Towards the development of a Voluntary Code of Conduct on the sustainable use of plastics in agriculture
The agricultural sector has witnessed a significant increase in the use of plastics, with an estimated 12.5 million tonnes of plastic products being utilized annually in plant and animal production. Plastics have brought about numerous benefits in food production, such as improved crop yield and efficient water use. However, due to improper management and lack of access to adequate end-of-life management and infrastructure, plastic products used in agriculture are often discarded or abandoned in the environment, leading to potential harm to human health and the environment.
In 2021, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) conducted an in-depth assessment that shed light on both the advantages and challenges posed by plastics in agriculture. The study emphasized the importance of striking a balance between the benefits and trade-offs of plastics used in agriculture, and highlighted the urgent need for global action, improved governance, and inter-sectoral collaboration to address the multifaceted issues surrounding plastic use in agrifood systems.
In line with the recommendations of FAO Council FAO is working on the development of the Voluntary Code of Conduct on the sustainable use of plastics in agriculture (VCoC). The aim of the VCoC is to provide a policy framework in support of a sustainable use of plastics in agriculture and their alternatives, by assisting policy makers in creating and strengthening policies and strategies, and by providing the other stakeholders along the agri-food value chain recommendations and best practices.
The VCoC will address the sustainable use of plastics in agriculture in the context of agrifood systems transformation towards more efficiency, inclusivity, resilience, and sustainability. It will aim to better balance the benefits and trade-offs of the use of plastics in agriculture to contribute to food security, food safety, nutrition, human health, environmental sustainability and related dimensions of sustainable development (social, economic and environmental).
The consultation process for the development of the Voluntary Code of Conduct on the sustainable use of plastics in agriculture
To inform the development of the VCoC, FAO is carrying out inclusive and geographically representative consultations with a wide range of stakeholders. The consultation process included an Informal Briefing for FAO Members which took place in May 2023, a Global Expert Meeting held in June 2023, and six Regional Multi-Stakeholder Consultations taking place between September and November 2023.
This Call for submissions has been envisioned as a key component of the consultation process to allow a wide range of participants around a globe and across sectors to contribute their inputs towards the development of the VCoC. This call will remain available throughout the duration of the Regional Consultations, offering participants a chance to extend the discussion on the VCoC development and share their views and suggestions online through the FSN Forum.
FAO's Office of Climate Change, Biodiversity and Environment (OCB) invites stakeholders to share good practices and lessons learned on the sustainable use of plastics and agriculture and their alternatives.
You are welcome to respond to any of the questions in the submission template, as per your interest and expertise. Your responses, alongside the feedback we gather during our ongoing webinar consultations, will help inform the first full draft of the VCoC.
Please use this submission template (available in English) to provide your feedback by answering questions in any of the six UN languages (English, French, Spanish, Russian, Arabic and Chinese).
To take part in this Call for submissions, please get registered or login to your account on the FSN Forum; download the submission template and upload the completed submission form in the box “Post your contribution” on this webpage. For any technical support regarding downloading or uploading the submission form, please send an email to [email protected].
The Call for Submissions is open until November 7, 2023.
We look forward to receiving your valuable input and learning from your experiences.
- Lev Neretin, Environment Workstream Lead, Office of Climate Change, Biodiversity and Environment, FAO
- Alashiya Gordes, Natural Resources Officer, OCB, FAO
- Marilique Nijmeijer, Associate Professional Officer, OCB, FAO
- Matteo Zandonella Bolco, Programme Management Specialist, OCB, FAO
- Giulia Carcasci, Agricultural Plastics and Sustainability Specialist, OCB, FAO
This activity is now closed. Please contact [email protected] for any further information.