With legislation forthcoming on environmental accountability, a coalition of fresh produce partners along with Freshfel Europe have launched a new strategy to boost sustainability across the EU supply chain.
The Environmental Footprint Initiative – being forged by Freshfel andAilimpo, ANPP, Apeel Sciences, Assomela, Bama Gruppen, Bayer AG, BVEO, COLEACP, Dole, Greenyard, Fresh Produce Centre, IG International, Interfel and VBT – is collaborating to develop a methodology and digital tool to also address demands from throughout the fresh produce industry, including the needs of consumers.
“More than ever the methodology and digital tool are much needed by the fresh fruit and vegetable sector,” said Nicola Pisano, Freshfel spokesperson. “There is increasing legislative, B2B and B2C demand for transparent and highly accurate product sustainability data and the sector must not be left behind in order to maintain market competitiveness in the coming years.”
Until now, the industry has struggled to address product sustainability because of fragmentation, according to Freshfel.
Over the past year Freshfel Europe’s Working Group on Environmental Footprint has investigated individual efforts throughout the sector to best understand the sector landscape and where gaps in environmental footprint knowledge and tools lie.
The Initiative will align with the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) methodology as recommended by the EU. The PEF methodology is likely to be employed by the European Commission in upcoming legislation impacting the fresh produce sector on substantiating green claims and a harmonized EU sustainability labeling framework. Category rules specific to the fruit and vegetables sector will be developed ensuring comparable results of PEF calculations.
“Our participation in this timely and worthwhile project reflects our core values and our preferred approach to promoting sustainability across the fresh produce sector,” Vincent Dolan, VP of Sustainability for Dole EMEA, said in a statement. “Specifically, it illustrates our commitment to the adherence to best sustainable practices throughout our operations, the importance of the promotion of transparency across the supply chain and the value we place on constructive engagement with fellow stakeholders,” he added.
Freshfel says the Initiative is open to all of its members, and it will act as sector representative. The Initiative also is looking for more collaboration on the methodology, database and digital tool with other partners from the sector and agri-food industry.