As the FCRN has previously reported, the EU commission recently held a consultation (now closed) aimed at exploring how we as a society might move towards a more resource efficient and sustainable food system. The public consultation included discussions on a number of areas for action:
- Better technical knowledge on the environmental impacts of food
- Stimulating sustainable food production
- Promoting sustainable food consumption
- Reducing food waste and losses
- Improving food policy coherence
In total over 600 responses where received from over 80 associations, 60 NGOs and 350 citizens. Responses spanned all EU Member States as well as many other countries and globally representative associations. The Commission will publish the results of this consultation and the Communication on Sustainability of the Food System at the end of 2013 / early 2014.
On 18 of October 2013, stakeholders working on food policy in Brussels met at the European Policy Centre (EPC) to debate the topic ‘Eating our way to a more sustainable food system.’ The LiveWell for LIFE project, run by the WWF and Friends of Europe, has produced a report of the meeting in which they highlight the failure of the Commission to engage on the issue of sustainable diets. The report argues that the Commission’s focus on addressing food waste distracts from the more difficult and politically contentious issue of consumption and changing diets. The Commission is, in particular, critiqued for failing to address the question of meat consumption on the grounds that politically dominant countries would block any serious proposals in this regard.
Despite this criticism WWF says that the recently closed consultation on the future of sustainable food is the starting point to an important public debate on how Europe implements a better food policy. Tony Long, director of WWF European Policy Office encourages the EU to develop a robust food sustainability policy;
“Europe’s real challenge lies in eating better. Better means, good for people and good for planet. Therefore the European Commission should come forward with an ambitious proposal to sustainable food in which better diets play a central role.”