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Goodwin calls for voluntary food commitments in CE package

WRAP chief executive Liz Goodwin has challenged calls for “blanket legislation” on food waste when the new circular economy (CE) policy package is published by the European Commission later this year.

Liz Goodwin

Goodwin, left, speaking at a meeting on the CE staged by the All Party Sustainable Resource Group in Westminster, said that tailored, voluntary, agreements to tackle individual national targets were best.

She said that the relative positions of member states in dealing with food waste highlighted the complexities of having a binding reduction target across the EU.

“If you are at different stages of the food waste journey then it’s difficult to have one target for all. I agree with what Defra minister Rory Stewart said a couple of weeks ago, about the trouble you can get in if unachievable targets are rushed out,” she said.

“This is partly why I am not convinced of the idea of having blanket legislation to tackle food waste across Europe. The challenges in the UK could be very different from, say, that of Estonia or Romania.”

Instead, Goodwin said, the package could contain “tried and tested” sector voluntary agreements, such as the Courtauld Commitment, tailored to meet the needs of individual regions or member states.

“Without the likes of Courtauld, the UK would be languishing in mid-table in food waste reduction, but with it we are world leaders.”

Goodwin said that WRAP believed a strong CE package would be good for the EU and the UK, and that food waste prevention and reduction should be included in the package, with measurable and achievable baselines for member states to report against.

“I believe passionately that the strategy should have a no-holds-barred approach. It should set out how we’ll meet the challenges brought about by rising global populations and the increased desire for western consumption patterns.”

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