With the global population hitting 8 billion in November 2022, the demand for food products is also steadily rising. Consequently, there is a pressing need to produce and supply more food than ever before. However, the current food system is becoming more unsustainable with each passing day, as it struggles to keep up with this ever-increasing demand.
Despite being often overlooked in our daily routines, our food system has always been exposed to disruption. Challenges like poor harvests, livestock diseases, and natural calamities have been a constant threat since time immemorial. Nevertheless, contemporary events, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, European conflicts, ever-changing consumer preferences, and, without a doubt, the climate crisis, have underscored the necessity of establishing a more durable and sustainable food system.
The European Green Deal
As climate change continues to impact our planet, more and more individuals are prioritizing this issue. Consequently, governing bodies have taken action, implementing measures to improve due diligence and establish resilient and sustainable economies. The European Commission, in particular, is leading the way in the fight against climate change, with the goal of becoming the world’s first carbon-neutral continent by 2050. The European Green Deal aims to improve the health and wellbeing of citizens and future generations by achieving the following objectives:
– Fresh air, clean water, healthy soil & biodiversity.
– Cleaner energy through cutting edge innovation.
– Healthy and affordable food.
– Future-proof jobs and skills training for the transition.
– A globally competitive and resilient industry.
To achieve these objectives, the politically autonomous executive branch has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by a minimum of 55% and obtaining over 32% of renewable energy by 2030. The proposed measures to achieve these outcomes include enhancing policies related to the European Union’s climate, energy, transport, and taxation.
What is The Farm to Fork Strategy?
The Food and Beverage Industry is presently responsible for a quarter of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and 70% of global freshwater withdrawal. Such staggering statistics have led the European Commission to prioritize the transformation of food systems into fair, healthy, and environmentally-friendly systems as part of its efforts to accomplish the objectives of the Green Deal.
Launched on 20th May 2020, the Farm to Fork Strategy (F2F) aims to establish fair and sustainable food systems, regulating the amount of food consumed against the capacity of our planet. The comprehensive 10-year strategy incorporates change implementation in primary production, supply chain and consumption, to address the environmental issues our food systems are facing, focusing on six main areas;
– Sustainable food production – Promoting sustainable agricultural practices and reducing the use of pesticides and fertilizers.
– Nutritious and sustainable diets – Encouraging people to consume healthy and sustainable food options through better labeling, education, and awareness campaigns.
– Reducing food waste – Reducing food waste at all stages of the food supply chain, from production to consumption.
– Circular food systems – Encouraging the recycling and repurposing of food waste and by-products.
– Fairness and resilience of food systems – Ensuring fair wages and working conditions for farmers and workers in the food industry, as well as building more resilient food systems.
– Boosting research and innovation – Supporting research and innovation in the food industry to develop sustainable and innovative solutions for the future.
The strategy itself sets out specific targets and time-frames in which these goals should be met, particularly for the agricultural sector. It is expected that the strategy should allow for a 50% reduction of chemicals and pesticides in farming, and 25% of farmland to be utilized for organic farming.
Who Will Be Affected By The F2F Strategy ?
The success of the Farm to Fork Strategy and the European Green Deal as a whole, is critically dependent on the involvement and commitment of all stakeholders contributing to the food systems across Europe and beyond. The responsibility falls on all European producers, processors, retailers, as well as consumers. Target completion goals for objectives within the strategy are only a few years away, and therefore, cooperation and commitment from all EU Member States is critical.
The Farm to Fork Strategy will have an impact on various stakeholders involved in the food system, including:
– Farmers and food producers – The strategy will encourage the adoption of sustainable practices in agriculture, such as reducing the use of pesticides and fertilizers, promoting organic farming, and improving animal welfare.
– Food manufacturers and processors – The strategy will focus on reducing the environmental impact of food production and promoting healthier and sustainable food options.
– Retailers and consumers – The strategy aims to increase awareness and availability of sustainable and healthy food options, promote food waste reduction, and encourage a shift towards more plant-based diets.
– Environmental organizations and advocates – The strategy aligns with the goals of environmental protection and climate action.
– Policymakers and regulators – The strategy will guide the development of policies and regulations related to food production, consumption, and waste reduction, and support the implementation of the European Green Deal.
The European Commission is committed to setting the precedent by solidifying sustainable food systems within the borders of the European Union, as well as outside of them. International multilateral cooperation is the end goal in mind, and with taking the first steps, the EU strives to promote more sustainable farming practices, reduce deforestation, enhance biodiversity, and improve food security to encourage the implementation of sustainability initiatives across the globe.
Enhanced Visibility From Farm To Fork With AuditComply
Overall, the Farm to Fork Strategy and The European Union’s Green Deal Action Plan represent a significant shift towards more sustainable and responsible Food & Beverage practices. Companies in this industry will need to adapt to these changes to remain competitive and meet consumer expectations for sustainability and transparency.
The EU initiatives have identified FSQA Management systems as one of the key drivers to fighting climate change and environmental degradation. Food Safety and Quality Management Systems like AuditComply can help ensure that food production and processing operations are sustainable, healthy, and environmentally friendly, aligning with the objectives of the Farm to Fork strategy:
– Ensuring compliance with regulations – A robust food safety and quality management system can ensure that food production and processing operations comply with relevant regulations, including those related to food safety, environmental protection, and animal welfare.
– Improving traceability – An effective management system can improve traceability by identifying the origin and flow of food products, making it easier to track and prevent foodborne illnesses and respond to food safety incidents.
– Reducing food waste – A management system can help reduce food waste by optimizing production processes, improving inventory management, and ensuring that products are fresh and safe for consumption.
– Enhancing transparency – A management system can improve transparency by providing accurate and reliable information about food products, including their origin, ingredients, and nutritional content.
– Supporting continuous improvement – A management system can support continuous improvement by providing a framework for setting and achieving sustainability goals, monitoring performance, and implementing corrective actions where necessary.
AuditComply offers an all-in-one FSQA management solution to overcome visibility barriers. We act as the backbone of your food organization, safeguarding your revenue, reputation, sustainability, and governance. Our user-friendly platform enables you to evaluate, handle, and report on internal FSQA standards, supplier compliance, and legislative requirements in real-time.
Our mobile, paperless solution ensures compliance and quality across all supplier and customer locations, eliminating the need for manual record-keeping. With simplified non-conformance workflows, photo evidence collection, integrated communications, and automated task scheduling, achieving better control and visibility has never been easier.
To learn more about how to best approach the EU Farm To Fork Strategy, reach out to the AuditComply team today.