Reacting to the EU Commission initiative on the Circular Economy and Green Employment published today, Copa-Cogeca underlined that the EU agriculture and forestry sectors are major players in this field, achieving significant results in resource efficiency. Fostering the circular approach enables resources to be saved and the green economy boosted.
“Circular thinking is all about enhancing productivity whilst making efficient use of available resources. Saving energy, nutrients and water and ensuring sustainable biomass production brings about significant economic and environmental benefits and we have made huge efforts in this. Avoiding the wastage of resources is a priority for farmers, forest holders and their cooperatives, and it is clear that by optimising the use and reuse of resources, new business opportunities and additional jobs can be created”, Copa-Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen explained.
He continued “We support actions in collaboration with other actors in the food chain which change the behaviour throughout the food chain from farmers to consumers to minimise losses and food wastage. Providing a second life to products is a core aspect of the circular economy. Rather than being discarded, todays products from the agriculture sector that cannot be put on the market because they do not comply with certain standards are used in the processing industry, for animal feed or for biogas and in bio-based industries. When developing actions to prevent and reduce food waste, we must not however compromise the high food safety standards already in place in the EU”.
“In addition, consumer education significantly reduces food wastage. Copa-Cogeca supports exploring ways to positively influence consumers’ behaviour through information campaigns. This would help to reduce the amount of food thrown away unnecessarily.”, he stressed.
Research and innovation is crucial for the circular economy to generate new ideas and scale up existing ones. Agriculture and forestry, the traditional green sectors, have a core role to play in the development of the European green economy. These sectors are willing to acquire and develop the necessary skills and knowledge to further engage in this field. Access to research and innovation for farmers and forest holders should therefore be facilitated. In the longer term, it is crucial to develop strategies that allow the maximum value per unit of resource, whilst reducing production costs and risks in order to deal with problem of the scarcity of natural resources. This encourages farmers and forest holders to “produce more and better by using less”.