"Check against delivery"

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, Colleagues,

I am delighted to join you today to kick off this virtual meeting of the EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste.

We are meeting as the world continues to grapple with an unprecedented health crisis, which is taking a heavy toll on the economy and society.

The European Green Deal is at the centre of our efforts to emerge from this current crisis and to build back better with a green and sustainable recovery.

Our EU Farm to Fork Strategy and efforts to establish a sustainable EU food system are essential in this.

And EU targets to reduce food waste will be important to deliver on the Strategy’s ambition.

All of us – the EU, Member States, businesses and consumers – have a stake in tackling food waste.

To better prepare Member States for a sustainable recovery and underpin their commitments to green and digital transitions, the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility will offer large-scale financial support for investment and reforms.

Here, Member States have a golden opportunity to include food loss and waste prevention in their recovery plans. And I would urge businesses to take similar steps. 

Member States and businesses can also be part of the action to reduce food loss and waste, thanks to the “target – measure – act” approach.

With EU-wide monitoring of food waste levels, we will be able to set targets to reduce food waste across the EU and drive progress towards the target under the Sustainable Development Goals to cut food waste in half by 2030.

This year’s UN Food Systems Summit is a chance to promote a global transition to sustainable food systems – and reducing food waste is a key focus. 

To stop wasting food, we must stop wasting time. Ahead of the Summit, we are working with international partners to define impactful actions for countries, companies and consumers worldwide.

Households are the largest contributors to food waste around the world, and the EU is no exception.

It therefore makes complete sense for consumers to be closely involved in transforming our food system. We will engage with citizens through dialogues to seek their input for the Summit’s deliverables, including solutions for cutting food waste.

We could also avoid food waste if it were easier for consumers to understand what the dates marked on their food mean.

To help with this we will propose revising EU rules on date marking by next year. Our legislative proposal will draw on consumer behaviour research and an impact assessment, which will include public consultations. I hope this Platform will contribute with its input.

Last but not least, we will run a pilot project called the European Consumer Food Waste Forum. This will see a network of researchers and practitioners develop an evidence-based collection of best practices to reduce consumer food waste.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are not yet on track to meet the collective ambition we signed up to in the Sustainable Development Goals.

That is why we need concerted action by both public and private actors, across the food supply chain.

It is also why we welcome the FAO’s initiative to develop a voluntary code of conduct on food loss and waste reduction for all relevant stakeholders.

Building on this, as part of the Farm to Fork Strategy, we are developing an EU Code of Conduct for responsible business and marketing practices. This can include commitments to prevent food loss and waste.

Transforming our food system will require innovative solutions. For this, we will make support available from a range of EU instruments, such as the LIFE Programme, Single Market Programme, Horizon Europe, and entrepreneurship programmes by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology. 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This shows just how relevant the EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste remains.

It has helped guide our work at EU level and has inspired further action on the ground in the Member States.

We can all be proud of the important milestones we have reached together.

We now have a chance to build on this excellent work. Because this year, the Platform will have its mandate extended for five more years.

As a result, it will continue to play an instrumental role in scaling up action to reduce food loss and waste across the EU. Its key recommendations will continue to show the way forward for all concerned.

With your help, we will fine-tune the new Platform’s role and aims, making it better equipped to support all players in taking effective action to reduce food losses and waste.   

Thank you for your work and for making the Platform an example of best practice. I look forward to seeing it make an even more impactful contribution.

I wish you every success in your discussions today.