(Brussels, 11 March 2020) Today, the EU launched the Circular Economy Action Plan, which aims to change the way we use resources in Europe by facilitating and encouraging the circular use of materials, products, and waste.
Comment from FoodDrinkEurope’s Environment Director Laura Degallaix:
We must use our natural resources more sustainably if we are to live within our planetary boundaries and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. For that reason, we support the new Circular Economy Action Plan and the European Commission’s ambition to move towards a more circular economy.
The food and drink industry has some world-leading ideas and innovations that will support the Commission's action plan. Our members continue to find ways to reduce food waste and to improve the environmental performance of their products throughout the lifecycle. They have been working to limit the quantity of packaging materials they use and find sustainable alternative packaging materials and delivery models, while always ensuring the highest level of food safety. The industry has also been making efforts to inform consumers about the environmental impacts of products and how they can make more sustainable choices.
Our caution on the action plan is to avoid trade-offs. For instance, packaging can be important for food safety or to prolong the life of a product – any new initiatives must not compromise safety or increase food waste. Equally, the action plan must be in step with the Industrial Strategy to ensure continued economic growth and jobs – leaving no one behind.
We therefore urge the Commission to work collaboratively across all departments and to carry out impact assessments to avert unintended consequences of any proposed regulation.
FoodDrinkEurope members support a circular economy approach to business, including the following concrete measures:
- As part of the Circular Plastics Alliance, FoodDrinkEurope and its members are working together with the plastics value chain to ensure 10 million tons of recycled plastic make their way into new products by 2025, as foreseen in the EU 2018 Plastics Strategy.
- FoodDrinkEurope members have made a series of individual commitments and pledges towards a more sustainable and circular use of packaging, in particular packaging made of plastics.
- Many FoodDrinkEurope members are using the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) methodology – an approach developed by the European Commission and supported by industry for evaluating the environmental footprint of a product and providing product information to consumers. See our position on the use of PEF here.
- FoodDrinkEurope is actively working to help meet the EU target to halve food waste by 2030.