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Farm to Fork – sustainable food needs commitment of everyone in the supply chain

The European Parliament agriculture and environment committees are today finalising their joint report on the Farm to Fork strategy.  EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren commented:

Our sector has for many years driven sustainable practices, working with suppliers, for example on organic production and other quality standards, and creating a market for farmers and expanding choice for consumers. I am therefore happy to restate today our readiness to contribute to sustainable food systems under the Commission’s Farm to Fork strategy. The Covid crisis has shown that retail and wholesale is an essential sector, ensuring efficient distribution of daily essentials to consumers. We also work hard to do so in a sustainable way and in promoting healthy lifestyles. A wide range of actions already initiated by retailers and wholesalers can be seen from our website #sustainablecommerce.

In a consumer survey as part of the joint McKinsey/EuroCommerce report on the State of Grocery Retail released earlier this year, 50% of consumers said that they planned to buy more healthy, local or environmentally-friendly foods this year, but 26% wanted both to save money on groceries and move towards sustainable lifestyles. This is a clear message to retail and wholesale to work with farmers and the whole supply chain to continue to increase the supply of sustainably-produced, affordable food.

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Retailers and wholesalers sign Farm-to-Fork Code of Conduct

EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren, Independent Retail Europe Director-General Else Groen and Euro Coop Secretary-General Todor Ivanov announced today that they had signed the EU Code of Conduct under the Farm to Fork Strategy, and issued the following joint statement:

“We are happy to have signed today an EU Code of Conduct which covers objectives our sector has long committed to and is actively pursuing. Our signatures and the commitments of our member associations and companies reflect our support of the transition to sustainable food systems, recognising and building on the many initiatives our sector already has in place. It also signals our commitment under this code to further engagement and continued dialogue with other actors in the supply chain.

Such dialogue will be important in contributing to the code’s objectives – no one part of the supply chain can do so alone, and we supported the Commission’s inclusive approach in involving all interested stakeholders across the supply chain. We all want to see consumers benefit from more access to sustainably-produced food and make the healthy choice. We will promote the code and share good practice, and we call upon the Commission to facilitate the dialogue foreseen in the code.

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Commissioner Wojciechowski speaks to retailers & wholesalers on agriculture of the future

In the latest of the series of EuroCommerce Policy Talks, Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski is speaking today on his vision for the future of European agriculture, and addressing a range of issues related to it.  These include the impact of the COVID crisis on agriculture, sustainable food systems and the EU Farm-to-Fork strategy, food waste and food security, farmers’ income and regulation in the food supply chain, and the global and trade aspects of agriculture.

EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren said:

“As world leaders gather this week in New York to discuss sustainable food systems, we are very pleased to welcome Commissioner Wojciechowski to our Policy Talk on sustainable agriculture. As a vital link with consumers in the food supply chain, retailers and wholesalers have been very active in supporting the Farm-to-Fork objectives and addressing the accelerating transition to sustainability across the supply chain. They have been working with suppliers both of branded goods and our retailer brands to respond to and encourage consumer demand for sustainable food options and a healthy lifestyle, as well as reducing the environmental impact of their own business. Although retailers buy very little directly from farmers – less than 5% of what they sell – they have a shared interest in a globally competitive agriculture sector which prospers and successfully embraces this transition.  This needs a regulatory regime which supports dialogue and cooperation rather than national protectionism or inappropriate legislation from which neither farmers nor consumers benefit”.

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