Softly, softly

It’s manifesto time coming up, with documents of all shapes and sizes put forward to influence government policy. The 2024 European elections will present an opportunity to steer the EU towards greater policy stability and progress on sustainability, while hopefully helping businesses succeed in an ongoing challenging market.

As you’d expect, trade bodies are little different. UNESDA, the European soft drinks sector, has released its manifesto emphasising responsibility. It wants to drive positive change by promoting the health and well-being of consumers, and advancing sustainability in all areas of its business, including by increasing the circularity of beverage containers.

The EU Manifesto rests on three key pillars: competitiveness, health and environment. The ambitions are designed so that policymakers help the sector drive further progress.

UNESDA wants to continue creating value for Europe’s economy and citizens in the transition to a more sustainable and healthier food system. It will lean on EU policymakers to provide regulatory certainty and encourage all food and drink sectors to play their part by promoting fairness across the food supply chain.

Healthier lifestyles is the area most people will tap into. UNESDA wants to intensify its efforts in promoting responsible marketing and advertising practices. The UNESDA wants to promote balanced diets based on a multi-stakeholder approach and science-based policies that are grounded in comparable, robust and EU-wide food and drink consumption data. It is also necessary that the EU further supports the industry’s ongoing sugar reduction efforts by recognising the important role of low- and no-calorie sweeteners in achieving public health objectives, including reducing overweight and obesity.

UNESDA wants EU policies to support well-designed collection systems across Europe and a stable supply of recycled materials, enabling beverage containers to be recycled in new beverage containers. Equally fundamental is the prioritisation of water policies promoting the conservation and restoration of water resources and providing fair and equitable access to water for citizens and businesses.

We know that the journey ahead demands a great deal of resilience, boldness and proactivity but also requires renewed dialogue to address today’s challenges and foster stronger collaboration. We will stay actively engaged and constructive with all stakeholders, and we are ready to collaborate closely with EU policymakers to achieve greater accomplishments together for the environment, consumers and businesses.

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