Centre for Research Excellence - Healthy Food, Healthy Planet, Healthy People – improving the environmental sustainability of food

Improving environmental sustainability

People need and want information to help them choose more sustainable food options. The food system is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, yet there is little reliable information to make sustainable choices about food. Decision tools are needed to help individuals make choices that promote planetary health.

The George Institute’s Healthy Food, Healthy Planet, Healthy People Centre for Research Excellence was formed with this in mind. This initiative comprises a range of projects designed to improve understanding of the environmental impact of the food system. Incorporating sustainable aspects into the way Australians engage with the food system is integral to a healthier future for people and planet.

Join us for the launch of an app that helps consumers choose packaged foods that have a lower environmental impact by simply scanning a barcode. It uses an evolving data asset that assigns planetary health ratings to foods based on the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the product’s ingredients. Users can see how their selected packaged food items rate and choose from more environmentally friendly alternatives.

Importantly, the data developed for the app will be central to recommendations for food system changes that can produce positive environmental effects on a larger scale. We will be advocating for a nationwide policy framework that makes this possible.

We look forward to seeing you at this pivotal event.


  • Special Guest: Craig Reucassel
  • Chair: Professor Bruce Neal
  • Fraser Taylor
  • Professor Kathryn Bowen 
  • Professor Simone Pettigrew
  • Rebecca Gilling

Register here to attend in person


  • Special Guest: Craig Reucassel

    Craig Reucassel is an Australian writer, director and comedian who is best known for his work with The Chaser and for going through your bins on The War on Waste.
     He and some friends started the satirical newspaper The Chaser which went on to TV shows like CNNNN, The Checkout and The Chaser's War on Everything.  Craig has hosted three series of the award-winning War on Waste documentary. He has also hosted climate change documentaries Fight for Planet A and Big Weather. In 2020 he Directed the movie Big Deal, which looked into the issue of money in politics in Australia. Craig was born in South Africa but moved to Australia at a young age. He attended the University of Sydney, and graduated with honours in Bachelor of Economics (Social Science) and Bachelor of Laws.

    Craig Reucassel
  • Bruce Neal

    Bruce Neal is Executive Director at The George Institute for Global Health Australia and Professor of Medicine, UNSW Sydney. Prof Neal is a physician with 25 years’ experience in clinical, epidemiological, and public health research with a focus on heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Bruce has a longstanding interest in high blood pressure and diabetes and the potential for both clinical interventions and changes in the food supply to deliver health gains. 

    Bruce Neal
  • Simone Pettigrew

    Simone Pettigrew is the Head of Food Policy at The George Institute for Global Health. She has qualifications in Economics, Marketing, and Consumer Psychology. Her broad areas of expertise include behavioural psychology, health promotion, health policy, communications, social marketing, and intervention research. She has a strong interest in the effective provision of nutrition and sustainability information to consumers, and has conducted research on this topic with more than 30,000 consumers in more than 20 countries.

    Simone Pettigrew
  • Kathryn Bowen 

    Kathryn Bowen is a leading, internationally recognised expert on the science and policy of sustainability (particularly climate change) and global health issues, with 20 years’ experience in original public health research, science assessment, capacity development, and policy advice. Kathryn thrives on interdisciplinary, energetic, and stimulating work environments where the emphasis is on implementing policy-relevant and evidence-based sustainability programs. Kathryn holds a joint position at Melbourne Climate Futures and as Professor - Environment, Climate and Global Health in the School of Population and Global Health, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences.

    Kathryn Bowen
  • Fraser Taylor

    Fraser Taylor is a specialist in data-driven health interventions, and Managing Director of the globally successful FoodSwitch program at The George Institute for Global Health. Fraser has 20-plus years working within global food firms across Europe, North America, and Australasia and latterly technology startups. The award-winning FoodSwitch app, now available in more than a dozen countries worldwide, empowers consumers to make better food choices.

    Fraser Taylor
  • Rebecca Gilling

    Rebecca trained as an actor at the Independent Theatre School in Sydney and worked mainly in film and television for nearly thirty years. Career highlights include the feature film Stone (1974), the TV miniseries Return to Eden (1983), and TV lifestyle show Our House (1992-2001).

    Rebecca retrained as a social scientist and joined Planet Ark in 2002 as their public spokesperson and Special Projects Manager. She further qualified in Video Editing and Human Resource Management, and later gained a Master’s Degree in Sustainable Development with a particular focus on organisational change for sustainability and individual and group motivation. In 2021 Rebecca was appointed as Co-CEO, joining the Planet Ark Board as Executive Director, and became CEO in February 2023.

    Planet Ark’s strategy under Rebecca’s leadership is focused on three spheres of activity: carbon neutrality, circular economy and connecting people with nature.

    In her spare time, Rebecca is a keen gardener, bird watcher and enthusiastic amateur wildlife photographer.

    Rebecca Gilling