In a letter to the Commission’s first vice president Frans Timmermans, WWF European Policy Office director Tim Long called on the Commission to publish its conclusions from a public consultation on building a healthier and more sustainable food supply that took place in 2013. Long argues that this is particularly important in light of the EU’s aim to strike a global climate deal this year and its development goals.
Food policy manager of WWF-UK Duncan Williamson said: “The EU promised to publish it’s ‘Building a Sustainable European Food System’ last year, and has so far failed to do so. Without it, the development of a clear policy on sustainable food is held back, and cooperation between European stakeholders from different sectors is also stalling. WWF and LiveWell for LIFE call for the EU to publish this Communication as soon as possible so that progress can be made.”
WWF says that establishing a policy framework for healthy, sustainable food production is urgent for several reasons, including its role as the world’s biggest importer and exporter of food. In addition, 30% of Europe’s emissions are food related, animal product consumption accounts for 46% of its water consumption, half the population is obese or overweight, and a third of food produced for Europeans is lost or wasted.
“A big majority of civil society, businesses and national governments across Europe want the European Commission to act on food sustainability,” said Long. “Vice-President Timmermans’ team should bring together all these partners to work towards a fairer, healthier and more competitive food system that respects the limits of the planet. In 2015 Europe will take important commitments for global sustainable development and climate action. None of them will be achieved without acting on food.”
WWF is one of 32 organisations that signed the letter urging the EU to put sustainable food production back on the agenda, alongside food manufacturers, farmers and academics, as well as representatives from the retail industry, health sector and civil society across the EU.
WWF has just published recommendations for developing a healthy, sustainable food system under its Live Well for Life project.
No one from the Commission responded to a request for comment prior to publication.