EC Sustainable Consumption and Production Action Plan

Policy Position

Sustainability is one of FDF’s core priorities. Regarding environmental sustainability our members have a good track record of reducing their environmental impact in recent years.

Moreover in October 2007 FDF launched a Five-Fold Environmental Ambition focusing on five core impact areas where the industry can make a positive contribution to continuous improvement.

However as the Commission’s EIPRO and IMPRO studies have demonstrated there are key improvement potentials upstream (agriculture) and downstream (consumer behaviour) for the industry. This is why it is necessary to focus on identifying the most effective strategies and measures for the food chain as a whole involving all key players on a shared responsibility basis including farmers, industry, transport sector, retailers, consumers, the waste management industry and municipalities.



The European Commission has been tasked to implement the EU’s policy on Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) which is a broader concept than sustainability alone as it brings in the notion of changing consumer behaviour to achieve sustainability goals. Food and drink are among the top three priority product areas for the EC in the SCP area following the conclusions of the EIPRO study.

The Sustainable Consumption and Production(SCP) and Sustainable Industrial Policy (SIP) Action Plan was adopted by the Commission on 16 July 2008 with the overriding aim of improving the overall environmental performance of products throughout their life cycle, promoting and stimulating the demand for better products and production technologies and helping consumers to make better choices.

The SCP package includes two legislative proposals of potential significance to the food industry: an extended EU Eco-design Directive (based on the current Energy-Using Products Directive) and a revised EU Eco-label Regulation. The scope of the former is extended to ‘energy related products’, defined as “any goods having an impact on energy consumption during use”. The EC has so far been unable to clarify whether this would cover food. Products falling into the scope will also fall into the scope of a revised Energy Labelling Directive publication of which is to follow.

The revised Ecolabel regulation remains voluntary but its scope is extended to processed food and products of fisheries and aquaculture (Art 2) but specifically for food the label would disregard the agriculture and consumption phases (Art 9.10).

As part of the Action Plan the Commission also proposes the establishment of a “Retail Forum” to reduce the environmental footprint of the retail sector and its supply chain, promote more sustainable products and better inform consumers. Although this would also involve producers, retailers would have the leading role, being tasked with drafting the terms of reference.


Last reviewed: 19 May 2010