The main agenda point was a discussion on the PEF and PEFCR (PEF product category rules), and setting up a sustainability labelling exchange with retailers.
Among the members of the roundtable, the views on the Sustainable EU food system initiative consultation were aligned, particularly in relation to:
-the need to ensure a harmonised approach, particularly in relation to labelling and standards,
-not make EU businesses less competitive vis-à-vis non-EU businesses, and protect the level playing field
-for there to be clear definitions, specially for sustainability for which there is no EU definition
-WTO compatibility of any future measure
Not all members of the round table were replying to the questionnaire, as it was felt that the questions are still very high-level in terms of the framework, so it would be best to wait for specific regulatory proposals (e.g. on sustainability labelling for food) to be released by the Commission.
The members also discussed the Waste Framework Directive consultation, Corporate sustainable due diligence and forced labour product ban. Not all members had participated in these consultations, though members noted that in relation to Corporate sustainable due diligence, there had been concerns expressed by German members in relation to due diligence following the legislation in Germany on Supply chain due diligence.
An extensive discussion was had among the member on the PEF, the utility, drawbacks, and costs of a PEFCR, and also on Green Claims and sustainability labels which are already being adopted by retailers. There was a consensus that there are many concerns and possible drawbacks in relation to the PEF approach, but also a strong agreement and recognition that engagement with retailers would be valuable.
It was agreed among the members that efforts would be made to set up an exchange with retailers on the question of sustainability labelling whilst closely following the developments on the PEF / PEFCR methodology, particularly in relation to the outcome for those industries that had already carried out a PEFCR.
Members of the roundtable were also invited to register for FRUCOM’s Sustainability Working Group meeting taking place on 14 October.
On the administrative side, it was agreed that the membership of the roundtable would be open to "European" agri-food chain industry associations whose activities are impacted by the European legislative framework related to sustainability.
Members of the roundtable present were:
-TomatoEurope Processors Association