Welcome note December 2021 newsletter

Dear readers,

2021 has been another turbulent year, again with great successes and challenges. Just like last year, I would like to start by thanking everyone involved in fighting the spread of the ongoing pandemic, as well as all organic stakeholders who continued working throughout these challenging times.

Before reflecting on 2021, I would like to start by looking forward to 2022 – as it is going to be an exciting year. More precisely, the Year of Organics. And it will kick off in a way bringing about many changes to all of us: the new EU Organic Regulation!

1 January 2022, application of the new EU Organic Regulation
As most of you are very much aware of, the new EU Organic Regulation (EU) 2018/848 will apply in only a few weeks, on 1 January 2022; and the reading will not be easy!

Contrary to the current EU Organic Regulation, the new EU Organic Regulation will be much more complex to navigate, containing one basic regulation with annexes, 24 secondary regulations amending or supplementing the Basic Regulation (some of them still to be published). On top of that, there are many cross-references and references to other EU legislations in the text.

We created a guide to help you, our members and other operators, navigate the labyrinth of the new legal framework. I am happy to say that the beta version of this guide is finally live for our members! You can find login information on our member extranet and read more about it further in this newsletter.

Celebrating 20 years of making Europe more organic
2022 will also be an anniversary year. We are turning 20 and will celebrate 20 years of representing the European organic movement at the heart of the European Union. Our colleagues at IFOAM – Organics International and IFOAM Asia are respectively celebrating their 50th and 10th birthdays!

Our anniversary is the perfect opportunity to look back at our successes in transforming the European food and farming system and thank farmers, processors, retailers, certifiers, and other organic stakeholders for making this possible. Changing our food system is more important than ever. Organic can make a crucial contribution to the climate crisis and biodiversity loss and hence, protect the very earth we are living on.

Together with our network from all over Europe, staff, supporters, decision-makers and other stakeholders from the agri-food and environmental sector, we will celebrate our anniversary and the Year of Organics throughout 2022, including an anniversary event in summer 2022. Stay tuned by visiting our website and following us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Looking ahead: Exploring how organic can make food production more resilient and climate-friendly at BIOFACH
We will start into next year with one of organic’s key events. On 15-18 February 2022, BIOFACH and Vivaness will take place in Nuremberg, Germany. The congress themed “Organic. Climate. Resilience.” will take place in hybrid format and offer visitors the opportunity to explore how organic can make food production more resilient and climate-friendly.

As IFOAM Organics Europe, we will contribute to BIOFACH 2022 by organising sessions on new policy and regulatory frameworks for organic, the new EU Organic Action Plan, digital technology for local and small-scale processing, climate change, pesticides and more.

The full programme will be available on BIOFACH’s and our website in the coming weeks, keep an eye on them to stay tuned. We look forwarding to welcoming you to one or more of our sessions.

Looking back: Another successful 2021
Among our recent successes is the recognition of organic as a political tool and part of the solution to the current societal challenges – foremost the climate and biodiversity crises.

As part of the European Green Deal, aiming at making Europe climate neutral by 2050, the Farm to Fork Strategy sets an ambitious but achievable target of 25% organic land by 2030. A testament to the importance of the Farm to Fork Strategy is the European Parliament’s own initiative report. Thanks to IFOAM Organics Europe’s advocacy efforts together with like-minded organisations, it supports the principles, mechanisms and rules promoting the environment and human health and recognises the contribution of organic farming to transitioning towards more sustainable food systems.

An important tool to further develop organic and contribute to reaching the 25% organic land target is the new EU Organic Action Plan, which includes many points we had advocated for. As IFOAM Organics Europe, we will ensure its success by closely monitoring its implementation on the ground. EU Organic Day, instated on 23 September, will be an ideal opportunity to evaluate Europe’s progress towards achieving its goal of 25% organic land by 2030, trends in consumer demand, awareness of organic in the supply chain and the implementation of the EU Organic Action Plan.

Finally, I would like to announce that IFOAM Organics Europe is searching for three new colleagues to join our team from early next year. Interested in contributing to making Europe more organic? Check out our vacancy page and apply.

A heart-felt ‘Thank you’ to our members for your continued support and involvement in our activities. Without you, making Europe more organic would not be possible. I would also like to thank our dedicated staff who worked tirelessly despite these challenging times to deliver important results, represent our members and progress in achieving our Vision 2030.

I wish you and your loved ones all the best for the rest of 2021 and a healthy start into 2022 – the Year of Organics.

Organic regards,

Eduardo Cuoco
IFOAM Organics Europe Director

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