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Tackling the extinction – how food standards address the loss of biodiversity

European Initiative "Biodiversity in Standards and Labels for the Food Sector" publishes insights on how protection of biodiversity is currently addressed in standards and labels for the food sector

Bonn, 28 April 2017: The freshly released Baseline Report of the European Initiative "Biodiversity in Standards and Labels for the Food Sector" shows strengths and weaknesses of food standards and labels highlighting where they have to improve if ever we were to counterpart the species extinction.

Within the European initiative "Biodiversity in standards and labels for the food industry", supported by the European Commission, a team of five organizations realized a screening of 54 regional, national, European and international standards for the food sector and requirements of food companies for their supply chain. Standards like UTZ, Global Gap, Fairtrade and QS were analyzed. The results are summarized in a Baseline Report which provides a comprehensive overview on how protection of biodiversity is currently addressed in standards and company requirements.

The policies of standards and companies as well as their criteria and requirements were evaluated regarding effectiveness for biodiversity protection and their transparency and verifiability. They were reviewed towards which aspects, that are relevant for the loss of Biodiversity, are counteracted. One of the results is that international standards focus on the protection of primary and semi-natural habitats and protection of water bodies but are less determined about the management of invasive alien species. Company labels are the strongest in regards to restrictions for crop protection technologies and substances, while the European, national and regional standards set a benchmark in the management of ecological infrastructures.

Besides the results, the Baseline Report contains conclusions – indicating the need and the potential to improve the biodiversity performance of standards and company requirements. In general, the loss of biodiversity is one of the biggest challenges of our times. Human activities are driving species loss 1,000 times faster than it would have been under natural succession circumstances. In that the agricultural sector and the food producers and retailers combined have a great impact on biodiversity.

"Acknowledging the room for improvement is the first step for further actions. Our initiative fills a gap and finds great acceptance among food standards and food companies", says Marion Hammerl; CEO of the Lake Constance Foundation, one of the partners of the Initiative. Stefan Hörmann, leader of the business and biodiversity programme of the Global Nature Fund adds to this "the willingness to tackle the loss of biodiversity within the agricultural production has gained importance also for food companies. We are happy about the good collaboration for example with Nestlé Germany and the food retailer Kaufland".

The Baseline Report can be found at

In the European Initiative „Biodiversity in Standards and Labels for the Food Sector" the Global Nature Fund, Lake Constance Foundation, Agentur AUF! (Germany), the Fundación Global Nature (Spain), Solagro and agoodforgood (France) and Instituto Superior Técnico (Portugal) work together.

The project is supported by the EU LIFE Programme. A core initiative of Sustainable Food Systems Programme.

Tobias Ludes, Project Manager Global Nature Fund
Phone: +49 228 184869415,