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Plenary Meeting, 13th July 2010

 

European Food SCP Round Table Plenary Meeting

13th July 2010, 10.00 to 16.00 hours

Centre Albert Borschette, Room AB 1D, 36 Rue Froissart, 1049 Brussels

 
Plenary
 
One year after its launch, the European Food Sustainable Consumption and Production Round Table held its annual meeting to adopt Guiding Principles on voluntary environmental assessment and communication of environmental information along the food chain, including to consumers. The meeting was well attended by many stakeholders, including representatives of nearly every stage of the food supply chain, government, non-governmental organisations, media and the scientific/research community.  
 
The Plenary meeting was co-chaired by Round Table Steering Committee Co-Chair Herbert Aichinger on behalf of Soledad Blanco, Industry Director at the European Commission DG Environment and Pekka Pesonen, Secretary-General at Copa-Cogeca. 
 
  
 
 
 
From left: Paulo Gouveia, Director at Copa-Cogeca; Pekka Pesonen, Secretary General at Copa-Cogeca; Herbert Aichinger, Special Advisor to the Industry Director at the European Commission DG Environment Co-Chairs

The keynote speakers discussed why encouraging behavioural change is important to improving sustainability, in addition to supply-side sustainability initiatives, such as Coop’s, and how stakeholders are working together to overcome gaps, such as in the Sustainability Consortium.

Jackie Minor Jackie Minor, Director Consumer Affairs at the European Commission DG Health and Consumers
Jackie Minor stated that many consumers are concerned about environmental issues, but few translate this concern into purchases, particularly during periods of austerity. It was suggested that it is a task for regulators, educators and business to help consumers who wish to consume more sustainably to overcome the value-behaviour gap. She stated that the provision of information that is clear, reliable, understandable and not misleading is a first step, because consumers need relevant information at the point-of-sale to make informed purchases. She suggested that behavioural economics may also offer some ways to ‘nudge’ people to consume more sustainably. New technologies (e.g. RFID and smart phones) also offer possibilities
Jackie Minor's Speaking Points (check against delivery)
Aldo Soldi Aldo Soldi, President of EuroCoop and ANCC/COOP
Coop is the leading retailer in Italy. Aldo Soldi presented the translation of the founding values of co-operation – mutuality, participation, intergenerationality, solidarity and sociality – into actions. Since there is nothing more intergenerational than the environment, Coop makes environmental sustainability a priority in every activity, from the implementation of education campaigns to raise awareness of environmentally responsible behaviours, to communication and information to members, workers and younger generations, to own-brand products, to the planning and management of shops. The high priority that consumer cooperatives across Europe place on environmental sustainability is demonstrated by the launch of EuroCoop’s project, “Climate Change and Consumer Cooperatives – Taking the Challenge Forward”. The initiative aims at exchanging good practices, information and know-how to get better results, lead the way, and serve as an example for other organisations.
Aldo Soldi's Presentation  
Mike Faupel Mike Faupel, Director of Operations at the Sustainability Consortium Food, Beverage and Agriculture Sector
Over 50 companies and experts from universities, government and non-governmental organisations are working collaboratively to build a scientific foundation that drives innovation to improve consumer product sustainability through all stages of a product’s life cycle. Mike Faupel presented the objectives of the Sustainability Consortium, the expected deliverable, a Sustainable Measurement and Reporting Standard (SMRS) and the next steps. The aim of the SMRS is to establish a foundation that allows business to business, business to retail and business to consumer reporting.
Mike Faupel's Presentation
Pascal Gréverath Pascal Gréverath, Co-Chair of the European Food SCP Round Table Steering Committee (CIAA / Nestlé)
On behalf of the Steering Committee, Pascal Gréverath provided an overview of the Round Table and the status of its deliverables. To give some background, Gréverath stated that the situation on the market today is leading to sustainable confusion rather than sustainable consumption. He noted that the RT is happy to have Member States participating in discussions. He stated that the RT’s intention is to remain general for as long as possible for the entire food and drink category and then address possible discrepancies. The RT is not inventing a new methodology. Rather it is building on existing initiatives with a view to harmonisation. He thanked all working group members and observers for their energy and participation. 
Steering Committee Progress Report
Jean-Pierre Rennaud Jean-Pierre Rennaud, Working Group 1 Co-Chair (CIAA / Danone)
On behalf of the Working Groups which developed the Guiding Principles for the voluntary environmental assessment and communication of environmental information along the food chain, including to consumers, Jean-Pierre Rennaud presented the principles one by one.  The guiding principles were formulated with the aim to promote a coherent way to assess and communicate on a voluntary basis the environmental performance of food and drink products taking a life cycle approach.  To this end, the document identifies 10 Guiding Principles that will underpin the development of a harmonised framework methodology for the environmental assessment of food and drink products, which is now underway with an aim for completion by 2011. The Principles also provide a basis for identifying suitable voluntary business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) communications tools, which is also ongoing.
Presentation on Guiding Principles
The guiding principles are formulated with the aim to promote a coherent way to assess and communicate on a voluntary basis the environmental performance of food and drink products taking a life cycle approach. To this end, the document identifies 10 Guiding Principles that will underpin the development of a harmonised framework methodology for the environmental assessment of food and drink products, which the Round Table aims to complete by 2011. The Principles also provide a basis for identifying suitable voluntary business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) communications tools. Guiding Principles
Guiding Principles Document