Food industry unites behind Code of Conduct, but fault lines remain for food system transformation

The European Commission held a ‘high level celebratory event’ to mark the launch of the EU Code of Conduct for responsible food business and marketing this morning.

“The Code is one of the first deliverables of the Farm to Fork Strategy. It could significantly help the transition towards a sustainable food system. And it does not come a day too early,”​ European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides said in her prepared remarks.

This Code is part of the EU’s efforts to increase the availability and affordability of healthy and sustainable food options. It shows signatories – 65 large corporations and industry associations so far – are ‘ready to play their part in contributing to transforming the food systems’, according to the document.

Billed by the EC as a ‘game changing solution’, the Code’s purpose is to galvanise food system actors to unite behind a ‘common aspirational path’. “For this Code to be a success, it should demonstrate a contribution to environmental, health and social sustainability of food systems, while ensuring economic sustainability of the European food value chain,”​ the document notes.

It has attracted the backing from a variety of large CPG and retail organisations, from PepsiCo, Nestlé and Coca-Cola to Albert Heijn and Sodexo. It provides a framework for ‘frontrunners’ to set out ‘ambitious commitments’ with ‘measurable outcomes’ on subjects as far-roaming as sugar reduction, animal welfare and emissions.

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