Freshfel Europe along with members have launched the Freshfel Environmental Footprint Initiative for the fresh produce supply chain. In light of upcoming EU legislation requiring environmental footprint accountability as well as increasing demand along the chain for product sustainability data for supply chain actors and customers alike, there is a growing need for a standardized environmental footprint methodology for the fresh produce sector. Freshfel Europe and its members are embarking on the Environmental Footprint Initiative in a collaborative manner to develop a fresh fruit and vegetable environmental footprint methodology and digital tool that the whole sector may benefit from to enhance the industry’s sustainability and maintain its competitiveness. Freshfel Europe members participating in the Initiative include Ailimpo, ANPP, Apeel Sciences, Assomela, Bama Gruppen, Bayer AG, BVEO, COLEACP, Dole plc, Greenyard, Fresh Produce Centre, IG International, Interfel and VBT.
On the 14 April 2022 Freshfel Europe along with participating members launched the Freshfel Environmental Footprint Initiative with the first Steering Committee meeting of the Initiative. Within the Association, Freshfel Europe members have been exchanging on environmental footprint and life cycle assessment issues regarding both supply chain and legislative-driven sustainability demands. The launch of the Freshfel Environmental Footprint Initiative with leading members from the Association marks a new level of cooperation on this complex and technical subject within the fresh produce sector. With participating members from right across the supply chain from Europe and beyond, the Initiative will reflect the needs of the entire supply chain from producers to consumers.
The objective of the Freshfel Environmental Footprint Initiative is to develop an objective, standardized environmental footprint methodology, database and digital tool for the fresh produce sector that is broadly accepted by the industry, stakeholders as well as consumers. Until now efforts within the sector to address product sustainability through environmental footprint have been highly fragmented. Over the past year Freshfel Europe’s Working Group on Environmental Footprint has investigated individual efforts throughout the sector and further afield to best understand the sector landscape and where gaps in environmental footprint knowledge and tools lie. This has culminated in the launch of the Initiative with a group of leading sector members to develop a standardised environmental footprint methodology and digital tool from which the sector at large may benefit.
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 harmonised EU sustainability labelling framework for food among others. Category rules specific to the fruit and vegetables sector will be developed ensuring comparable results of PEF- calculations.
The Initiative is a milestone in sector cooperation on sustainability matters. Freshfel Europe Director Sustainability and Health Nicola Pisano explained, “Freshfel Europe with its extensive membership spanning the entire supply chain from producers to retailers is best placed to act as the platform for the Initiative’s work. The Association is facilitating collaboration between 14 of its leading members to develop an objective and standardised environmental footprint methodology and accompanying digital tool for the fresh produce sector at large.” Ms Pisano added, “More than ever before both the methodology and digital are much needed by the fresh fruit and vegetable sector. 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”. The Freshfel Environmental Footprint Initiative is open to all Freshfel Europe members, with Freshfel Europe itself acting as sector representative. Additionally, the Initiative is looking at further collaboration on the methodology, database and digital tool with other partners from the sector and agri-food industry.
Freshfel Europe members participating in the Freshfel Environmental Footprint Initiative
Note to the Editors: Freshfel Europe is the European Fresh Produce Association, representing the interests of the fresh fruit and vegetables supply chain in Europe and beyond. Freshfel Europe currently has over 200 members, including both companies and associations. For more information, please contact Nicola Pisano at firstname.lastname@example.org.