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France ecolabel expert appointed to Foundation Earth scientific committee, joining Professor Chris Elliott

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3 min read
AUTHOR: Fiona Holland
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Professor Chris Elliott of Queen’s University Belfast.
Image credit: Queen’s University Belfast

France has partnered with Foundation Earth to assign the country’s ecolabel expert, Vincent Colomb, to the non-profit’s Scientific Advisory Committee, with a goal to develop harmonised environmental labels for food and drink products in Europe.

Colomb currently manages environmental assessment projects for agricultural and food goods at ADEME, The French Agency for Ecological Transition, and has been supporting the French government in its ecolabelling developments.

He arrives to the committee with experience in life cycle assessments and eco-design, having been ‘a driving force’ in creating France’s AGRIBALYSE food database, which holds life cycle inventories (LCI) for agricultural and food products consumed in the country.

Since the passing of the Climate Law in 2021, Colomb has developed ecolabelling solutions for all kinds of products and services to comply with the new legislation, says Foundation Earth. Over the next year, he hopes to accelerate a substantial ecolabelling strategy for the food sector in France.

“Broader and more reliable environmental information is expected by many companies and consumers worldwide. We are in an exciting time of experiments and testing, with access to more and more powerful assessment tools and data access”, said Vincent Colomb, Ecolabelling Project Coordinator at ADEME.

“ADEME shares Foundation Earth’s science-driven vision and transparency principles. I am very glad to join this initiative and to share experience with European and international partners, joining efforts to speed up the shift towards a more sustainable food system,” he added.

On the Scientific Advisory Committee, he joins UK food scientist Professor Chris Elliott OBE from Queen’s University Belfast, and Dutch expert on sustainable agriculture Koen Boone of Wageningen University. Elliott, who led the UK Government’s investigation into the horsemeat scandal in 2013, is the Chairman of the group. Boone, who joined in March 2022, plays a leading role in the research and implementation of food ecolabelling in the Netherlands.

In addition to the appointment, Foundation Earth has announced plans to develop an R&D programme with the French government to eliminate the differences between its own labelling method and the method being used in France. The non-profit organisation is calling for expressions of interest for potential partners and supporters for the project.

Commenting on the announcement, Cliona Howie, CEO at Foundation Earth said: “Foundation Earth strives to convene the best expertise in the field of ecolabelling to ensure our method is as robust as possible. The French Government has been working on food ecolabelling for several years and has uncovered key intelligence that can help all move a step closer to an accurate, science-based and consistent approach to environmental labelling. We are honoured to welcome Vincent to our Scientific Committee, bringing more representation from across European public initiatives in this space”.

Professor Chris Elliott OBE also added in a statement: “Moving towards true harmonisation will be best achieved by joining forces and working together towards a common goal. That is why Foundation Earth is taking a leadership role to coordinate with other leading ecolabelling initiatives across Europe, such as France and The Netherlands, promoting knowledge sharing and coordination at scale”.

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