IFOAM EU: Organic Vision and Strategies for Europe in 2030
by Karin Heinze (comments: 0)
The 9th European IFOAM Congress undertook the important task of focusing on the future of the organic industry in Europe and devising strategies for turning the vision of the organic movement in 2030 into reality. The basis for the work organized in four groups was the brochure “Transforming Food & Farming – An Organic Vision for Europe in 2030”. The brochure is the outcome of a participatory process that began in November 2013 in Brussels. The aim is, by 2030, to establish fair, environmentally friendly and socially responsible practices in production and trade on a wide scale, to ensure that a high proportion of land is managed organically and to raise the consumption of organic food.
Since the end of 2013, in various workshops and internet forums, more than 300 industry actors were involved in formulating the vision prior to the Riga Congress and the results of 35 studies were incorporated into the work. 50 % of agricultural land managed in keeping with organic principles by 2030 was probably one of the most ambitious targets. “That’s a dream that may not be achievable in the next 15 years, but we’ve got to have dreams,” IFOAM EU President Christopher Stopes insisted when he presented the 30-page summary of the results of the vision process. He said the vision statements did not predict the future but indicated the direction of travel of the organic movement if it was to achieve its major goals by 2030. “We hope this vision will inspire and motivate our stakeholders and encourage us all to look together towards future opportunities,” is how it is expressed in the foreword to the brochure
Since 2013, there has also been much discussion about the strategic re-alignment of the eco sector at the global level (Organic 3.0). This now has to be substantiated and broken down to the European level. He pointed out that in the last 15 years there has been a great deal of growth and development in the organic sector. In the brochure “Transforming Food & Farming – An Organic Vision for Europe in 2030” we find examples of success: among other things, the retail sales of organic food in Europe grew by 138 % from 10.2 billion euros in 2004 to 24.3 billion in 2013 and organically managed land in Europe expanded by nearly 70 % to 11.5 million hectares between 2005 and 2013.
Kurt Sannen, Chair of the organic association BioForum Flanders and himself an organic farmer appealed to the organic movement to develop visions and to fill them with life. (Video-Interview)
Interview with Kurt Sannen, Chair of the organic association BioForum Flanders
Stopes said that the successes had led both to new opportunities and new challenges . This was the reason why it had become necessary to take stock to ensure that the organic industry continued to be the leader in developing viable models and systems in agriculture and the production and processing of food. In the preparation phase four possible scenarios were considered covering political and economic developments, consumer behaviour, energy and technology, that can all influence the development pathway of the eco sector. (Transforming Food & Farming pp.22).
Included in the scenarios were uncertainties arising from, for example, climate change, land scarcity, water shortage, genetic engineering, concentration of power in industry, technical progress, social developments, growth of the world population, etc. However this list also contains possible opportunities and solutions to some of the challenges we face.
Examples of best practice illustrate clearly that there are very successful strategies to incorporate organic on a large scale into business models. The public canteens operated by the City Council in Copenhagen are given as a successful model. At the beginning of 2015 the proportion of organic ingredients in meals rose to 83 %. The Danish organic industry association Organic Denmark had set the ambitious target of 60 % of organic food in all public canteens. The so-called Copenhagen House of Food aspires to a massive 90 % by the end of 2015, and it’s well on the way to achieving it! Another good example of an innovative approach is the CSA movement: in 2013, Community Supported Agriculture brought together 400,000 consumers and 4,000 farms. A special variant has been successful in Finland: the Herttoniemi Kooperativen lease land and employ “farmers” to grow crops. They pay a membership fee and every member contributes ten hours of work per season.