Commission launches EU Code of Conduct on Responsible Food Business and Marketing Practices

EU Code of Conduct
© Zulfiia Ishmukhametova

The European Commission has officially launched the EU Code of Conduct on Responsible Food Business and Marketing Practices, under its Farm to Fork Strategy

The Code plays a crucial part in increasing the availability and affordability of healthy and sustainable food options that will help reduce our overall environmental footprint.

26 food manufacturers, 14 food retailers and 24 associations were the first to sign the code and commit to accelerating their contribution to a sustainable transition. (See the full list of signatories here).

Two levels of commitments are included in the scheme:

  • EU associations: Set of seven objectives, each with its targets and indicative actions. These relate to actions that promote the shift towards healthy and sustainable consumption patterns. The objective is to improve the impact of food processing, retail and food services’ operations on sustainability and to improve the sustainability of the food value chains, in relation to primary producers and other actors in the chain. Associations should report on progress on a yearly basis.
  • Companies: Framework for frontrunners for ambitious commitments with measurable outcomes covering a wide range of areas, from animal welfare, to sugar reduction and cutting greenhouse gas emissions in their full product range. Companies will report progress by submitting a summary of their sustainability report on an annual basis.

It has been developed with EU associations and companies, with active involvement and input from other stakeholders, including international organizations, NGOs, trade unions and trade associations, and together with the European Commission services.

The Commission intends to present the Code in the United Nations’ Food Systems Summit later this year and invited more EU associations and companies in the food sector to join.

Members of the College said

Executive Vice-President Timmermans said:

“We need to make our food system sustainable and we need to do it soon. We must reduce greenhouse gas emissions and halt biodiversity loss related to food production, and shape a food system that makes it easier to choose a healthy and sustainable diet. Addressing these environmental, health, and social challenges in our food system require cooperation across the entire food chain and I am encouraged by ambitions of the stakeholders who have already signed up to the EU Code of Conduct.”

Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said:

“Today we are marking one of the first deliverables in our work under the Farm to Fork Strategy towards a healthy and environmentally-friendly food system. Close cooperation between all actors is essential to achieve a successful transition to sustainable food systems. The EU Code of Conduct will facilitate this cooperation, building on the commitments the food industry has already made and encouraging more ambitious action. The European food industry is already known for the quality and safety of its products. It should now also become the golden standard for sustainability.”

Thierry Breton, Commissioner for the Internal Market, said:

“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.”

Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries said:

“Forward-looking food companies know that healthy soils and ecosystems are essential for the resilience of our food systems, and for their business. Sustainable food systems are also crucial to meet our climate and environmental goals, such as putting European and global biodiversity on a path to recovery. I am therefore delighted that, through this Code, the food industry is taking a decisive step towards a sustainable future for their business and for our planet.”


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