Euro Coop, the voice of the co-operative retailers in Europe, has called the European Commission (EC) to continue implementing its Farm to Fork strategy to drive sustainability in the food sector.
In a recent article, the apex argued that co-operatives can offer higher guarantees of worker rights, shared benefits, equality and holistic sustainability “because the core business operations are based on principles and led by values, thereby maximising benefits for the individual consumer-members (who are the owners of the business) and their communities, while being economically viable”.
Urging the EC to step up its Farm to Fork strategy during the current crisis by increasing its sustainability ambitions, it said consumer co-ops have led the way in sustainable practices and have been “steps ahead of the strict legislation requirements on food safety and sustainability”.
“Being owned by consumers, co-ops have a direct and strong interest in ensuring food safety and sustainability,” the article says. “This is why Euro Coop strongly supports the call for the Commission to keep on track and ensure the EU food production resilience by raising sustainability ambitions even further in a crisis period which exposes our Bloc’s vulnerabilities.”
Euro Coop expressed concerns over the EC’s delay in updating the law on the sustainable use of pesticides and nature restoration, which is part of Farm to Fork. The EC blamed the delay on the Ukraine crisis, which has affected cereal crops – especially wheat – in Russia and Ukraine, which is an important global producer.
The apex also warned of the consequences of unsustainable food production, such as climate emissions, water depletion, soil degradation, water and air pollution, habitat and biodiversity loss.
Cheaper goods produced in this way mean sustainable farmers face unfair competition, says Euro Coop, which wants a number of measures implemented to ensure a level playing field for EU farmers – such as a border adjustment tax for imported products.
Another concern is the impact on staple grains of financial speculation at the Seeds Stock Exchange.
The full article is available on Euro Coop’s website.