Code of Conduct for Responsible Business and Marketing Practices

Code of Conduct for Responsible Business and Marketing Practices

The Code of Conduct for Responsible Business and Marketing Practices is one of the first deliverables of the Farm to Fork Strategy and an integral part of its action plan. It will set out the actions that the actors ‘between the farm and the fork’, such as food processors, food service operators and retailers, can voluntarily commit to undertake to tangibly improve and communicate their sustainability performance. These actions can be directly relevant and implementable within their own operations or may encourage collaboration with industry peers and other food system stakeholders (such as farmers and consumers) to make similar changes. The aim is to have the Code of Conduct ready for signature and endorsement by interested parties in June 2021.

The Code of Conduct for Responsible Business and Marketing Practices will contain voluntary commitments for action together with a monitoring and evaluation framework to measure progress. The Commission will consider legislative measures if progress is insufficient. The process to develop the Code of Conduct started in December 2020. Based on a concept note prepared by the Commission, a technical meeting gathered a large number of stakeholders from representative industry associations as well as from NGOs to discuss the way forward.

To formally launch the process for developing the Code of Conduct, a High-level stakeholder event took place on 26 January 2021 under the auspices of the Commission, with interventions from Executive Vice-President F. Timmermans, Commissioner S. Kyriakides, MEP H. Dorfmann (rapporteur for the Farm to Fork Strategy at the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development), MEP S. Wiener (shadow rapporteur for the Farm to Fork Strategy at the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety) and industry players. In that High-level event, Executive Vice President F. Timmermans and Commissioner S. Kyriakides, and supported by the MEPs, expressed the Commission’s vision of the Code of Conduct as an important tool to enable private actors to commit to take action to support the transition towards a sustainable food system. A number of major food companies and retailers also expressed their support for the Code and presented their ideas and inspirations based on their achievements so far.

What will the Code of Conduct contain?

The Code will include tangible and measurable actions, which actually contribute to a food environment that makes healthy and sustainable food choices easier. Commitments may take the form of a declaration of engagement and actions in major areas, together with an agreement to move towards higher levels of ambition within a defined timeframe. For the more advanced who wish to make greater commitments, the Code will also include a set of more ambitious, measurable actions.

What happens next?

In the months leading up to June 2021, the Commission will regularly organise meetings with a broad range of stakeholders to discuss the Code and its content.

The first such meeting was held on 23 February 2021.

To ensure transparency in the process, meeting reports shall be published on this website.

Meetings 2021

  • 26 January - High-level launch event on the Code of Conduct for responsible business and marketing practices

General stakeholder meetings

  • 27 April

    • Agenda
    • Presentation - EU Code of Conduct for responsible business and marketing practices
    • Presentation - Code of conduct on responsible business and marketing practices - Second Component
  • 30 March

  • 23 February - Code of Conduct for Responsible Business and Marketing Practices

Task Force Thematic Sessions

  • 29 April - Thematic session 4: Monitoring and Evaluation

  • 21 April - Thematic session 3: Improving the sustainability of the food value chain - in relation to primary producers and other actors in the chain

  • 15 April - Thematic session 2: Improving the Impact of food processing, retail and food services’ own operations on sustainability

  • 8 April - Thematic session 1: Food consumption patterns (for healthy and sustainable diets)

  • 31 March - Thematic session 4: Monitoring and Evaluation

  • 25 March - Thematic session 3: Improving the sustainability of the food value chain - in relation to primary producers and other actors in the chain

  • 23 March - Thematic session 2: Improving the Impact of food processing, retail and food services’ own operations on sustainability

  • 17 March - Thematic session 1: Food consumption patterns (for healthy and sustainable diets)

  • 11 March - Thematic session 4: Monitoring and Evaluation

  • 10 March - Kick off task force meeting on the Code of Conduct