Food vs fuel: Real impact, say execs, but how much?

October 22, 2010 |

At the Global Financial Leadership Conference in Naples, Florida this week, leaders from Oxford University, Shell and Bunge agreed that ethanol demand has an impact on food prices, but none could offer a specific measure of impact. Ian Goldin, director of the James Martin 21st Century School at Oxford University and a former vice president at the World Bank vice president, said “On the food-versus-fuel story, it’s absolutely clear that ethanol in the U.S. and Europe is driving up food prices. The only question is how much.”

Bunge’s Tim Gallagher said””It’s had an impact. From 2007 to today, we’ve found a way to manage that impact. It depends on the magnitude (of the demand) and how quickly it comes into the market.”

Former Shell president John Hofmeister, now CEO for  Citizens for Affordable Energy, said that “It’s insidious to use food for fuel. Food is a here-and-now commodity. The idea of using food for fuel is to me just a non sequitur. It doesn’t make any sense to me.”

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