EUROPE – The European Commission, alongside industry stakeholders has officially launched the EU Code of Conduct on Responsible Food Business and Marketing Practices under the Commission’s Farm to Fork Strategy.

On 26 January 2021, the Commission facilitated discussions amongst a wide variety of stakeholders in the food sector to design an EU Code of Conduct on responsible business and marketing practices as one of the first initiatives to be delivered under the Farm to Fork Strategy.

The Farm to Fork Strategy is an integral part of the European Green Deal. It sets out a long-term strategic vision to transform the way we produce, distribute and consume food.

This EU Code of Conduct is an essential part of the EU’s efforts to increase the availability and affordability of healthy and sustainable food options that help reduce our overall environmental footprint. 

 EU associations and companies have developed the code, 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 ‘Code of Conduct’ contains a series of voluntary commitments for all parties involved, from the ‘farm to the fork’ (such as food producers, food operators and retailers).

Associations and companies in the food sector that sign the code commit to hasten their contribution to a sustainable transition. With their pledges, they ratify the objectives set out in the Code and encourage similar companies to also participate.

Examples of those commitments for the companies include sustainable sourcing, improved animal welfare, sugar reduction and cutting greenhouse gas.

On the day of the launch of the Code, 65 signatories (26 food manufacturers, 14 food retailers, 1 from the food service sector, 24 associations) became the first pioneering companies and associations.

More EU associations and companies in the food sector are invited to join the Code of Conduct which is perceived to be a game-changing solution. Its multi-stakeholder dialogue approach may serve as a model for global transformation.

The Commission plans to present the Code in the United Nations’ Food Systems Summit later this year.