Food Industry Sustainability Strategy
Sustain participated in the development of Defra's Food Industry Sustainability Strategy, and subsequent policy activities. This page contains an archive summarising Sustain's activities. Defra information on the FISS can be found at: http://www.defra.gov.uk/farm/policy/sustain/fiss/index.htm.
Autumn 2007Following discussion at the June members’ meeting and July Council meeting, Sustain made a brief submission to the Food Industry Sustainability Strategy (FISS) consultation, emphasising general principles such as the importance of legislation to create a level playing field for industry, and the need for robust monitoring and enforcement of any existing or new rules (download 23kb PDF).
Summer 2007On 20 June the 12-week consultation period began for reviewing the five Food Industry Sustainability Strategy (FISS) reports – energy use and climate change; ethical trading; food transport; waste; and water. At the Sustain members’ meeting held on 26 June there was little enthusiasm for or interest for engagement in this process, given the very large amount of effort Sustain and its members had already put in, with our views already clearly on record. Sustain coordinator Jeanette Longfield therefore intends to find out whether the change of minister – Hilary Benn was appointed to replace David Miliband – makes it more or less important to develop a Sustain response.
Spring 2007Sustain's coordinator Jeanette Longfield participated in the Food Industry Sustainability Strategy (FISS) ‘champions’ group on water, which met for the sixth and final time on 7 March. She contributed to the group’s report, which was among those sent to the meeting of the Strategic Steering Group, chaired by Lord Rooker, on 17 April, on which Jeanette also sat, along with Vicki Hird - senior food campaigner for Friends of the Earth, and a member of Sustain's Council. Over the next few months there will be an open consultation on the recommendations from the various FISS ‘champions’ groups (the quality of which vary widely). Once the consultation is concluded, any recommendations considered appropriate will be integrated into Defra’s developing new Food Chain Programme. Thus it was agreed that the FISS had concluded its work and could be disbanded. The meeting concluded on a positive note, with all agreeing that Defra should rationalise and integrate the governance arrangements for its programmes to improve the sustainability of the food and farming system as a whole.
This meeting also provided a useful opportunity to write to both David Miliband and Jeff Rooker about sustainability scoring and labelling, and to meet the civil servant with responsibility for this area.
Winter 2006-07Jeanette continues to participate in the Strategic Steering Group for the Food Industry Sustainability Strategy (FISS), chaired by Lord Rooker, which had its second meeting on 10 January. She also continues to participate in the “champions” group on water, which is meeting for the fourth time on 24 January. Despite (or perhaps because of) progress proceeding at a glacial pace, there were promising signs at the Ministerial meeting that even the food industry representatives present were becoming frustrated at the lack of movement. Specific commitments to make changes are due to be brought to the next Ministerial meeting in April from all the “champions” groups.
Autumn 2006The Food Industry Sustainability Strategy (FISS), which many believed was stillborn when the FISS report was finally published in April this year, following a painful three-year gestation period, has suddenly and unexpectedly shown signs of movement! It is not yet clear if this is, in fact, life or simply the twitching of death throes.
The movement is due to the new ministerial team at Defra plus a new team of officials, who have been given the responsibility of “refreshing” a number of policy areas, including this one. Sustain coordinator Jeanette Longfield has been invited onto the Strategic Steering Group and onto the Champions Group on Water, one of five champions groups (the others are transport, energy/climate change, waste, and ethical trade). Each group has only met once, so far, so morbid predictions, while tempting and based on experience, are perhaps unfair. Progress reports are scheduled to be with the Minister by Spring 2007.