European Parliament to consider sustainability charge on meat
30 January 2020
New report calls for fair meat prices to reflect its environmental impact
The European Parliament will next week be presented with a plan to increase the price of meat across the EU to reflect its environmental costs, including CO2 emissions and biodiversity loss.
The fair-meat pricing proposal, also known as a ‘sustainability charge’, is set out in a new report which calls for a new pricing model to be included in the European Green Deal and Farm to Fork Strategy. It would apply to member states from 2022. The report was written by the TAPP Coalition, which comprises leading farming, health, and environment organisations. It will be debated by MEPs on 5 February.
A key aspect of the proposal is that revenues from the sustainability charge, projected at €32.2 billion per year across 28 EU Member States by 2030, could be used primarily to help farmers to invest in more sustainable agricultural practices. It could also be used to lower VAT and consumer subsidies on vegetables and fruits, provide financial support for low-income households, and support developing countries to adapt to climate change and protect forests and biodiversity.
Philip Mansbridge, Executive Director (UK) for ProVeg International, one of the TAPP Coalition members, said: “The time has come for us to act decisively with policy on the environmental consequences of animal protein, the price of which has been kept artificially low for far too long. Here we have a solution that is fair for farmers and supports the transition to a more plant-based food system that we so urgently need if we are serious about mitigating climate change.”
The scale of potential environmental savings is outlined in the report. Fair meat prices in Europe could lead to a reduction in CO2-eq. emissions of up to 120 million tons of CO2 per year. This equals all CO2 emissions from four EU Member States: Ireland, Denmark, Slovakia, and Estonia, and nearly 3% of all EU greenhouse gas emissions.
Pier Vellinga, Climate Professor and TAPP Coalition Chair, added: “Including the environmental cost of animal protein in the price is a crucial element of meeting EU targets for climate, biodiversity, public health, and animal welfare.”
There are also wider benefits of a sustainability charge, as Jeroom Remmers, TAPP Coalition Director, highlights: “If EU meat consumption reduces and plant-based protein consumption rises, healthcare costs will reduce too, as Europeans eat roughly 50% more meat than is recommended in dietary health guidelines. We could also save billions of Euros every year in lower healthcare costs.”
MEPs will debate the proposal at a breakfast event at the European Parliament on 5 February, moderated by the Vice-Chair of the Greens, Bas Eickhout, and co-hosted by Social Democrat MEPs Mohammed Chahim and Sylwia Spurek. The event has been organised by TAPP Coalition and Compassion in World Farming EU.
Notes to editors
Journalists are invited to attend the event from 8-9.30am at room A5E1 in the European Parliament. To register, please email to [email protected] and [email protected]. For more info, please see: https://tappcoalition.eu/nieuws/12975/tapp-coalition-event–true-price-of-meat–in-european-parliament-with-bas-eickhout–greens—-m–chahim–s-d- The TAPP Coalition and CE Delft reports will be available online from 4 February at 6pm CET at tappcoalition.eu (news).
The TAPP Coalition report “Aligning food pricing policies with the European Green Deal – true pricing of meat and dairy in Europe, including CO2 costs” is based on a report by CE Delft: “A Sustainability Charge on Meat”, commissioned by TAPP Coalition. Both reports will be presented on 5 February.
The proposal is generally in line with food recommendations for the European Green Deal and Farm to Fork Strategy, supported by a range of European civil society organisations together with recent recommendations by three leading European health NGOs (EUPHA, EPHA, EHN) “Farm to Fork needs an effective consumption strategy“. The proposal is also in line with some demands from farmers, united within Copa Cogeca.
If EU Member States introduced the recommendations, prices would increase as follows: for beef/veal by 47 euro cent per 100 grams, for pork by 36 euro cent per 100 grams, and for chicken by 17 euro cent per 100 grams by 2030. This reflects the fact that environmental costs per kg of beef are the highest. This would lead to a reduction in chicken, pork, and beef consumption by 30%, 57% and 67% respectively by 2030. CE Delft proposes that the charge rate gradually increases from 10% of the external costs in 2021 to full coverage by 2030 until all environmental costs are included in prices.
The main impacts of a sustainability charge would be net EU welfare impacts (benefits) of €8.8 billion per year by 2030 (€7.9 billion climate-related). EU-28 Member States would receive revenues from excise taxes on meat, based on True Price Accounting (external costs) of €32.2 billion per year.
The TAPP Coalition advises revenues to be used for farmers (31-46%), lower VAT tariffs and consumer subsidies on vegetables and fruits (22-36%), for low-income households (19%) and support for developing countries to double nature reserves/forests, reduce greenhouse gasses, and adapt to climate change (12%).
TAPP Coalition Director Jeroom Remmers will hand over symbolic cheques to representatives of farmers (€10-15 billion/year) and consumers (€7-12 billion/year) for subsidies/lower VAT on vegetables, fruits, and plant-based food, and €6 billion for low-income households. A cheque of €4 billion is available for developing countries. If €15 billion/year is granted to 2.5 million EU farmers, incomes would rise by €6,000/year.
In the Netherlands, the TAPP Coalition proposals for meat and vegetable prices are supported by a majority of 63% of Dutch consumers.
Jimmy Pierson, Global PR Manager, ProVeg International +447931 819 508
Jeroom Remmers, TAPP Coalition Director +31 6 22 40 7712 [email protected]
Vergeer, CE Delft +31644051853
Prof. Pier Vellinga, TAPP Coalition Chair +31 6 51616618,
Olga Kikou, Head of CIWF EU, +32 (0) 27091330