EuroCommerce, Euro Coop, and Independent Retail Europe have agreed to work on a code of conduct for the food supply chain to drive sustainable production and consumption.
The European Commission announced the launch of the code of conduct at an event attended by executive vice-president Frans Timmermans, commissioner Stella Kyriakides, senior MEPs and other stakeholders.
The initiative is part of the ‘Farm to Fork’ strategy and will see the implementation of sustainable practices along the chain to produce high quality, healthy food at affordable prices.
EuroCommerce director-general, Christian Verschueren, commented, “This initiative is an opportunity for our sector to highlight and further develop the many sustainability initiatives our members have engaged in all across Europe and over many years.
“But we cannot do this alone, and the code will need to acknowledge that only by all parts of the supply chain and public authorities working together, can it succeed.”
According to Euro Coop secretary-general, Todor Ivanov, the code of conduct should serve everyone involved, from the producer to the consumer.
“As value-driven businesses, consumer co-ops are ready to work with the EU policymakers to make this code a reality,” Ivanov added.
Retailers and wholesalers in Europe have been working towards increasing the sustainability of their product range.
The initiatives focus on working with suppliers, supporting farmers to switch to organic and sustainable farming practices, and offering innovative products to customers through private label products and manufacturers’ brands.
Independent Retail Europe director-general, Else Groen, said, “We are eager to work with everyone to make this code a success, but to achieve its objectives, those objectives need to go with the grain of the actions and aspirations of those expected to deliver them.
“They should be grounded in the many initiatives our sector already undertakes and involve voluntary commitments to reach a common goal.”
EuroCommerce added that retailers engage with customers and accept feedback and scrutiny.
In addition, the direct interface between suppliers and consumers offers new and rewarding market opportunities for all producers of sustainable products.
'A Close Relationship'
Ivanov explained, “Retailers have a close relationship with their communities. We work closely with local suppliers to offer them a ready outlet for quality healthy food sustainably produced, and access to consumers ready to buy them.
“We pay a premium for that quality, but sustainable food should not be a privilege for the few. By creating volume, we can also help put those sustainable products more easily in reach of all consumers, who are the owners of consumer co-ops.”