Must-knows for manufacturers on EU sustainability legislation16 Feb 2023
New EU regulations require manufacturers to implement accurate, comprehensive sustainability reporting – and almost all companies working within Europe will be impacted, says Deloitte analyst Birthe van der Vaart.
The European Union’s (EU) Green Deal and climate and financial regulations are entering the food landscape, spurring updates to current requirements and shaping the future of food manufacturing. The laws will significantly impact food businesses’ financial reporting, operations, communication, supplier relations, and entire value chain.
Food manufacturing businesses need to prepare for the Fit for 55 package, a series of proposals to revise and update EU legislation. Green energy and the transition towards renewable energy, circularity, and zero emissions fall within the EU’s legislative remit. Due diligence and sustainability reporting also feature in the EU’s upcoming legislative framework.
The EU is pursuing these regulations as part of the continent’s efforts to become climate neutral by 2050. Simultaneously, today’s consumers are becoming more vocal about the importance of sustainability and sustainable reporting, prompting sustainable action.
Looking ahead, three key legislations will impact the food manufacturing industry: EU taxonomy, the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), and the Directive on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence.
EU taxonomy: Standardised definitions of sustainability
The EU taxonomy is a classification system that creates a list of environmentally sustainable economic activities. It will demand more transparency from companies in a comparable way.
“It is going to avoid cherry picking and writing a beautiful, glossy sustainability report while you are only picking out the nice things [that] you can report on,” Birthe van der Vaart, risk advisory and sustainability partner at Deloitte told attendees at Fi Europe 2022.
The EU taxonomy aims to standardise sustainability definitions and identify six key operational objectives. It will assess the validity of businesses’ reported activities and measure their green credentials, working to ensure clarity and helping to dispel greenwashing.
Reporting is already underway. How businesses manage water usage, handle the circular economy, pollution prevention, and biodiversity will be important in 2023. Businesses will need to report on these elements and fully implement the mechanisms to do so in 2024.
Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD): ‘A gigantic switch for sustainability’
The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) entered the legislative landscape on 14th December 2022. “Almost all companies working within Europe will be impacted,” said van Der Vaart. Accountants will have to sign off and ratify their numbers, answering questions on reliability, the applicability of parameters, the presence of evidential proof, and if it can be audited.
The new legislation signals “a gigantic switch for sustainability and sustainability reporting”, said van der Vaart. Food manufacturers will need to understand their scope one, two and three emissions, requiring them to take responsibility for the entire value chain, both upstream and downstream.
They must approach the importance and credibility of this reported data in the same way as their financial data to help develop trust with consumers.
Additional questions revolve around: What kind of suppliers do I use? How do I support my suppliers to become more sustainable? “Those questions will play a big role in the coming two or three years when we are facing the implementation of this EU Green Deal law for the CSRD,” said van Der Vaart.
“The EU hasn’t thought of a fine system like General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), but I’m guessing it’s coming our way,” van Der Vaart added.
Additives in US food products up 10% since 2001
18 Jul 2023
New research revealed that 60% of foods purchased by Americans contained technical food additives as of 2019, which was a 10% increase since 2001.Read more
Industry first: The Netherlands approves cultivated meat and seafood tastings
17 Jul 2023
The Netherlands has become the first country in Europe to approve tastings of cultivated meat and seafood in controlled environments, yet there is still a long way to go before widescale commercialisation is achieved.Read more
One-fifth of Brazilian whey protein products mislabelled
12 Jul 2023
One fifth of whey protein products sold in Brazil are mislabelled, according to one small survey, as the Latin American trade association ALANUR calls on authorities to act against brands that inappropriately advertise the nutritional attributes of the...Read more
New Nordic nutrition guidelines emphasise plant-based eating
11 Jul 2023
Nordic scientists and experts are now recommending that people should consume less meat and more plants for both their health and the health of the planet.Read more
Manufacturers await groundbreaking aspartame safety review
10 Jul 2023
The WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is preparing to release its findings on whether the sweetener aspartame is a possible carcinogen.Read more
Food sector pushes unhealthy choices on consumers, new report shows
7 Jul 2023
Regulators and retailers must take action to prevent European consumers from being led to make unhealthy food choices, experts say.Read more
How to revive stagnating plant-based meat sales
6 Jul 2023
Sales of plant-based meat are stagnating, products are being withdrawn, and brands are declaring bankruptcy – but Rabobank’s RaboResearch has identified five strategies that could help revive the category, and precision fermentation could be an NPD gam...Read more
UK consumer trust in supermarkets falls to nine-year-low
5 Jul 2023
Research by UK consumer review organisation, Which?, reports decreasing levels of trust in the food industry, with two-thirds of shoppers feeling ripped off.Read more
UK retailers flout unhealthy product regulation
4 Jul 2023
UK retailers are continuing to promote unhealthy products that are high in fat, salt, and sugar (HFSS) despite recent regulation that bans such practices.Read more
Are Dutch supermarkets committed to human rights?
3 Jul 2023
Dutch supermarkets lack widespread measures to respect human rights in supply chains, research project Superlist Social's inaugural report finds.Read more