Talks to decide on what EU food waste policy will look like begin this week.
The three-way negotiations, called trialogues, will be a showdown between the European Parliament and the European Council and Commission, who each enter the negotiations with their opening positions to thrash out a final compromise agreement.
Campaigners have slammed the European Council and Commission for their lack of ambition, and urged them to unite behind the European Parliament’s ambitious food waste proposals. They lay out the case for this in a new policy paper: https://www.foe.co.uk/sites/default/files/downloads/EU%20food%20waste%20campaign%20-%20Policy%20paper%20on%20Waste%20Directive.pdf
Over 50 organisations from 18 EU countries and over 70,000 people through Change.org and Global Citizen petitions have backed a campaign started by campaign group This Is Rubbish, calling for ambitious binding targets to halve EU food waste from farm to fork.
In March 2017, following massive pressure from campaigners, the European Parliament voted to introduce farm-to-fork targets to reduce EU food waste by 30% by 2025 and 50% by 2030. The Parliament also voted to call on the Commission to review making these Union-wide food waste reduction targets legally binding by 2020, and to support a food waste hierarchy to prioritise food waste reduction and redistribution to charities over other uses such as burning for energy. The Parliament will enter the trialogues advocating for these policies.
In contrast, the European Council and Commission are advocating for targets which are not farm-to-fork, non-binding, and do not include the food waste hierarchy – placing the European Parliament’s proposals under threat.
The Commission has previously been accused of bowing to industry lobbying in watering down its food waste ambitions, and was heavily criticized by the European Court of Auditors in January for its inadequate actions to solve food waste.
This is Rubbish campaigner Martin Bowman said: “After years of negotiations, the final show down is beginning to decide on the next 14 years of EU food waste policy, and it’s all to play for. We condemn the weakness of the European Council and Commission’s positions on food waste, and urgently call on them to up their ambition and unite behind the European Parliament’s ambitious food waste proposals. Binding farm-to-fork food waste targets are vitally needed to face the urgent challenges of climate change, land and water depletion, and food poverty”
“Targets to halve EU food waste by 2030 vitally need to include the whole supply chain from farm to fork, because up to 59% of the EU’s food waste occurs before it gets to the retail shelves, on farms and in factories.
“We need the Commission to review of making these targets binding by 2020 to ensure member states take them seriously and we don’t end up with tokenistic action. We see time and again that voluntary codes have uneven rates of uptake and often deliver lacklustre results, whereas binding regulation delivers a level playing field and leads to swift and dramatic improvements. And we need to see a food waste hierarchy adopted, to prioritise feeding food to people and designing waste out of the system in the first place.
“The European Parliament’s proposals deliver on all of those points, whereas the Council and Commission’s proposals risk leaving us with non-binding targets which sideline huge amounts of food waste in the food industry in favour of an approach skewed towards consumers. This is a big opportunity for the Council and Commission to rally round the Parliament’s inspirational food waste targets.”