The partners of the food and drink chain gathered in the European Food SCP Round Table are committed to helping consumers and other partners along the food chain to make informed choices by providing them with accurate and understandable information on relevant product characteristics, including environmental performance. Effective environmental information requires scientifically reliable and consistent environmental assessment methodologies to be applied along the food chain. There is at present no commonly applied methodology to assess and communicate environmental information along the food chain, including to consumers, in a practical and reliable way.
Working Group 1 has made important achievements in 2012, establishing the first draft of its harmonised framework assessment methodology for the environmental assessment of food and drink products - the ENVIFOOD Protocol (0.1).
A public consultation on the Draft ENVIFOOD Protocol will be held from 21st November 2012 – 31st March 2013. In parallel, voluntary pilot testing of the Draft ENVIFOOD Protocol will take place from 1st February – 31st August 2013.
The Working Group 1 Road Map outlines how Working Group 1 of the Round Table will develop a Harmonised Framework Methodology to support the assessment of the environmental performance in line with the Round Table’s Guiding Principles. The Road Map supports Working Group members in identifying roles and planning, implementing, and monitoring tasks, expected deliverables and deadlines.
Working Group 1 has published its report Towards the ENVIFOOD Protocol: Deriving Scientifically-Sound Rules from Existing Methodological Alternatives. This can be downloaded for free through the following website.
In brief, the 10 Guiding Principles on voluntary environmental assessment and communication of environmental information along the food chain, including to consumers, are as follows:
Lead Principle: Environmental information communicated along the food chain, including to consumers, shall be scientifically reliable and consistent, understandable and not misleading, so as to support informed choice.
I. Principles for the voluntary environmental assessment of food and drink products
1. Identify and analyse the environmental aspects at all life-cycle stages.
2. Assess the significant potential environmental impacts along the life-cycle.
3. Apply recognised scientific methodologies.
4. Periodically review and update the environmental assessment.
II. Principles for the voluntary communication of environmental information
5. Provide information in an easily understandable and comparable way so as to support informed choice.
6. Ensure clarity regarding the scope and meaning of environmental information.
III. Principles for both voluntary environmental assessment and communication.
7. Ensure transparency of information and underlying methodologies and assumptions.
8. Ensure that all food chain actors can apply the assessment methodology and communication tools without disproportionate burden.
9. Support innovation.
10. Safeguard the Single Market and international trade.