European Food SCP Round Table Plenary Meeting
21st November 2012, 10.00 to 16.30
European Commission, Charlemagne Building, Room Sicco Mansholt
The European Food SCP Round Table held its third annual Plenary meeting on 21 November 2012 to adopt both the Draft ENVIFOOD Protocol and the report on “Continuous Environmental Improvement”. In addition, the Plenary meeting marked the launch of the public consultation and testing phase of the ENVIFOOD PROTOCOL.
The meeting was well attended by many stakeholders, including representatives of nearly every stage of the food supply chain, Member State representatives, non-governmental organisations, the scientific/research community and the media.
The Plenary meeting was co-chaired by Pekka Pesonen, Secretary-General at Copa-Cogeca and Herbert Aichinger Adviser to Director for Sustainable Resource Management, Industry and Air at the European Commission DG Environment.
|Ben Caspar, Policy Officer, DG Environment
Ben Caspar spoke about the Sustainable Food Communication which is currently under inter-service consultation. Participants were informed that the public consultation will be launched shortly and that sustainability for the food system will be broadly defined and a vision for a sustainable food system will be outlined. The Communication will look towards pragmatic and realistic solutions and will focus on resource efficiency. Ben Caspar acknowledged that the ENVIFOOD Protocol, as a harmonised assessment methodology, is a very useful tool in this context for developing policy.
|Felix Mittermeyer, Policy and Communication, DG Health & Consumer
Felix Mittermeyer explained that EU consumers spend on average less than 16 per cent of their monthly income on food, with large variations between Member States. Estimates suggest that over 40 million people in Europe cannot afford an adequate diet. The Commission’s consumer and health policy related to the EU food supply chain focusses on economic means and rights to use food, the availability of safe and quality food) and the environmental and health impacts of using food.
|Philippe Appeltans, Secretary General, Association of Belgian Horticultural Auctions (VBT)
Philippe Appeltans presented VBT’s sustainability label “Responsibly Fresh” which is based on environmentally friendly production. In Belgium, producers and producer cooperatives, it was explained, already comply with several existing quality systems such as ICQM and GlobalG.A.P and these producers have committed to further develop sustainability criteria in these systems.
|Chris Vanden Blicke, Head of Brussels Office, UNEP
Chris Vanden Blicke provided an overview of the UN’s SCP Agenda following the Rio +20 summit in June 2012. Main actions include the Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE) that has already been signed by over 20 countries and a report launched by UNEP in collaboration with other international organisations such as IFAD, FAO, WFP, the World Bank and WRI, entitled Avoiding Future Famines - Strengthen the Ecological basis of Security through Sustainable Food Systems. Mr Vanden Blicke also explained that the Agri-Food Task Force established by UNEP and FAO on SCP focuses on 4 key areas: information sharing for sustainable production, consumer-related communications and behaviour change (including around food waste), creating enabling conditions for the uptake of SCP in food systems and developing a market-based approach for supply chain actors. Mr. Vanden Blicke emphasized the importance of the ENVIFOOD Protocol and added that the specific product categories to be developed will further enhance the applicability of the Protocol.
|David Pennington, Working Group 1 Co-Chair, Joint Research Centre, European Commission
David Pennington presented the first Draft ENVIFOOD Protocol. The Protocol is fully aligned to ISO standards and other established environmental assessment methodologies such as the Commission’s Product Environmental Footprint. The Plenary marked the launch of a public consultation on the ENVIFOOD Protocol, which will remain open until 31 March. Pilot testing of the Protocol will begin in February 2013 and stakeholders are invited to state their interest in participating in this before the end of January 2013. Once the pilot testing organisations have been selected, a webinar will be held on the methodology to go into increased detail. The testing itself will then run until the end of August 2013. Results will be collected in September and the Food SCP Round Table expects to publish the first final version of the ENVIFOOD Protocol before the end of 2013.
|Harald Schoenberger, Working Group 3 Co-Chair, Joint Research Centre, European Commission
Harald Schoenberger presented the report Continuous Environmental Improvement, which adopts a supply chain approach to the food and drink stakeholders’ efforts to deliver more sustainable practices. The report includes a sector description, an overview of environmental challenges (including water, air, greenhouse gas emissions, soil, biodiversity, resource depletion and land use), existing actions being undertaken to address the challenges and an overview of key obstacles. The report recommends increased collaboration among the food value chain stakeholders, improved promotion of best practice, environmentally sustainable sourcing, raising consumer awareness of environmental challenges, tackling waste issues, increased research and innovation and science-based policy instruments.
The Co-Chairs congratulated the Food SCP Round Table members for concluding the objectives initially drafted in 2009. This is the first time environmental impacts were assessed all along the food value chain. The Co-Chairs re-iterated their support for the activities and for the relevance of the Round Table.