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Commerce supports the need to further reduce food waste


19 Jan 2012


Agriculture & Food

Food waste is a matter of great concern for the commerce sector. EuroCommerce welcomes the European Parliament’s vote on the Report by Salvatore Caronna MEP on how to reduce food waste in the EU.

Food waste occurs along the entire food supply chain, from production right through to consumption. Despite official reports from the European Commission that suggest the commerce sector is responsible for only 5.5% of the total food waste, commerce recognises that all actors in the supply chain must take measures to combat waste and be willing to assume their share of responsibility.

EuroCommerce Director General Christian Verschueren commented: “We are fully committed to reducing food waste. This is a vast challenge but one that has to be undertaken. Reducing waste and cutting food loss makes sense, not only from an environmental and ethical standpoint but also from an economic point of view.”

Mr Verschueren added: “The commerce sector has long engaged in practices designed to help consumers reduce their food waste, such as promotion of information in stores and the development of awareness-raising campaigns. Retailers have voluntarily taken on this responsibility and we are glad the European Parliament recognises our commitment through such platforms as the Retail Forum for Sustainability.”

Thanks to modern distribution techniques in the food supply chain, just in time delivery leads to a better working of supply and consumer demand when food is left on the shelves after the shop closes. Actions have also been taken by retailers to recover food that can no longer be eaten for biomass fuels. Many retailers have launched initiatives with food banks to recover unsold food and provide it to more needy citizens.

The Report by MEP Caronna reaffirms the need for the European Commission to propose a Communication on sustainable food in 2013 that will assess how best to limit waste along the supply chain. 


Marjolein Raes

Director Advocacy & Communications

T: +32 2 737 05 99

EuroCommerce and the commerce sector

EuroCommerce represents the retail, wholesale and international trade sectors in Europe. Its membership includes commerce federations and companies in 31 European countries. Commerce plays a unique role in the European economy, acting as the link between manufacturers and the nearly 500 million consumers across Europe over a billion times a day. It is a dynamic and labour-intensive sector, generating 11% of the EU’s GDP. One company out of three in Europe is active in the commerce sector. Over 95% of the 6 million companies in commerce are small and medium-sized enterprises. It also includes some of Europe’s most successful companies. The sector is a major source of employment creation: 31 million Europeans work in commerce, which is one of the few remaining job-creating activities in Europe. It also supports millions of dependent jobs throughout the supply chain from small local suppliers to international businesses.



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