On 5 July 2021, the EU Code of Conduct on Responsible Food Business and Marketing Practices was officially launched by the European Commission, together with relevant stakeholders. The Code is part of the Farm to Fork Strategy (F2F) action plan and targets responsible food businesses and marketing practices.
The EU Code of Conduct consists of 7 aspirational objectives, aiming for more sustainable and healthy food choices:
- Healthy, balanced and sustainable diets for all European consumers, contributing to: reversing malnutrition and diet-related noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and reducing environmental footprint of food consumption by 2030.
- Prevention and reduction of food loss and waste by supporting improved food management at household level (e.g., promoting more mindful buying) or minimising waste and reducing losses in operations and across the value chain.
- A climate neutral food chain in Europe by 2050 by reducing energy use and applying sustainable bioeconomy-based solutions while contributing to a circular economy.
- An optimised circular and resource-efficient food chain in Europe by improving resource efficiency within own operations (e.g., water management practices, waste water quality and water recovery and re-use) and enhancing the sustainability of food and drink packaging.
- Sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment, and decent work for all by improving resilience and competitiveness (e.g., increasing research and innovation in food sustainability), supporting a skilled workforce, and providing safe and inclusive workplaces for all.
- Sustainable value creation in the European food supply chain through partnership by supporting improved resilience and competitiveness of the supply chain (e.g., engaging in joint pre-competitive research and innovation like co-innovation product/process/technology) and stimulating sustainable production.
- Sustainable sourcing in food supply chains by transforming commodity supply chain (e.g., encouraging the uptake of scientifically robust sustainability certification schemes for food) and improving social performance in food supply chains
Every company (regardless of size) involved in food activities or related to food processes can join the EU Code of Conduct. Stakeholders wishing to sign the Code are requested to commit to it over the long-term (at least until 2025) and to provide an annual report in April. Commitment information will be made available to the public and each stakeholder will present its progress at least once a year on a specific and dedicated platform.
In total, 65 signatories (26 food manufacturers, 14 food retailers, 1 from food service sector and 24 associations) attended the High-level stakeholder celebratory event marking the launch of the Code of Conduct in July.
“The EU Code of Conduct on responsible food business and marketing practices is a considerable step forward made by the agri-food ecosystem. Every voluntary commitment counts to achieve the sustainable transition of our food systems, while increasing their resilience. The Commission is committed to mobilising its support instruments, in particular for SMEs, the backbone of the agri-food ecosystem, as we are embarking on this ambitious journey.”
– Thierry Breton
Commissioner for the Internal Market
You can find more information about the EU Code of Conduct here.