Groups including EuroCommerce, Independent Retail Europe and Euro Coop have signed the EU Code of Conduct under the Farm To Fork Strategy, stating that it 'covers the objectives our sector has long committed to and is actively pursuing'.
The groups, which represent the retail and wholesale trade in Europe, issued a joint statement, in which they stated that the commitment of their member associations reflects their 'support of the transition to sustainable food systems, recognising and building on the many initiatives our sector already has in place.
'It also signals our commitment under this code to further engagement and continued dialogue with other actors in the supply chain.'
The groups added that such dialogue will be important in achieving the code's objectives, and welcomed the European Commission's willingness to include all interested stakeholders across the supply chain.
Access To Sustainably-Produced Food
'We all want to see consumers benefit from more access to sustainably-produced food and make the healthy choice,' they added. 'We will promote the code and share good practice, and we call upon the Commission to facilitate the dialogue foreseen in the code.'
The groups added that an important element in making the code succeed is ensuring that it matches up with what all sectors can actually deliver, adding that the 'voluntary and aspirational' nature of the code can make this a reality.
'Retailers and wholesalers of all sizes have been in the forefront of driving the sustainability of their own operations and the products they offer,' the group said. 'They have launched initiatives all over Europe to drive and support sustainable production and consumption by working with their suppliers, supporting farmers in moving to organic and other sustainable production methods, and engaging consumers in embracing responsible consumption and sustainable lifestyles through innovative offerings, particularly their own brands.
'We therefore welcome that these many initiatives can be reflected in signatories’ commitments as the basis of their continued engagement.'
The Code of Conduct was signed by EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren, Independent Retail Europe Director-General Else Groen and Euro Coop Secretary-General Todor Ivanov.
In May, a number of groups representing the farming and agri-food sectors said that the Farm To Fork Strategy 'still raises too many questions'.