Recommendation 0: Holistic Strategies and Harmonized Governance
Euro Coop fully endorses a holistic view and long-term strategies to support sustainable food systems. We recognise the importance of coherence among different legislative measures, regulatory interventions, and economic interventions. To ensure a level playing field and increase consumer trust in food sustainability claims, a harmonized governance system at the EU level is essential.
Recommendation 1: Incentives and Fiscal Disincentives
Euro Coop supports the proposal to make healthy and sustainable food options easy and affordable choices. In this regard, we highlight that the existing price gap between organic and conventional food mainly stems from cheap food prices that do not reflect the true environmental and social costs. We endorse the introduction of taxes on unsustainable products and the reduction of subsidies for production systems with low environmental and social performances.
Recommendation 2: Separate Considerations for Healthy Habits and Sustainability
Euro Coop emphasises the importance of distinguishing between considerations of healthy habits and sustainability. While supporting efforts to increase knowledge and awareness, we believe that a robust regulatory framework defining minimum sustainability requirements is crucial. These requirements should include the indexing of food products based on their production, processing, and distribution impacts. Clear definitions of these indices will enable the setting of time objectives for healthy and sustainable consumption. Euro Coop fully supports the use of digital tools to inform and educate consumers about the sustainability of the food system and endorses limiting the advertising of unhealthy and unsustainable foods, sugary drinks, and alcohol.
Recommendation 3: Regulation and Reformulation
Euro Coop supports the encouragement of Member States to regulate the inclusion of unhealthy and unsustainable food products. Considering the international dimension of the issue, we endorse the mandate to reformulate food products to increase the availability of healthy and sustainable options. However, we suggest revising the wording related to the restriction of imports of unsustainable food products. We propose basing fiscal disincentives such as border adjustment taxes or bans on the evaluation of food products against sustainability indexes. We also recognise the importance of supporting local farmers practicing agroecology and suggest leveraging taxes or bans based on sustainability thresholds for imported products.
The recommendations released by the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors offer a comprehensive and strategic approach that holds great promise for transforming food consumption practices in Europe. By addressing crucial policy areas and recognising the multifaceted nature of food choices, these recommendations have the potential to pave the way for an environment where sustainable and healthy food choices become the standard. Euro Coop stands in support of these recommendations, actively advocating for the regulation and reformulation of food products to promote the inclusion of healthier and more sustainable options.
Read the report by the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors