Green claims: The fight against greenwashing must be based on methodologies promoting the transition towards more sustainable food systems

BRUSSELS, 22 MARCH 2023 – IFOAM Organics Europe welcomes the publication of the Substantiating Green Claims initiative by the Commission, in particular the acknowledgement that Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) methodologies like the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) are not relevant to evaluate the environmental impact of bio-sourced products such as food and textiles.

Jan Plagge, IFOAM Organics Europe’s President, said: “Fighting greenwashing, providing meaningful information to consumers on the impact of the food products they buy, and incentivising producers to adopt truly sustainable practices, are essential to transition towards sustainable food systems.

Eduardo Cuoco, IFOAM Organics Europe’s Director comments: “We welcome the improvements made by the Commission to the substantiating green claims proposal. The Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) method is indeed not designed to reflect the reality of complex agri-food systems in a multi-dimensional way. The PEF does not properly consider the use of inputs like pesticides, negative and positive externalities of different agriculture production methods on biodiversity, soil quality, deforestation nor planetary boundaries.”

IFOAM Organics Europe supports the idea of protecting consumers from deceiving green claims on food but believes methodologies to assess the environmental value of food products should be properly discussed and aligned with the objectives of Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies. Environmental labelling schemes should be evaluated in regards of their capacity to promote the transition towards a more sustainable food systems based on an agroecological vision. Therefore, a special attention must be taken when regulating environmental labelling schemes and setting requirements for them. The upcoming Legislative Framework for Sustainable Food Systems represents an opportunity to discuss the topic with a broad consultation of the stakeholders involved, including NGOs and civil society.

Eric Gall, IFOAM Organics Europe’s Deputy Director, adds: “Different methodologies point towards different desirable futures for the agriculture and food sector, and this should be openly discussed. The EU needs an open debate on the best methodologies to provide detailed, fair, and unbiased information to consumers on the environmental impacts of different methods of production of agri-food products – at the same time considering the key concerns of European citizens and the priorities of the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies.”


For more information please contact:
Eric Gall, Deputy Director and Policy Manager
+32 491 07 25 37, [email protected]
Laura Sauques, Policy Assistant on Sustainable Food Systems
[email protected]
or visit www.organicseurope.bio

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