to or frustrate societal goals. In it, the Health/Sustainability/Education Alliance 1 – all members of the partner group in the residency of the current Adelaide Thinker in Residence, Dr Andrew Fearne, discusses the social and environmental ‘values’ that might underlie value chain thinking when adopted according to the Fearne model. The collaborative effort of the Alliance to promote these values within the residency provides insights for incorporating health and sustainability-based thinking into value chain analysis towards an holistic approach.




South Australia’s Strategic Plan

South Australia's Strategic Plan 2007 (Government of South Australia), subsequently referred to as the Plan, represents a commitment by the Government of South Australia to making the state the best it can be – prosperous, environmentally rich, culturally stimulating, and offering its citizens every opportunity to live well and succeed. Taken as a whole, the Plan encompasses the goals, priorities and values of all sectors. It organises a suite of targets under specific objectives namely; growing prosperity, improving wellbeing, attaining sustainability, fostering creativity and innovation, building communities and expanding opportunity. The Plan is a dynamic statement of policy and a blueprint for change. Updated in 2007 to measure progress, it now spells out that neither the objectives nor any individual targets stand alone: they are all part of a larger inter-related framework. Achieving one target should not come at the expense of another. Thus, there is a major task in identifying and managing interactions between stakeholders, objectives and targets. Incorporating health and sustainability-based thinking into value chains requires all participants within the value chain to grapple with this range of tensions and synergies.


Why the Adelaide Thinkers in Residence program is so valuable?

The Adelaide Thinkers in Residence program brings world-leading thinkers to live and work in Adelaide to challenge the thinking and values that are evident, to catalyse innovative capability, and inspire new conceptual frameworks and ways of working together to create the future. Thinkers are guests of the Premier of South Australia.


Professor Andrew Fearne aims to promote value chain thinking and behaviour in the wider community, and provide stakeholders with an appreciation of relevant issues including environmental sustainability, economic viability, population health and social inclusivity.


Traditional models of value chain analysis have focused predominantly on economic drivers including efficiency of resource inputs and production, product innovation and marketing advantage. We are now seeing the selective inclusion of aspects of health and sustainability as business drivers in some value chains, particularly where businesses perceive a competitive threat or advantage. The changing landscape of the food and wine value chain is revealing a need for industry adjustment to heightened consumer power and the increasing role of values other than economic values within consumer behaviour. Fearne (personal communication) argues that astute value chains respond to this increasingly value-based behaviour with economic signals, that is, by producing products with different ‘credence’ attributes rather than focussing on traditional volume or low cost attributes.


Fearne also argues that stakeholders in the value chain who have an awareness of and willingness to respond to new business drivers will assist in creating mature and sustainable value chains. Stakeholders who do not account for value-based consumption will continue to produce goods that hide the costs and issues associated with their production. These stakeholders risk failure through:


·         an inability to meet consumer demands (influenced by international environmental and health policy trends), and

·         an inability to meet the real costs of production, including resource constraints and human wellbeing agendas. 


Fearne brings a model of value chain analysis that delivers ‘sustainable competitive advantage’ to all of its stakeholders. Fearne’s model differs from traditional methods by mapping flows of information, relationships between stakeholders, materials, and increasingly, health and environmental parameters, within value chains.


Andrew Fearne invites partners in this residency to apply his theories about ‘multi-disciplinary, multi-stakeholder and multi-dimensional’ approaches to policy development, partnering and new projects. The residency has provided the opportunity for health, sustainability and education policy interests to join with those from primary industries, food and wine sectors, and trade and economic development, to explore value chain thinking and behaviour in South Australia. This has exposed different conceptual frameworks, language and values that are being ‘brought to the table’.


Formation of ‘Health/Sustainability/Education Alliance’

One of the major objectives of the Fearne residency is to explore and make recommendations to promote active community participation in value chain thinking, improve healthy eating, and encourage sustainable consumption across the South Australian population. 


With a view to meeting this objective an alliance (the Alliance) between health, education and sustainability partners has developed. The purpose of the Alliance is to clearly articulate the integral importance of health, sustainability and education in value chain management and to foster stronger policy linkages with all partners within the residency. 


Defining a common language

 A first initiative of the Alliance was to map the program connections of the respective agencies to understand and present the synergies in our policy agendas. We then went on to explore how our agencies might influence value chain thinking to improve community wellbeing and prosperity. A result of this work is the concept map shown in Figure 1, which illustrates how our agendas and values intersect at a sustainability focus with economic, health and environmental dimensions underpinned by the role of education. 


The term sustainability has universal relevance to the Alliance. It is supported by values of personal and collective responsibility for social justice, ethical consumption, ecological integrity and awareness of the quality of the places that surround people. It implies continuity of business and associated economic prosperity; it captures the need to avoid exploiting the environment beyond its capacity to support ongoing life. The limits of human expansion are recognized. While sustainable environments are useful to sustain human activity, there is equal value in sustaining ecosystems and the Earth as a holistic and intricate biological system.


Social and environmental factors have significant impacts on the health and wellbeing of the population. Ill health is a major cost to the community and draws upon financial and social capital. (Mustafa Koc and Kenneth Dahlberg (1999) The determinants of health include education, employment, finances, geographical isolation and transport, social isolation, access to services, environmental quality and healthy foods. (Richard Wilkinson and Michael Marmott ) There are clear complementary links between the health and environmental sustainability agendas with respect to food consumption. Currently, the way South Australia (and much of the western world) eats is unhealthy for both people and their environment. The nature of South Australia’s diet and food systems deserves a special focus, and an opportunity presents for the development of new knowledge and mutually beneficial partnerships (Jacob Wallace).


The Alliance members discussed the information contained in Figure 1 with Andrew Fearne to inform him of our collective policy interests and engage his thinking around the most effective ways to work with other partners and influence the outcomes of the Residency.


As the Thinker in Residence, he challenged the Alliance to think more deeply about communication and the language barriers that appear to inhibit holistic value chain thinking around the term ‘sustainable competitive advantage’.



Articulating values

In order to powerfully and collaboratively represent the interests of the Alliance within the Residency, the Alliance agencies have identified a value set that they bring to the analysis and management of food and wine value chains.


The Alliance partners articulate a number of ideals, and agree that sustainable food and wine value chains in South Australia are possible when:


-          long-term planning and thinking is part of value chain analysis

-          stakeholders are concerned with and directed towards addressing the root causes of issues

-          food and wine value chains are aligned with community values and culture

-          stakeholders are inclusive and willing to engage with each other

-          the value chain is considered holistically from producer though to consumer.


The Alliance shares a range of values and principles that might feature in sustainable value chain analysis, thinking, and management:











Consumer values in value chains

The Fearne model of value chain analysis espouses the use of consumer insight (underpinned by attitudes, perceptions, motivation and behaviours) throughout the value chain in all its retail, wholesale, processing, growing and supplier stages. By promoting the model of sustainable competitive advantage, Fearne’s role provides incentive and facilitates the acknowledgement of consumers’ values as they are revealed in purchasing decisions. Although these values are formed outside the retail context they are also shaped by the systems and places in which purchasing decisions occur. Consumers can exercise their power by bringing values to purchasing decisions. Consumers can also be influenced by behaviour change messages within the retail environment: for example nutritional labelling and in-store promotions and advertising.


One of the roles that emerged for the Alliance within the Fearne residency has been to amplify the importance of behaviour change as an outcome of both the Residency content and its process.


It is recognised that behaviour change among stakeholders of food and wine value chains and the adoption of the Fearne model of ‘sustainable competitive advantage’ will impact upon policy agendas for primary industries and trade and economic development. The Alliance is seeking to demonstrate that behaviour change in these traditionally ‘business’ areas of government policy will link intricately and integrally with behaviour change in the areas of health, environmental sustainability, education and community development.


The Alliance is interested in the extent to which radical shifts in consumer value through improved environmental, food and wellbeing ‘literacy’ might be anticipated and fostered in value chain innovation.


The policy context for food and wine value chains is urgently demanding a shift in paradigms and an acknowledgement of the need to move towards models of citizenship and stewardship.  The groundswell of consumer interest in wellbeing and living more sustainably and the increasing significance of sustainability and corporate responsibility as business drivers indicate that the present time is ripe for collaboration between government agencies, industries and organizations to affect major changes in behaviour at all points in the value chain.


An over-arching strategy for food and wine production promulgated via an integrated state-wide Food Plan would be an obvious opportunity to apply Fearne’s vision for multi-disciplinary, multi-stakeholder and multi-dimensional approaches to policy development, partnering and new projects.  The involvement of all relevant stakeholders and values is the crucial element in enabling Fearne’s vision to become reality.


 Outcomes for the Alliance

An intended outcome of the Thinkers in Residence program is to show South Australians what can be done when new approaches are adopted. In addition, Thinkers’ ideas and recommendations create a space in which to explore new approaches, often setting local, national and international benchmarks for mainstream practices.


As stated above, the Food and Wine Values Chains: Prosperity Through Collaboration residency has brought together multiple partners with different agendas. The Residency has subjected the Alliance to a learning process associated with better understanding the ‘languages’ used by other Partners. Some of these ‘languages’ are underpinned by potentially different values than those articulated by the Alliance. The Alliance perceives that, among the Partners, there is a need for understanding of each other’s different perspective to truly collaborate and to fully appreciate the potential of shared goals.


Collaboration, in the context of this Residency, calls for new ways of thinking and behaving. It is about changing the way we 'do business' and stepping out of our comfort zones to embrace disciplinary and functional complexity. The development of creative and intellectual collaboration is a complex process that embraces innovation and synergizes differing or even divergent ideas. It requires that participants listen empathetically to others and seek to understand in order to develop effective communication processes. It occurs through sharing knowledge, learning together, building consensus and co-constructing in ways that the new whole is greater than the sum of its parts.


In designing a process to explore the congruence of our values and the policy synergies in our programs and then working together with a common purpose, the Alliance has endeavoured to practice and model a new approach. Our foray into value chain mapping and analysis is testing our 'interdisciplinarity' and communication skills as we seek to intervene constructively in individual projects and influence the outcomes of the Residency as a whole. (Stephen Covey, 1989)


The formation of the Alliance mirrors Professor Fearne’s vision for sustainable competitive advantage in food and wine value chains. The Alliance provides an insight into how the Fearne model can work in practice. While the way forward for making lasting and significant changes in government policy is not yet clear, all Alliance members consider that working together and with the range of partners in the residency has produced new understandings of shared agendas and values, new relationships, and the potential for creative and innovative solutions to previous barriers in policy areas.



1 The partners in the residency who formed the Health-Sustainability-Education Alliance, (the Alliance), included representatives from SA Health, Health Promotions Branch, Zero Waste South Australia, Sustainability and Climate Change Division, Department of the Premier and Cabinet and the Department of Education and Children’s Services




Adelaide Thinkers in Residence www.thinkers.sa.gov.au [6June 2008]


Adelaide Thinkers in Residence www.thinkers.sa.gov.au/afearne_events.html Regional retailers presentation [6 June 2008]


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 Koc, Mustafa and Dahlberg, Kenneth. (1999), The restructuring of food systems: Trends, Research and Policy issues, Agriculture and Human Values 16:109-116


Jacob Wallace, Easy on the oil: Policy options for a smaller waistline and a lighter footprint. 2008 Department of the Premier and Cabinet, South Australia


Wilkinson, Richard and Marmott, Michael eds. (2003) World Health Organisation  Social Determinants of Health: the Solid Facts. 2nd edition

Also available at Social Determinants of Health: the Solid Facts [26 June 2008]