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The issues facing the food industry

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Businesses in the food industry face a wide variety of sustainability issues. Each business defines its own strategy depending on its market, its offering and how committed it is to sustainability.

The food industry is fully aware of the significant challenges it faces. Considering all aspects of sustainability is no longer a choice, but an obligation.

According to the French national food industry association (ANIA), the main issues are:

  • Energy efficiency.
  • Managing the supply chain.
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Water pollution.
  • Reporting: traceability, transparency, etc.
  • Tackling food waste.
  • Managing, recycling and disposing of packaging.
  • Optimising logistics and transport
  • CSR

According to the French Ministry of Agriculture (1), around a quarter of food companies with more than 20 employees believe that their business has a strong or very strong impact on the environment. These impacts mainly concern water, waste production and soil pollution. Apart from complying with the legislative and regulatory framework, almost half of companies have taken proactive measures regarding corporate social responsibility (CSR).

Most of these measures are to do with the production process. They range from efficient resource management to improved energy efficiency or biodiversity conservation.

Lastly, this transformation extends beyond the national framework. The European Union has launched a series of programmes which represent an opportunity for businesses. Examples of these programmes include: PEFMED (tool for the European harmonisation of the environmental impact assessment of products); REINWASTE (support for food companies in the northern Mediterranean targeting “zero inorganic waste” in order to become greener and more competitive); Render (promoting the environmental footprint principle within Europe’s dairy sector); etc.

According to the French Ministry of Agriculture, around a quarter of food companies with more than 20 employees believe that their business has a strong or very strong impact on the environment.

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