A number of growing global challenges such as climate change, environmental degradation, biodiversity loss and malnutrition are affecting the society and the European food and drink manufacturing sector and need to be tackled with the engagement and co-operation from all actors throughout the food supply chain and beyond.
FoodDrinkEurope supports the European Commission’s efforts to establish, through a legislative proposal, an EU-wide harmonised framework that encourages companies across sectors to further address their potential impact on human rights and the environment.
- Ensure that the legislative framework is aligned with internationally recognised frameworks and standards.
- Further clarify definitions such as ‘value chains’, ‘business relationship’ etc. and substantiate them with examples in order to avoid confusion on the scope of the proposal.
- Provide legal certainty on responsibilities and expectations and create a level playing field amongst all companies operating in the EU Single Market (including companies based outside the EU) by avoiding the divergence of due diligence requirements and enforcement rules across Member States.
- Set up adequate support measures and tools for SMEs to comply with the requirements set out in the EU Directive.
- Develop sector-specific guidelines to support operators in the implementation of this regulation, using as reference international guidelines and standards.
- Ensure that reporting requirements highlighted in the EU Directive are aligned with the European Commission’s proposal for a Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), expected to be adopted this year.
- Ensure that the EU Directive fosters cross-sectoral industry collaboration and on-the-ground engagement with key stakeholders (i.e farmer and civil society organisations, NGO’s, international organisations, etc.) to address the root causes of adverse human rights and environmental impacts and exchange best practices.
- Encourage strong partnerships between the EU and third countries in order to support economic operators – especially smallholder farmers – in third countries to adequately prevent and mitigate adverse human rights and environmental impacts.
- Ensure that that this EU Directive is consistent and aligned with existing EU policies, including the European Commission’s proposal for a Regulation on deforestation-free products.
- Ensure the establishment of a proportionate enforcement and sanctions mechanism that takes into account the specificities of legal frameworks in third countries and works to enable engagement and impactful actions by operators.
- Further recognise voluntary actions already carried out by the food and drink sector in the field of sustainability especially as it is considered one of the ‘high risk’ sectors