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Creating Synergies Toward Fair, Healthy and Sustainable Food Systems

As a central part of the EU Green Deal, the Farm to Fork Strategy aims at making food systems fair, healthy, and environmentally-friendly. However, this goal can only be achieved if all actors between the farm and the fork come together and work in aligned ways. The new Code of Conduct for Responsible Business and Marketing Practices sets out common aspirations and indicative actions for actors to voluntarily align, commit, and contribute to accelerating the transition toward sustainable food systems. At the CSCP, we look forward to collaborating with all our current and future partners in turning this code into an opportunity for making sustainable and resilient food systems the norm.

The Code of Conduct aims to improve sustainability on three levels: in relation to food consumption patterns for healthy and sustainable diets; with internal processes, operations and organisation at the level of actors in the middle part of the food chain; and throughout the supply chain, in liaison with primary producers and other actors. For each level, common aspirations (expressed in objectives and targets) and indicative actions have been set.

A cross-cutting aspirational objective is the prevention and reduction of food waste. The aspirational target is a 50 % reduction of per capita food waste at the retail and consumer level by 2030 and reduced food loss along the food production and supply chains in the EU. As moderators of the Dialogue Forum for the Reduction of Food Waste in Wholesale and Retail, we have joined hands with key relevant actors to come up with data, measures, and action that lead to a systematic reduction of food waste in these sectors. We congratulate our Dialogue Forum members REWE Group and Metro for already signing the code of conduct. Through the Dialogue Forum and our other projects, we look forward to closely working with them and all upcoming signatories in turning this code of conduct into an opportunity for wholesalers and retailers to become frontrunners in the transition to sustainable food systems.

In view of changing consumption patterns, key objectives of the new code are reducing the environmental impact of food consumption by 2030 and reversing malnutrition and diet-related noncommunicable diseases in the EU. In order to achieve the consumption patterns prescribed in the code, mapping key food consumption behaviours, recognising patterns, and pointing out drivers are all vital prerequisites. In projects like VALUMICS we focus on doing just that as well as identifying, supporting, and engaging relevant stakeholders to drive positive change. The recent VALUMICS publication Food Consumption Behaviours in Europe provides evidence-based insights on consumption behaviours throughout different countries and identifies pathways toward making European food systems more sustainable and resilient.

The Code of Conduct for Responsible Business and Marketing Practices represents a unique opportunity to create synergies, enhance existing collaborations and start new ones toward mainstreaming sustainable food systems. We look forward to using this momentum in supporting companies to generate climate-neutral growth and pioneer the way to resilient food systems.

For further questions, please contact Nora Brüggemann.

Image by Elaine Casap on Unsplash.