It is expected that on 30 November 2022, the EU Commission will present a proposal for assessing the sustainability of commercial goods, the so-called "Product Environmental Footprint" (PEF). By the end of 2023, concrete specifications for a uniformly regulated and transparent sustainability label are to be developed, which should help consumers to choose sustainable food. Criticism has been voiced by the organic sector. For IFOAM Organics Europe, various NGOs and the BNN, the PEF's assessment standards are insufficient, misleading and unacceptable.
The organic sector wants the Planet Score label and rejects the EU's proposed criteria for a Product Environment Footprint (PEF).
"The PEF does not have much in common with real sustainability labelling of food," explains Kathrin Jäckel, Managing Director of the Bundesverband Naturkost Naturwaren e.V. The measurement methods on which the label is currently based are not suitable for assessing the environmental performance of agricultural and food products. For example, eggs from caged hens perform better than free-range eggs, which in turn perform better than organic eggs. In general, the more intensive an animal's husbandry system, the better it performs in the evaluation of products as an indicator of yield. This cannot be the goal of the EU Commission!
Explaining video by BNN-Info-campaign
The Planet Score is multidimensional and differentiated
The so-called Planet Score, an environmental label that evaluates the ecological sustainability of food, is different. It is based on an initiative of 16 French consumer protection and environmental associations. It was developed by the French research institute for organic agriculture and food ITAB (Institut de l'agriculture et de l'alimentation biologiques). It is multidimensional and differentiated into the subcategories pesticides, biodiversity and climate and, in the case of animal products, also animal welfare. The Planet Score also takes planetary boundaries into account, explains BNN. This would allow the sustainability of food to be mapped more comprehensively and transparently than conventional life cycle analyses - other aspects such as deforestation or pesticide contamination can also be included in the assessment.
Politics must get actively involved in the Product Environmental Footprint discussion
Addressing the German government, the German Organic Food Association (BNN) e.V. calls for "actively moderating and advancing the debate on sustainability labelling of food in Germany so that Europe's largest sales market for organic food gets involved in the process with its own stance at the European level and actively shapes it." Also at the European level, speakers of the Greens (EFA/The Greens) in the EU Parliament as well as consumer protection, environmental and organic associations spoke out in favour of the Planet Score during a day-long event organised by IFOAM Organics Europe in Brussels on 26 October 2022.