Our Priorities › Environmental Sustainability

Sustainability makes good business sense. It plays a key role in food and drink companies’ long-term competitiveness. Food and drink companies can play a major role in ensuring the sustainability of the food supply chain, hence FoodDrinkEurope is committed to supporting sustainable practices to protect and promote natural resources. It is also committed to working in partnership to develop uniform, science-based methodologies to assess a food or drink product’s environmental impact, asking how this can be best communicated to the consumer.

Tackling climate change 

The EU food and drink industry’s greenhouse gas emissions declined by 17% while food production increased by more than 35%. The industry is striving towards a continuous reduction in emissions and increased energy efficiency, supporting the EU’s 2020 targets. 

Increasing energy efficiency

Central to the move towards a low carbon economy, the industry is looking at how to do more with less, for example, by promoting energy efficient technologies, such as cogeneration or combined heat and power (CHP). Cogeneration is part of many food manufacturers’ long-term business model and FoodDrinkEurope will continue to encourage its uptake where possible, spreading best practice. FoodDrinkEurope calls for a legislative framework to enable this and welcomes the European Commission’s proposal for the Energy Efficiency Directive. Food manufacturers now look to the Council and the European Parliament to ensure the Directive removes barriers for both old and new cogeneration operators, underpinning their investment certainty.

Addressing food waste

According to the European Commission study published in October 2010 (Preparatory Study on Food Waste across EU 27), annual food waste amounts to approximately 90 million tonnes across the EU. The industry has already put in place practices to reduce this waste. It aims to use 100% of agricultural raw materials, for example by using parts that do not go into the main product to produce renewable energy or animal feed. It is also looking into ways to recommend how to reduce household waste e.g. by informing consumers about how to interpret ‘best before’ and ‘use by’ dates. When food is wasted at the end of the chain, all the resources invested in a product’s lifecycle are lost. Overall, the industry aims to minimise waste at every stage in the food chain.

Read the Joint Food Wastage Declaration 'Every Crumb Counts' here:

Food wastage declaration   Food Wastage Toolkit


Protecting biodiversity

The industry also realises the need to protect and, where possible, improve biodiversity. Given that the industry’s raw materials are grown in the natural environment, and the industry purchases and processes 70% of EU agricultural production, it is essential that agricultural practices are sustainable. FoodDrinkEurope looks to encourage best practices worldwide, for example through the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI) Platform. It is also a member of the Biodiversity @ Business Platform, bringing business together to share their experiences along the food chain.  

Working in partnership

FoodDrinkEurope is a founding member of the Sustainable Consumption and Production Round Table (SCP RT) which brings together key stakeholders along the food chain, working towards uniform, science-based impact assessment methodologies in order to provide consumers with reliable and uniform information on a product’s environmental impact. At the moment, diverse methods are used to assess different environmental factors (such as a product’s carbon footprint), and these competing schemes can undermine environmental impact, create consumer confusion, reduce consumer trust, increase costs along the food chain and introduce barriers to the single market and international trade.