Files vital to speeding up shift to sustainable food systems are missing from 2024 agenda
Food awareness organisation, ProVeg International, has today expressed its concern and disappointment that three files that support the bloc’s urgent need to transition to a sustainable food system are missing from its 2024 Work Programme.
The Sustainable Food Systems Law, the School Scheme and the EU Promotion Policy are all vital tools to enable the EU to tackle the climate challenges presented by agriculture but none of them will be in the Work Programme prior to next June’s EU elections. It means that the files could be abandoned by a new Commission and Parliament.
“We are very disappointed by this development which represents a failure on behalf of the current Commission. The global food system is responsible for a third of greenhouse gas emissions, as recognised by the EU’s own scientific advisors in the 2023 SAPEA report, which also found that switching to plant-based diets has the greatest mitigation potential among GHG emission reduction strategies,” Lucia Hortelano, EU Policy Manager at ProVeg International, said.
“Without bold action at EU level – action that other countries around the world can see being implemented and can then imitate in their own countries – we will not be able to meet the internationally agreed targets of keeping under 1.5 degrees. These three files offer the hope of helping to achieve that target. Their absence from the 2024 Work Programme means they may not be reintroduced by a future Commission,” Hortelano said.
About the three files:
- The Sustainable Food Systems Law is a key part of the EU’s pioneering Farm to Fork Strategy and aims to accelerate the transition to more sustainable food systems by ensuring sustainability is embedded in new laws and policies as they develop.
- The School Scheme supports the distribution of fruit, vegetables and milk to 20 million school children across the EU. As yet, it does not support plant-based milk alternatives which many children wish to drink for health or environmental reasons. ProVeg has been actively pushing for fortified unsweetened plant milk*alternatives such as soy and pea to be introduced into the scheme, next to their dairy counterparts.
- The EU Promotion Policy promotes agricultural products and needs changing so that climate-friendly plant-based products are also actively promoted using EU funds. Plant-based food emits half the GHGs as animal-based foods so it is essential to use EU money to support plant-based diets among EU citizens.
Simultaneously, the European Commission has confirmed that it is actively advancing Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s pledge to establish dialogue on Green Strategic Farming. ProVeg urges the Commission to ensure the comprehensive representation of all food industry stakeholders in these dialogues, ensuring that every voice within the food supply chain, from farm to fork, is heard.
Separately, Denmark has taken its own action to push forward sustainable food systems through the publication at the end of last week of an Action Plan for Plant-Based Foods. The plan aims to increase the production and consumption of climate-friendly food by providing support in the public sector, industry and research and development fields.
“Given the growing appetite for greater sustainability in our food systems, we ask the European Commission to keep the focus on sustainability of foods and deliver its ambitious programme in the forthcoming year,” Hortelano said.
Notes to Editors
For media inquiries, email Peter Rixon at [email protected].
About ProVeg International
Our vision is a world where everyone chooses delicious and healthy food that is good for all humans, animals, and our planet. ProVeg International is a food awareness organisation with the mission to replace 50% of animal products globally with plant-based and cultivated foods by 2040.