Nature-positive foods is top of the agenda of this year’s Sustainable Foods Summit Europe. For the first time, the executive summit will discuss the opportunities and challenges when moving to sustainable food production methods that encourage biodiversity. The executive summit will be hosted in Amsterdam on 15-16 June 2023.
The two-day summit will begin with an opening keynote on redesigning foods for circularity. How can food production be adapted so there is a positive impact on nature, producers/growers, as well as our health? What solutions are provided by organic and regenerative agriculture? What developments are occurring with upcycling? Case studies of food producers making the transition to sustainable food production will be provided.
Approaches to move to nature-positive food production will be discussed. At the recent UN Biodiversity conference (COP15), 195 countries signed a historic deal to halt and reverse biodiversity loss, including to protect 30% of land and water by 2030. Nature-positive production will play an important role in meeting this ambitious target: agriculture and food production systems that involve the protection, management and restoration of nature. Martine van Weelden, director of Capitals Coalition, will discuss the implications of COP15 on food and ingredient firms.
Stendert Krommendam, chief people and sustainability officer at EcoTone, will share the company’s biodiversity action plan. EcoTone, one of the leading organic food companies in Europe, changed its name in 2020 to reflect its mission to restore and protect ecosystems. The company owns several leading organic and sustainable brands, including Allos, Bjorg, Bonneterre, Clipper, Danival, Isola Bio, Kallø and Whole Earth.
Details will also be given of the new EU deforestation-free regulation. Recently passed by the European Parliament, the new law ensures products sold in the EU do not come from deforested or degraded land. The regulation applies to cattle, cocoa, coffee, palm oil, soya, as well as products made using these agricultural commodities.
Mark Varney, head of Fair to Nature, will explain how the certification scheme’s standard encourages farmers to adopt biodiversity-friendly practices. Introduced by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Fair To Nature is the first ethical label that focuses entirely on nature-positive food production in the UK. Industry experts will participate in a panel discussion on encouraging nature-positive production and stimulating consumer demand for such products.
Regenerative agriculture will also be featured at the Sustainable Foods Summit. Philippe Birker, co-founder of Climate Farmers, will discuss the implementation and scaling issues associated with transitioning to regenerative practices. The mission of his organisation is to build the infrastructure to scale regenerative agriculture in Europe.
Other speakers will cover ingredients from regenerative agriculture and marketing issues. Joanna Wierzbicka, deputy director of IFOAM Organics Europe, will be speaking about the future of environmental labelling. As the number of eco-labels on food products increases, there is confusion about their meaning and the environmental impact of products. There is growing debate about the methodology used to rate products by schemes such as Eco-Score. At the same time, the European Commission plans to set limits on what eco-labels can enter the market. It plans to only allow private schemes to be approved if they have higher environmental ambitions than existing ones in the market. It also proposes to ban any new public schemes (national or regional).
Upcycling is another emerging sector in the sustainable food industry. There is growing recognition that waste ingredients can be valorised from the food industry. However, setting up supply chains and marketing such products are major issues. Case studies will be given of companies using upcycled ingredients in their products. Robert Wilson, co-founder of Toast Ale, will show how his company is making beer from waste bread. The London-based brewery sells its beer to over 1,000 retailers and recently secured €2.3 million investment to reduce its environmental impact and scale its sustainability projects.
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