Author: Bobby Allen

Biomethane target an “environmental disaster in the making”

20th Sep 23 by Frank Mechielsen

Fossil industry is lobbying in the EU for new subsidies for so-called 'green gas'

As EU prepares to overhaul its gas market, new analysis highlights industry capture of law-making process, with mooted biomethane target an “environmental disaster in the making”

As EU Member States prepare to decide on the recast of the bloc’s Gas Package, new analysis by the campaigning group Feedback EU shows that proposals to ramp up biomethane production to 35 billion cubic meters (bcm) by 2030 from its current level of 3.5 bcm are both unrealistic and risk locking in dangerously unsustainable agricultural, land use and energy practices.

Biomethane, which can be produced from a wide variety of feedstocks ranging from manure to food waste, is often presented as a “green” alternative to fossil gas by its industry proponents. However, as Feedback EU’s analysis shows, the use of most of these feedstocks at the volumes proposed comes with significant downsides and unintended consequences such as encouraging more livestock production and food-feed-fuel competition.

Feedback’s findings show that the production target of 35 bcm biomethane by 2030 set out in the current legislative proposal comes from a report authored by the biogas industry. Its ‘Gas for Climate’ report significantly inflates a target recommended by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre and independent experts, which concluded that only around 24 bcm of biomethane could be produced sustainably by 2030.

Frank Mechielsen, Director of Feedback EU said: “This appears to be a textbook case of corporate capture. It’s deeply shocking to see that the European Commission has ignored the assessment conducted by its own own experts and is flouting the evidence by setting an unrealistically high biomethane target. At best, this target will be unachievable, at worst it will lock in dangerously unsustainable agricultural, land use and energy practices and could be an environmental disaster in the making. Member States must reject it or face unintended consequences which will impact on the EU’s ability to meet its climate commitments and food security over the coming decades.”

Karen Luyckx, the technical advisor who conducted the research, said: “Our analysis shows that the 35 bcm biomethane target in the current legislative proposal has been poorly thought through and fails to take into account the best expert advice. It will do nothing to improve energy security in the EU and will inevitably drive unsustainable practices in the farming and energy sectors. We acknowledge that there is a niche role for anaerobic digestion of unavoidable organic waste streams, but to be truly sustainable the volume of biomethane produced will need to be much smaller than envisaged by the gas industry.”

Feedback’s analysis also draws attention to the problem of methane leakage: a recent meta-analysis of 51 previous studies has found that methane emissions from the biogas supply chain are twice as big as estimated by the International Energy Agency (IEA). This means that currently the amount of methane released relative to total biogas production is higher than for fossil gas. It is therefore crucial that the Gas Regulation legislates for continuous emissions measurement and enforcement of greenhouse gas (GHG) emission prevention along the whole supply chain.

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They are fighting for their rights, and so should we!

31st Jul 23 by Yves Reichling

Feedback travelled to Senegal to rendezvous with our partners and meet with communities impacted by the fishmeal and fish oil industry

In July, Feedback travelled to Senegal to rendezvous with its Notre Poisson coalition partners and visited Dakar, Joal Fadiout, Mbour and Popenguine to meet with the communities impacted by the fishmeal and fish oil industry. 

Much like what we are seeing in The Gambia, communities in Joal Fadiout, Mbour and Popenguine have been struggling with dwindling fish stocks and a breaking of the local economy around sea food. “When previously we bought a crate for 2000CFA 5 years ago, we now have deal with prices over 25000CFA” says the representative of the union of ‘economic interest groups’ in Senegal, women fish processors are still fighting for the legal recognition of their profession in Joal Fadiout. The source of the problem is three-fold: the impact of climate change, industrial (over)fishing and fishmeal and fish oil (FMFO) factories. 

The hike in prices leaves small-scale entrepreneurs unable to compete with those with deeper pockets, notably the local fishmeal and fish oil factories. Many women processors – jobs are highly gender-bound in this sector, with men going out to sea as fishers and women processing and selling the catch – are thus deprived of their source of income. And the loss of livelihoods is not the only consequence: fish represents a crucial part of people’s, and especially children’s, diets. Without this important source of nutrients, many children have slipped into or are threatened by food insecurity and its consequences. 

With most fish stocks over- to fully exploited, the economies around them are breaking down. People are being forced to leave their profession, but alternatives are scarce. Loans have become unaffordable or non-existent, and customer preference shifts to cheaper options such as imported chicken and milk powder from the EU. Fishermen who now struggle to come home with a catch and make ends meet, turn to catching juvenile fish with nets with smaller meshes, an illegal fishing practice which risks depleting fish populations completely. Fishmeal and fish oil factories incentivise these practices by buying juveniles, which local fish markets refuse due to its illegality – yet the factories get away with it. ‘By doing this, they [the fishermen and -boys] are killing themselves’, says a fish processor in Popenguine, who is also an avid activist working with Greenpeace.  

Due to the scarcity of fish, processing sites are increasingly desolate. The number of women processor groups has decreased from over 50 to around 10 in 4 years’ time.

More and more people are being forced to emigrate to look for jobs and income elsewhere, leaving behind homes and families. When visiting Joal Fadiout’s fish processing site, we were told that the women and their families were waiting for news about family members who left to attempt a crossing to Europe but hadn’t heard anything for 11 days. ‘They want our fish, but they don’t seem to want us’, says a fisher representative.  

Communities are doing what they can, adopting new equipment and marketing strategies. In Mballing, a district in Mbour, women processors now sell dried, salted and smoked fish and molluscs which are processed in new drying racks and ovens and are investing in new packaging to make products more appealing on the market. People in Mbour are proud fisher people by tradition and would not abandon their source of income, and a vital part of their identity, without a fight. And fight they do, – in a true David vs. Goliath way – for their rights as artisanal fishers and processors, and their rights as human beings.  

New processing and marketing techniques help women rocessors make a living

And so do we. We fight alongside the artisanal fishing communities by advocating for an end to overfishing and the use of whole, nutritious fish in animal feed production -such as it is done in salmon farming- in West Africa and in Europe.. It is time to put a stop to such destructive practices in our food system and ensure that communities can live their lives in dignity. 

This work is made possible through the support of Oceans 5, a sponsored project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. 

What can you do next?
Want to hear more?

In March, Feedback hosted a webinar in the week of International Women's Day: Feed or Food - connecting communities impacted by the global fish farming industry. We brought together a multilingual panel of inspiring women from Senegal, The Gambia, Sweden and Scotland to share how they and their communities have been impacted by the global fish farming and aquaculture industries. We hope that this event highlighted the vital importance of coming together to share experiences and the need for taking bold, collective action.

Find the webinar here
Want to read more?

"Off the menu"! This report, taking the Scottish farmed salmon industry as an example, shows how farmed salmon fed on wild fish is an inefficient and environmentally poor way to produce micronutrients for human diets. The report explores how we could meet our micronutrient needs without depleting ocean resources.

Read the report

We are hungry for better targets!

6th Jul 23 by Roberta Arbinolo from European Environmental Bureau

The European Environmental Bureau warns the proposal by the European Commission to fight food waste may lack teeth.

The European Commission released today its plans to revise the Waste Framework Directive, with a focus limited to new rules on the responsibility of textile producers, and new food waste reduction targets. The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) warns the proposal may lack teeth to effectively slash overproduction and waste in the food and textiles sectors.

Food waste: hungry for better targets 

The Commission has put forward proposals for new binding food waste reduction targets, which member states must achieve by 2030. With food waste in the EU at record levels and reports of the region discarding more food than it imports, setting new targets for member states to cut back on food waste is a step in the right direction.

However, the EEB warns that the proposed targets of 10% in processing and manufacturing, and 30% at retail and consumption are too low to cut food waste down to sustainable levels. The EU has signed up to Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 which aims to halve food waste by 2030, but the current proposal does not match that ambition.

In addition, the Commission’s decision to exclude primary production food waste from the targets means a huge chunk of the food waste picture has been overlooked. To inspire the level of action needed to tackle the food waste problem, NGOs have been calling for legally binding food waste reduction targets of 50% to be set from farm to fork.

Martin Bowman, senior policy and campaigns manager at Feedback, said:

“In 2012, the European Parliament called on the Commission to take action to halve food waste by 2025, and in 2017 the Parliament again called for a 50% reduction by 2030, across the whole supply chain. After a decade of delays, whilst it is a positive step that the Commission is proposing legally binding food waste targets, the Commission’s unambitious proposals for the scale of the targets is an insult. By proposing a target lower than 50% reduction, the Commission is effectively planning to fail to meet Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 to halve food waste by 2030. By excluding primary production food waste, and proposing a pitifully low target of 10% reduction for manufacturing – despite a significant portion of supply chain food waste occurring in these sectors – the Commission has effectively given businesses a free pass to continue wasting food, in particular supermarkets causing food waste in their suppliers. The Commission have completely ignored the calls of 52 organisations who called for a 50% reduction in food waste from farm to fork. We urgently call on the European Parliament and Council to propose amendments to these targets to ensure they require a 50% reduction in food waste from farm to fork, and for the Commission to increase its ambition when it comes to negotiations.”

Thus, the next step is for the European Parliament and Council to come up with their positions, before three-way negotiations to finalise the legally binding targets.

Would you like to support our Statement on EU legally binding targets to reduce food waste? We are coalition of organisations and public figures who are calling for the EU to introduce ambitious legally binding food waste reduction targets. If you’d like to support the statement as an organisation or public figure, you can fill out this form.

What can you do next?
You want to know more?

Together with EEB, we can explain you why we need ambitious legally binding EU food waste targets

Read it here
What do countries think?

Feedback EU and the EEB have collaborated to create a short survey asking EU member states for their views on EU legally binding food waste targets.

Find out what they answered
Conference room with people and screen saying: "Extinction or Regeneration:

Extinction or Regeneration? We choose the latter.

25th May 23 by Ayuk Bakia & Anneke Boersma

What did we take home from the Extinction or Regeneration conference organised by Compassion in World Farming & iPES Food?

After two wonderful Strategy Days with Feedback Global in London, we gathered our luggage to take the tube to the next part of our journey. We walked along the Thames, passed the Big Ben and took some pictures of Westminster to end up at the Queen Elizabeth II centre. As we had our first cup of coffee, we looked at a big screen where Jane Goodall welcomed us with a big smile and strong words about the urgency of the climate crisis and how food can be an instrumental part in fighting back its negative effects. She was one of the first to speak during the Extinction or Regeneration conference organised by Compassion in World Farming and iPES FOOD. Over the course of two days, we were united with other climate organisations, animal welfare organisations, activists, community champions and pioneers from the food industry to talk all things food. More specifically, we came together to determine course of action: what is the way forward, to regeneration? 

After two days with many different conversations and impressions, one specific message lingered. As Vandana Shiva put plainly during as panel talk: ”This food system is destined to kill.” We concluded that extinction will be our destiny, unless we stop prioritizing profit above people. We can head towards regeneration. 

When food is not seen as a commodity. 

When prices are not something to speculate about. 

When justice takes center stage. 

When farmers rather than big corporations can decide what and how to produce. 

When banks stop financing intensive farming. 

When the transition towards more agroecological farming practices is made risk free and easy.  

When money and responsibilities are fairly distributed throughout the value chain.  

When we come together. 

When we fight (neo)colonialism.  

When we diversify crops and voices. 

When food is seen as a solution. 

What can you do next?
Wanna get a glimpse?

We made a short video for you to grasp an idea of the two days!

Watch the reels on Instagram

Rabobank called on to stop financing industrial meat and dairy production

31st Jan 23 by Martin Bowman

Rabobank called on to stop billions of dollars in finance to polluting industrial meat and dairy companies

New research published today has found that between 2015-21, Dutch multinational banking and financial services company Rabobank, provided billions of dollars in finance to 18 of the world’s most environmentally destructive industrial livestock companies despite having a commitment to the goals of the Paris Agreement, the Dutch Climate Agreement and Commitment to Sustainable Agriculture and Forests. [1]

A group of organisations, including Feedback EU, Feedback Global, World Animal Protection, BankTrack and International Accountability Project have called on Rabobank to urgently stop financing big livestock companies. In a joint-letter to the bank’s CEO, the group highlights that continued exposure to large scale industrial livestock companies will damage Rabobank’s reputation and business, including risks of lost revenue and stranded assets.

The research finds that between 2015-21 Rabobank provided extensive financial services to five of the world’s biggest emitting industrial livestock companies – JBS, Marfrig, Tyson Foods, Dairy Farmers of America and Fonterra, including $1.941 billion in corporate loans, underwriting $1.221 billion million in bond issuances and providing revolving credit facilities.  These ‘Big 5’ generated an estimated 550.8 million tonnes of greenhouse gases (GWP100) in 2021 [2], together emitting nearly as much as the total emissions of the Netherlands and the UK combined [3].

Rabobank also provided financial services to Royal Friesland Campina and Vion Food Group. In 2016, these two companies together emitted an estimated 58 million tonnes GHG [4].

Meat production quadrupled between 1961 and 2015 [5]. With the global meat and dairy industry projected to use up almost half of the world’s 1.5°C emissions budget by 2030 [6], shifting food systems away from industrial livestock production will be key to averting the climate crisis. This will require banks and investors to take decisive action to cut off financial support to the sector over the coming years.

In 2021, the Netherlands announced a €25bn plan to reduce livestock numbers by 30% by 2030 [7] in order to comply with EU nitrate regulations. In October 2022, the Dutch Parliament passed a motion which will require financial institutions to manage credit risks as a result of stranded assets, meaning that they have an obligation to bear losses arising from these types of credit risks themselves. If the Dutch government goes on to adopt the motion and develop specific policies,  Rabobank will need to write off a substantial part of its loan portfolio, unless it takes action to reduce its exposure to industrial livestock companies. This highlights the significant regulatory risks Rabobank is exposed to by continuing to provide finance industrial livestock companies.

Frank Mechielsen, Executive Director at Feedback EU said: “Industrial livestock corporations like JBS are the food system’s biggest cause of emissions, deforestation, human rights abuses, pandemic risks and animal cruelty. They are solely profit-driven and therefore hardwired to mass-produce ever greater quantities of cheap factory farm meat and dairy to preserve the profits of their core business. It is unacceptable for financial institutions like Rabobank to continue fuelling the endless expansion of this polluting industry at the expense of the climate. We need policymakers to use every tool at their disposal to ensure a just transition to lower-meat and dairy production and consumption, including public procurement, redirecting subsidies and regulating industrial livestock companies and their financial backers to cut off the financial fodder for this polluting industry.”

Hannah Greep, Banks & Nature Campaign Lead at BankTrack said: “Our nature and climate demand a reduction in industrial meat production, but banks seemed to have missed the memo and continue to ignore the impacts of their financed activities in this area. Continued investment in climate-intensive sectors such as industrial livestock exacerbates the risks of planetary collapse, drives biodiversity loss and violates human rights; while also posing serious financial consequences for banks like Rabobank. They cannot shy away from this issue any longer.”

Dirk Jan, Director at World Animal Protection Nederland, said: “Rabobank has known for a long time that the global livestock industry causes massive animal suffering, destroys precious nature and is a major contributor to global warming. Moreover, the bank has a great historical responsibility. So far, the steps the bank is taking leave much to be desired, while the urgency is growing by the day. If Rabobank is serious about striving for a sustainable food system, it is not appropriate to continue investing in companies like JBS that are holding back the necessary transition.”

Alexandre Andrade Sampaio, Global Lead on the Right to Development and Latin America and Caribbean coordinator of International Accountability Project, said: “The research clearly shows that by financing the Big 5, Rabobank is not committed to human and environmental rights, worsening the already dire situation of our climate. Companies like Rabobank that finance factory farming should not be receiving support from Public Financial Institutions, if such institutions want to be taken seriously when talking about climate commitments.”

Prof Hans Pörtner, scientist and co-chair of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, speaking last year to the European Parliament, said: “Without reducing and cutting down on meat consumption and the associated high-intensity agriculture systems, we will not be able to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees. That is very clear.” [8]


Foot notes

[1] Rabobank, ´Our Road to Paris Report´, November 17, 2022 2022 https://www.rabobank.com/en/press/search/2022/20221117-rabobank-presenteert-klimaatrapport.html

[2] IATP and Changing Markets Foundation, “Emissions Impossible: Methane Edition” (The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) and the Changing Markets Foundation, November 15, 2022), https://www.iatp.org/emissions-impossible-methane-edition

[3] Hannah Ritchie, Max Roser, and Pablo Rosado, “CO₂ and Greenhouse Gas Emissions,” Our World in Data, May 11, 2020, https://ourworldindata.org/greenhouse-gas-emissions

[4] GRAIN and IATP, “Emissions Impossible: How Big Meat and Dairy Are Heating up the Planet” (GRAIN and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, 2018), https://www.iatp.org/emissions-impossible

[5] IPES-Food, 2022. The politics of protein: examining claims about livestock, fish, ‘alternative proteins’ and sustainability. https://www.ipes-food.org/_img/upload/files/PoliticsOfProtein.pdf  (2022).

[6] Harwatt, H. (2019) ‘Including animal to plant protein shifts in climate change mitigation policy: a proposed three-step strategy’, Climate Policy. Taylor & Francis, 19(5), pp. 533–541. doi: 10.1080/14693062.2018.1528965. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14693062.2018.1528965

[7] Tom Levitt, “Netherlands Announces €25bn Plan to Radically Reduce Livestock Numbers,” The Guardian, December 15, 2021, sec. Environment, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/dec/15/netherlands-announces-25bn-plan-to-radically-reduce-livestock-numbers

[8] Elena Sánchez Nicolás and Carolin Sprick, “Dismay over EU Plans to Keep Paying to Promote Meat,” EUobserver, May 29, 2022, https://euobserver.com/green-economy/155052

[9] Feedback, ‘Butchering the Planet: The Big-Name Financiers Bankrolling Livestock Corporations and Climate Change’ (London: Feedback, 2020), https://feedbackglobal.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/FeedbackReport-ButcheringPlanet-Jul20-HighRes.pdf

[10] European Commission, “Commission Publishes External Study on Future of EU Livestock,” European Commission, October 14, 2020, https://agriculture.ec.europa.eu/news/commission-publishes-external-study-future-eu-livestock-2020-10-14_en

[11] Greenpeace, “Feeding the Problem: The Dangerous Intensification of Animal Farming in Europe” (Greenpeace European Unit, February 2019), https://www.greenpeace.org/static/planet4-eu-unit-stateless/2019/02/83254ee1-190212-feeding-the-problem-dangerous-intensification-of-animal-farming-in-europe.pdf

[12] Ibid.

[13] Greenpeace European Unit, “One Third of EU’s Farming Ad Budget Promoted Meat and Dairy,” Greenpeace European Unit, April 8, 2021, https://www.greenpeace.org/eu-unit/issues/nature-food/45553/one-third-of-eus-farming-ad-budget-promoted-meat-and-dairy

[14] Rosie Frost, “Europeans Eat Twice as Much Meat as the Global Average,” euronews, March 16, 2020, https://www.euronews.com/green/2020/03/16/europeans-eat-twice-as-much-meat-as-the-global-average

[15] IATP and Changing Markets Foundation, “Emissions Impossible: Methane Edition” (The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) and the Changing Markets Foundation, November 15, 2022), https://www.iatp.org/emissions-impossible-methane-edition

[16] https://www.cbs.nl/en-gb/news/2022/11/greenhouse-gas-emissions-2-1-percent-higher-in-2021

What can you do next?
Local fish, still available for the local communities.


20th Dec 22 by Lia Aodha, Fisheries Project Manager & Frank Mechielsen, Executive Director Feedback EU

This is about our fish. This is about African fish.

Often presented as a sustainable alternative, Feedback has shown over the past years that farmed fish production is based on a highly unsustainable mode of production, including, but not limited to, its reliance on wild fish as feed. To satisfy the rapidly growing sector’s ongoing demand for wild ‘feed’ fish, these are increasingly sourced from food-insecure West Africa, where stocks are already under pressure following decades of overfishing of the region’s waters by foreign vessels. Recently, Feedback travelled to Dakar to discuss this issue with grassroots organisations representing coastal communities affected, and to kick off our newest fish campaign, Notre Poisson (Our Fish) – a collaborative three-year campaign focusing on the fishmeal and oil industry in the region and its links to Europe.

Widely presented as a healthy, climate-friendly protein alternative to meat, a way to protect fish stocks and ‘solve world hunger’, most consumers are unaware that lots of the farmed fish we eat are fed wild fish in the form of fishmeal and oil.

Each year almost a fifth of the world’s marine catch is reduced to fishmeal and oil, the majority of which is used to produce feed for the aquaculture industry – today, the world’s fastest-growing food production sector.

To satisfy the sector’s demand for wild fish, the fishmeal and oil industry has expanded into West Africa. Focusing on Mauritania, Senegal and the Gambia, the number of factories in the region has boomed from 5 to 49 in the past decade.

Today, over half a million tonnes of small pelagic fish, enough to feed over 33 million people, are instead caught, reduced, and exported—from a region dependent on fish as a vital source of affordable protein and micronutrients—to feed farmed fish and livestock elsewhere.These same small pelagic fish are the main source of income for thousands of fishermen and female traders and processors across the region.

While most of the fishmeal goes to China, Europe—home to several of the world’s largest aquafeed companies: Cargill Aqua Nutrition/EWOS, Skretting, Mowi and BioMar (all of which are involved in the trade of fishmeal and oil trade from West Africa)—is the largest importer of fish oil from the region.

Home also to some of the largest farmed fish producers in the world, well-known European retailers are sourcing from companies with supply chain links to these four aquafeed companies. More directly, European firms have invested in factories in West Africa.

Since 2018, Feedback has established a robust body of evidence on the damaging socio-ecological impacts of feed production for the fish farming sector and campaigned to reform aquaculture, so it delivers the greatest nutritional value for the least environmental impact, does not contribute to destructive fishing, deplete fish stocks, or worsen global food injustice.

To date, this work has largely focused on Europe. Our newest fish campaign, Notre Poisson (Our Fish), now combines this work with a collaborative three-year project comprising partners in Britain, the EU, and West Africa.

Our collective goal is to secure legislative and policy change via a three-year programme of coordinated research, investigation, and advocacy designed to influence politicians and policymakers and equip civil society and consumers with the knowledge and tools to demand policies and actions that protect ecosystems and support food sovereignty of West African communities and nations.

They steal our fish and jobs

At the end of November, we organised a three-day project kick-off meeting with our partners in Dakar, Senegal. Also in attend

ance, were representatives of several grassroots organisations from Senegal, Mauritania, and the Gambia, who provided first-hand testimony of the devastating impacts of the fishmeal and oil industry on local communities across the region.

According to a report published by the FAO earlier this year, the rapid expansion of the industry in the region has had negative impacts on fish stocks and fishing livelihoods. The social benefits of the industry to the region have been limited and have been “accompanied by threats to livelihoods, employment, food security and nutrition, and the health and well-being of local communities.”

Reflecting this, “they steal our fish and jobs” was a common theme over the course of our discussions together. The devastating impacts of the diversion of catches from human consumption to the production of fishmeal and oil for export on the availability and affordability of fish were particularly salient. The implications for women fish processors and traders are especially acute.

Stressing the severity of the problem, Diaba Diop, president of Réseau des Femmes de la Pêche Artisanale du Sénégal (REFEPAS), an organisation that represents women fish processors and traders, warned “our survival depends on our oceans”.

Undelivered promises from factories, in terms of jobs, and direct environmental and health impacts, in terms of environmental pollution, smells, and consequent impacts on tourism were also highlighted by participants from across the region. Drawing on his own experiences in the Gambia, Biochemist Ahmed Manjang (CETAG) highlighted just how serious these were.

Adding to these, participants shared stories of the historical, as well as the ongoing, decimation of fish stocks off the West African coast, more generally, by foreign fishing interests and the knock-on implications of this in terms of illegal migration from the region.

In Kayar, Maty Ndaw, a woman fish processor and member of the Taxawu Kayar Collective—who this autumn, began historic legal proceedings against the fishmeal factory located on the edge of their town—shared, “we see our children migrating and dying in the oceans”. Located in the Thiès region, 36 miles northeast of Dakar, artisanal fishing is the main economic activity in Kayar, employing and feeding the population of roughly 18,000 people. The Collective represents a cross-section of the community, most of whom are engaged in fishing or fish one way or another.

We had travelled to the fishing village to hear about the Collective’s more than a decade long struggle against the factory there. Originally owned by Spanish company Barna, the factory was sold this summer to Senegalese owned Touba Protéine Marine.

While there, a street in from the white sand beach full of colourful pirogues, we witnessed near-empty processing facilities. Once worked by over three hundred women fish processors, today, these traditional facilities are used by less than fifty. Another street in, modernised processing facilities are unused. Without fish, the facilities lie idle.

Direct competition with the fishmeal factory for fish, alongside declining catches, means processors have been priced out of the market, with knock-on implications in terms of availability of fish for the local population. According to the FAO, the impact of the fishmeal and oil industry on food security and nutrition in Senegal, where almost half of the country’s protein comes from fish, is considerable.

Across the road from the fishmeal factory, at the lake on the edge of Kayar, clear evidence was visible of the waste dumped by the fishmeal factory. This lake connects to the town’s water supply. Its pollution forms the basis of the Collective’s legal action against the factory.

An ongoing trajectory of stolen resources

Controlled by foreign investors and reliant on catches from already precarious stocks, that the fishmeal and oil industry in the region is threatening fish stocks, food security and livelihoods in West Africa is by now well documented. The lived realities of those from around the coasts are testament to these impacts.

The Kayar case was dismissed by the judge in November on account of there being reasonable doubt that the factory was the cause of the water pollution. The appetite of local, national, and cross-national communities and organisations, however, to unite and work together to tackle this industry is strong.

The problem is also clearly recognised by communities as part of an ongoing trajectory of stolen resources from the African continent.

Implemented together with West African partners RAMPAO, Greenpeace Africa, ADEPA, CAOPA, SRFC, PRCM, and Lancaster Universities, in close collaboration with grassroots organisations representing coastal communities across the region, we want to force change

Credit to Mustapha Manneh, West African editor, China Dialogue.

in this industry, and those related to it, by turning this issue into one of key concern for a broad group of civil society actors to campaign jointly in West Africa and in Europe.

Ultimately, we want to see better regulation of the industry in the region, and an end to the use of fish fit for human consumption by the industry. As part of this, we will work to increase pressure on companies involved in or related to this sector to hold aquafeed companies who source from West Africa, and aquaculture companies who source from these, accountable for their sustainability promises.

During our discussions in Dakar, Mansour Brahim Boidaha, president of ONG Zakia, an organisation working on this issue in Mauritania, where the boom in this industry has been especially concentrated, pointed out that people from Europe should know that the fish from West Africa is processed to fishmeal and oil, with little benefit to the region’s population.

Summing up the nature of the problem, representing Senegalese small-scale fishermen, Abdou Karim Sall, president of Plateforme des Acteurs de la Peche Artisanales du Sénégal (PAPAs), highlighted the problem wasn’t one just relating to fishmeal, but of their being, their identity. This is about our fish, he said. This is about African fish.

What can you do next?

The results of our EU food waste survey are out!

21st Nov 22 by Martin Bowman

Feedback EU and EEB have collaborated to find out EU member states' views on legally binding targets on reducing food waste with 50%.

A scandalous 140.6 million tonnes* of food is wasted in the EU every year – more food than the EU imports, according to Feedback EU’s recent report No Time To Waste. Food waste costs EU businesses and households an estimated €143bn a year, and causes at least 6% of the EU’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Yet left to voluntary measures, EU progress to reduce food waste has been slow.

Now, the EU faces a historic opportunity. The European Commission will soon release proposals for legally binding EU targets to reduce food waste – a historic move. However, everything is still at stake: targets may be set too low, large portions of the supply chain like farms and processing might be excluded, and some member states are trying to scrap legally binding targets completely.

Luckily, a movement is building around Europe for ambitious action on food waste. Over 40 organisations ranging from NGOs to businesses and research institutions have signed a joint-statement calling on the EU to set legally binding targets to reduce food waste by 50% from farm to fork by 2030. But it will be vital to get policymakers from across Europe backing the fight for regulation to end food waste too. That’s why Feedback EU and European Environmental Bureau have collaborated to create a short survey asking EU member states for their views on EU legally binding food waste targets.

Map of EU member state positions

How supportive are the EU member states of legally binding targets to halve EU food waste from farm to fork by 2030?

Click here to see the full league table

Our methodology

We targeted the Ministries for the Environment and Agriculture for each country, via email. We sent all EU member states 3 key questions about their stance on potential legally binding EU food waste targets, by email. Their responses were scored according to the following system:

  • Yes (+1 point)
  • Unsure/neutral (0 points)
  • No (-1 point)

These scores are combined to create an overall score for each country ranging from -3 to +3.

Countries who failed to respond to our survey by the deadline were given the lowest possible total score of -4 points.

What now?

The support of these Ministries will be essential to getting ambitious targets voted through, through member state representatives to the European Council. If you would like to raise pressure on your country’s government to back ambitious EU food waste targets, please contact martin@feedbackglobal.org for more info and support. If you’re an EU-based organisation who’d like to support our joint-statement, please sign up here.

* Please note that this figure has been slightly updated since the publishing of the ‘No Time To Waste’ report, in line with the new EU food waste figures published to Eurostat in October 2022

What can you do next?
Find out more about our work on food waste in the EU

The EU must halve its food waste by 2030 to tackle climate crisis and improve food security, but right now the EU is wasting more food than it imports.

click here

Divest, Defund and Regulate

17th Nov 22 by Anneke Boersma

What's the role of government, banks and shareholders in phasing down industrial factory farming?

Here I am, sipping my tea behind my laptop, thousands of kilometres away from Egypt. I’m dialling in to the COP27 webinar organised by our sister organisation, Feedback Global, which aims to explore the possibilities of holding the incredibly polluting meat and dairy industry accountable for what they’re doing.

The session begins by outlining the devastating impact that Big Livestock is having on our planet: driving global heating, deforestation, polluting water and air from the use of pesticides and manure for feed, and posing health risks from the consumption of animal-based products.

It’s clear: industrial agriculture simply cannot co-exist with a safe, healthy, and thriving planet.

Yet development banks — institutions who have “to combat poverty and promote economic growth in their region” — have been propping up these dirty companies by giving them 5 billion dollars in the last decade alone. Between 2015 and 2020, global meat and dairy companies received over 478 billion dollars in backing by over 2,500 investment firms, banks, and pension funds headquartered around the globe. This is precisely the opposite of what we need to transition towards a sustainable food system. Governments, investors, and banks need to step up to the plate and take action to hinder industrial factory farming.

Governments, start regulating!

With 1,5 degrees warming coming closer and closer, time is running out for small-scale, incremental changes like changing individual consumption habits. Pushing responsibility onto consumers has been a tactic used by fossil fuels companies for years to divert attention away from their own polluting activities and delay taking responsibility. To bring about the rapid, widespread change that we urgently need, governments do not have to tell people what (not) to eat. Instead, they can direct their attention to the food environment itself. They are already shaping our food environments by their policies and subsidies; it’s now time for their efforts to be in favour of people instead of profit. Dietary guidelines, public food procurement, or banning advertisement of animal-based proteins in the public space, like the city of Haarlem in the Netherlands did, are a good place to start.

Banks, start defunding!

The world of technology and digital banking mean that most of us now pay by card and have money in separate savings accounts. But have you ever considered what your savings are being used for while you are not using them? Guess what – there is a chance that your money is being used by banks and other companies to prop up meat and dairy companies. In the Netherlands for example, the Rabobank and the ING Group have a large stake in supporting industrial factory farming.

As with investors, funding comes with risks, especially as these companies are dependent on a stable environment, such as soil health and temperatures. The climate crisis affects the stability of every part of society, including the financial sectors. Keeping in mind that we are heading towards a climate catastrophe, banks must stop funding destructive industries and start investing in future-proof companies striving to create a regenerative and healthy food system.

Investors, start divesting!

Can you imagine chatting to the CEO of a Big Meat and Dairy company and coming to a mutual agreement over the commitments and actions that need to be taken to protect people and the planet? Me neither. Unfortunately, any meaningful engagement with this sector has so far been futile; the main reason being that their core business is a polluting industry whose primary motive is profit. They face losses and stranded assets if livestock production is reduced, so they will do anything to avoid this. This is made clear by their lack of targets to reduce production and inaction surrounding reducing livestock numbers. They also lobby against policies that would hinder or impede meat and dairy production and consumption, whilst actively promoting misinformation that distracts or downplays the negative impacts of meat and dairy. Many big livestock companies are “closely held” (i.e. the majority of shares are owned by few individuals), so the minority shareholders, even collectively, have limited influence over what’s happening in the company. Pick your battles: save engagement for retailers and caterers who can switch procurement practices to less meat and dairy without risk to their core business.

Has reading this made you feel a bit hopeless? Let’s learn from the fossil fuel divestment. Over 1,485 institutions globally representing over 39.2 trillion dollar in assets have already committed to going fossil free. Let’s remain hopeful and make that happen in the animal factory farming too!

What can you do next?
Watch the webinar

The webinar organised by Feedback Global and Sinergia Animal has been recorded and can be viewed on YouTube. Find out why we are working on this topic and learn more about what you can do.

Click here


1st Nov 22 by Bobby Allen

Our research highlights the pressing need for regulators to require full, independently verified disclosure of emissions.

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Follow us on Instagram to see our work in action.

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EU wastes more food than it imports

20th Sep 22 by European Environmental Bureau & Feedback EU

The European Commission faces pressure to set legally binding targets to tackle food waste scandal

In 2021, the EU imported almost 138 million tonnes of agricultural products, costing €150 billion. At the same time, the report ‘No Time to Waste’, based on the most up-to-date sources, estimates that the EU wastes 153.5 million tonnes of food each year. This figure is nearly double previous estimates, due to better availability of data on food wasted on farms. Official EU figures still exclude most on-farm food waste from EU member state measurement and reporting. Food waste costs EU businesses and households an estimated €143 billion a year and causes at least 6% of the EU’s total greenhouse gas emissions. An estimated 20% of EU food production is currently wasted. Halving EU food waste by 2030 could save 4.7 million hectares of agricultural land.

“At a time of high food prices and a cost-of-living crisis, it’s a scandal that the EU is potentially throwing away more food than it’s importing. The EU now has a massive opportunity to set legally binding targets to halve its food waste from farm to fork by 2030 to tackle climate change and improve food security. Setting targets lower than 50% would be planning to fail to meet Sustainable Development Goal 12.3. It’s critical that targets include waste on farms and from processing and food service businesses – if the EU limits targets to covering only retail and consumer food waste, our report finds that between 48-76% of total EU food waste would be excluded, which would leave most businesses causing food waste in supply chains unaccountable for food waste reduction.” says Frank Mechielsen, Director Feedback EU

Piort Barczak, Senior Policy Officer at European Environmental Bureau said:“All EU countries had committed to halve food waste within the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. However, almost ten years later, they have not achieved much, and our economies still generate incredibly high amounts of food waste. The EU must urgently include measures in the EU Waste Directives to cut food waste along the whole supply chain – including production processing and food services.”

In light of this food waste scandal, an international movement of 43 organisations from 20 EU countries issued today a joint statement calling on the EU to introduce legally binding targets for member states to cut EU food waste from farm to fork by 50% by 2030, within scope of current reporting, and review extending reporting to cover all on-farm food waste. Besides us, NGOs like the European Environmental Bureau and Zero Waste Europe, food waste businesses Too Good to Go and OLIO, and members of the EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste – the EU’s official advisory body on food waste – signed the statement.

“The European Commission has committed to halving food waste by 2030. However, it is not enough to set ambitious goals without ensuring their achievement with concrete legislative proposals, which need to be drafted by the European Commission in the upcoming months. In its resolution on the Farm to Fork strategy, the European Parliament made it clear that levers such as revising the best-before date must be approached in an ambitious manner. We furthermore need binding targets at every stage of the supply chain to achieve the necessary food waste reduction.”  says Martin Häusling, Member of European Parliament and agricultural policy spokesman for the Greens/European Free Alliance (EFA) group

The Commission is due to make a proposal for legally binding food waste targets for EU member states later this year, with formal adoption by 2023. Negotiations with the European Parliament and Council will then decide on the ultimate targets. If adopted, this will be the first legislation of its type in the world.

What can you do next?

Reducing food loss and waste is one of the most important actions we can take to fight the climate crisis and improve the resilience of our food system. We urge the European Commission to set a legally binding target of a 50%, farm-to-fork reduction in food waste by 2030 and recommend that policymakers, organisations, and individuals join us in calling for these targets to be adopted.

Read the report

EU verspilt meer voedsel dan het importeert

20th Sep 22 by Frank Mechielsen, Directeur Feedback EU

Bindende regelgeving zal zorgen voor minder verspilling en kan de voedselprijzen verlagen

De troonrede rept vandaag over de hoge voedselprijzen en  een toename van gezinnen die in armoede zijn geraakt, volgens het Nibud al 1 op 3. Er kloppen steeds meer mensen aan bij de voedselbanken, terwijl nog steeds teveel voedsel verspild, met name op boerderijen, door de oneerlijke handelspraktijken van de afnemers. Het is een schandaal dat de EU meer voedsel weggooit dan het importeert. Nu is er een enorme kans om wettelijk bindende doelen vast te stellen om de voedselverspilling van boer tot bord tegen 2030 te halveren om klimaatverandering aan te pakken en de voedselzekerheid te verbeteren.

Het rapport van Feedback EU and EEB  ‘No Time to Waste’ wat vandaag is gepubliceerd, laat zien dat de EU jaarlijks voor 138 miljoen ton aan landbouwproducten importeert, terwijl er volgens een studie van WWF uit 2021 jaarlijks 153,5 miljoen ton voedsel verspild wordt. Deze verspilling kost huishoudens en bedrijven in de EU jaarlijks 143 miljard euro en veroorzaakt 6% van de broeikasgassen. De hoeveelheid tarwe die verspild wordt in de EU is ongeveer gelijk aan de helft van export van tarwe uit Oekraïne. Met een halvering van deze verspilling zouden voedselprijzen verlaagd kunnen worden.

Het is van cruciaal belang dat de EU-doelstellingen ook verspilling op boerderijen en van voedselverwerkers, cateraars en horeca omvatten. Uit ons rapport blijkt dat als de doelstellingen beperkt worden tot alleen verkwisting in de detailhandel en consumenten, 48-76% van de totale voedselverspilling in de EU niet wordt meegenomen, waardoor bedrijven die ook veel voedselverliezen veroorzaken in de toeleveringsketens niet verantwoordelijk worden gehouden voor de vermindering van deze verspilling.

In het licht van dit voedselverspillingschandaal heeft een internationale beweging van 43 organisaties uit 20 EU-landen vandaag een gezamenlijke verklaring uitgegeven waarin de EU wordt opgeroepen om wettelijk bindende doelstellingen voor de lidstaten in te voeren om de EU-voedselverspilling van boer tot bord met 50% te verminderen tegen 2030 en de rapportage uit te breiden met álle voedselverspilling vanaf de boerderij. De ondertekenaars zijn onder meer NGO’s Feedback EU, het Europees Milieubureau en Zero Waste Europe, voedselverspillingbedrijven Too Good to Go en OLIO, en leden van het EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste – het officiële adviesorgaan van de EU over voedselverspilling. Sinds 2017 hebben meer dan 70,000 mensen de Change.org petitie ondertekend om de EU aan te sporen tot wettelijk verplichte doelstellingen om voedselverspilling te halveren.

De Commissie zal later dit jaar een voorstel indienen voor wettelijk bindende streefcijfers voor voedselverspilling voor de EU-lidstaten, met formele goedkeuring in 2023. De onderhandelingen met het Europees Parlement en de Raad zullen dan beslissen over de uiteindelijke doelstellingen. Als dit wordt aangenomen, zal dit de eerste wetgeving in zijn soort ter wereld zijn.

In Nederland is afgelopen april de motie aangenomen waarin de regering wordt verzocht om in Europa voor te stellen de ambitie voor halvering van voedselverspilling in de Farm to Fork-strategie uit te breiden naar de volledige voedselketen. Nederland kan leiderschap tonen om de gehele voedselverspilling van boer tot bord terug te dringen, in Nederland en in Europa.

What can you do next?
Why the EU needs to adopt ambitious legally binding food waste reduction targets

Reducing food loss and waste is one of the most important actions we can take to fight the climate crisis and improve the resilience of our food system. We urge the European Commission to set a legally binding target of a 50%, farm-to-fork reduction in food waste by 2030 and recommend that policymakers, organisations, and individuals join us in calling for these targets to be adopted.

Read the report here