Launch of Environment Sustainability Vision Towards 2030
2012 saw the launch of the FoodDrinkEurope ‘Environmental Sustainability Vision Towards 2030’ Report. Developed as part of a broad collaborative work with other stakeholders across the supply chain, governments, civil society and academia, the report covers three core areas: (i) sustainable sourcing, (ii) resource efficiency, and (iii) sustainable consumption and production. The Vision highlights the important progress already made in the area of environmental sustainability by food operators in Europe, and is supported by key actions for future work.
At the launch of the Report in June coinciding with the Rio+20 UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), FoodDrinkEurope showcased significant efforts made by operators to develop their Vision and future key actions across several areas in support of the Rio +20 goals. Europe’s food manufacturers supported a renewed international political commitment to address new and emerging challenges in a number of environmental sustainability areas, crucial to the future competitiveness of Europe’s food and drink industry.
The report was subsequently shortlisted for the European Public Affairs ‘Report of the Year Award’, marking a significant achievement for FoodDrinkEurope and its members.
Food and Drink Environmental Assessment Protocol
In 2012, FoodDrinkEurope was successful in working towards its vision of a ‘whole-of-society’ approach to green growth by co-chairing with the Commission the multi-stakeholder initiative, the European Food Sustainable Consumption and Production Round Table (SCP Round Table). The aim of the Round table is to work with other actors along the supply chain ‘from farm to fork’ to identify tangible, concrete solutions which are inclusive and holistic in approach.
In November, at the SCP Round Table plenary meeting, FoodDrinkEurope and its stakeholders launched a public consultation and testing phase of the ENVIFOOD Protocol for a harmonised environmental assessment methodology of food and drink products. The Protocol is a sectoral methodology for the food and drink industry and is aligned with global and European methodologies, such as the forthcoming Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) currently under development in the EU Commission.
The launch of the practical testing phase of the Protocol marks a unique milestone working towards user-friendly and affordable tools for the assessment and voluntary communication of the environmental impact along the food chain, in a harmonised and reliable way. FoodDrinkEurope believes the approach used to agree on the Protocol, involving all relevant stakeholders on an equal footing, can help make the entire food chain more sustainable.
In addition, FoodDrinkEurope welcomed the evaluation made by the EU Ecolabelling Board to maintain the exception for food and drink products from the ecolabel scheme, as ecolabels may mislead rather than inform consumers about the true environmental performance of food products along their life–cycle.
International agreement to address Climate Change
Consistent with the need for greater coordination at the global level to agree on international goals, in November, FoodDrinkEurope called upon governments gathered at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP 18 Conference in Doha, Quatar to undertake all efforts to enable a global comprehensive legally-binding framework beyond 2012, to adequately address the dual global challenge of food security and climate change.
FoodDrinkEurope also prepared for the revision of the Fluorinated Gases Regulation and will play an active role in the legislative process in 2013.
Achieving Resource Efficiency
FoodDrinkEurope demonstrated the industry’s commitment to managing Europe’s water supply on UN World Water Day 2012. Furthermore, the organisation managed a very successful exhibition stand at the EU’s 12th Green Week event in May, illustrating industry efforts in this area.
Through the rejuvenation of the Waste Working Group in 2012, FoodDrinkEurope worked with stakeholders, including the SCP Round Table, to achieve the industry’s overall aim of reducing food waste along the food chain, a must for the sustainability of the activities of the food and drink industry, while natural resources get increasingly scarce worldwide.
In January, FoodDrinkEurope also welcomed the adoption of the European Parliament report on food waste and its recognition of manufacturers’ efforts to minimise waste. Towards the end of the year, FoodDrinkEurope began work on the development of a food waste toolkit as a concrete follow-up action from the Environmental Sustainability Vision Report.
Looking to the future – food sustainability
FoodDrinkEurope is working closely with members to contribute to the food sustainability debate in anticipation of the Commission Communication on Sustainable Food to be adopted at the end of 2013. FoodDrinkEurope believes in a holistic approach to address food sustainability, and anticipates working across many of the different EU Commission services on this issue.