Brussels, 5 July 2021 – Today, the European Commission releases the Code of Conduct for Responsible Business and Marketing Practices under the Farm to Fork (F2F) strategy, referring to the processing part of the food chain.
EFFAT very much regrets to witness that the process leading to the final code release was launched and facilitated by the European Commission, but mainly driven by the employers.
Although EFFAT and some civil society organisations could attend some preparatory meetings, the code released today is the outcome of businesses setting their own ambition and writing their own rules to develop “sustainable” business practices. With such a very unusual procedure, there is no margin for a balanced cross-cutting approach that addresses the three pillars of the F2F strategy: economic, environmental, and social.
Following EFFAT push, the code includes wording on social considerations in internal operations of the company and in the food supply chain linked to skills, inclusive and safe workplaces, occupational health and safety and long-term sustainable value creation. Alarmingly, some employer organisations ruled out all wording on collective bargaining or reference to social dialogue.
Kristjan Bragason, EFFAT Secretary General, commented on the publication of the Code of Conduct saying: ‘This code brings no value to workers in the EU. The Code of Conduct on responsible business and marketing practices should go well beyond existing legislation. Here employers are denying the recognition of principles included in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and international standards’ – and added: ‘With the European Commission claiming its commitment to strengthening collective bargaining and social dialogue in key initiatives, it is even more shocking to see such a biased code of conduct.’
As the code stands today, the social dimension can be addressed by unilateral actions only. This does in no way incentivise employers to involve trade unions and workers’ representatives when adapting to the inevitable disruptions brought by the digital and green transition in our food system.
Code of Conduct for Responsible Business and Marketing Practices: Link
- Information on the entire process and meetings can be found here