European food industry calls for ‘urgent agreement’ on climate change

By Caroline SCOTT-THOMAS contact

- Last updated on GMT

The food industry is making strides to deal with climate change but can only achieve so much by itself, the FDE report said
The food industry is making strides to deal with climate change but can only achieve so much by itself, the FDE report said

Related tags: Climate change, Biodiversity, Food, Weather

European industry association FoodDrinkEurope has called for an ambitious global climate deal to help justify investment in low carbon technologies, it said in a report released at Expo Milano last week.

In a new survey of its members, 95% said they had included ways to deal with climate change in their business strategy, but the report stressed a need for action along the whole food and agricultural supply chain, spurred by policymakers, considering the industry’s total reliance on climate for its raw material production.

“We are already seeing the consequences of climate change,”​ said Pascal Gréverath, Nestlé’s assistant vice president of environmental sustainability and chair of FDE’s Environmental Sustainability Committee. “Food production will come under increased pressure in the future. This is why Europe’s food and drink manufacturers are actively working to try to mitigate and adapt to climate change through actions such as investing in low-carbon technologies, working with farmers and proactively engaging with consumers and partners along the supply chain.”

Some of the biggest challenges include supply chain volatility caused by extreme weather events, biodiversity loss and deforestation, and also how consumers transport, buy and cook food.

Achievements in the sector address water use, changing technologies and behaviours, optimising current processes, and have also put in place voluntary agreements to improve efficiency and reduce emissions.

“The food and drink industry is taking large strides to move towards a sustainable, low-carbon future, but ultimately can only achieve so much,”​ the report said. “In order to adequately address the dual global challenge of food security and climate change, a new ambitious deal must be credible and consistent to give businesses the security to invest in low-carbon technologies.”

It said a global agreement should include mitigation of emissions as well as agricultural adaptation to climate change, with a focus on developing countries and global R&D.

Among other recommendations, FDE also called for a global definition of food wastage and a methodology for assessing waste.

The full document is available online here (pdf)​.

Related topics: Sustainability, Policy

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