Foundation Earth has appointed the French Government’s ecolabelling project coordinator to its scientific committee, in a major milestone towards the harmonisation of environmental labelling of food and drink across Europe.

The French Government’s lead expert Vincent Colomb joins a Dutch leading expert Dr Koen Boon and the top UK food scientist Professor Chris Elliott OBE on the committee, marking an increased level of collaboration between the most advanced European initiatives, to support the mission Foundation Earth has set on impactful, harmonised ecolabelling.

Alongside the new appointment to the Foundation Earth Scientific Committee, which already includes other experts in sustainability, ecolabelling and consumer behaviour, Foundation Earth is announcing intentions to initiate a R&D programme designed to close the remaining gaps between its own method and the method being led by the French Government.

It is inviting expressions of interest for potential partners and supporters for the R&D programme, which it is hoped will be the next substantial step towards agreeing a single, harmonised and optimum environmental labelling system for food and drink across the European continent.

Vincent Colomb from ADEME, the French Agency for Ecological Transition is an accomplished environmental expert and has been leading the French Government’s efforts in the world of ecolabelling.

With a wealth of experience in life cycle assessments and eco-design – particularly for the agricultural and food sectors – Vincent Colomb has been a driving force behind the development of the French LCI AGRIBALYSE food database, and has also contributed to the establishment of the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) framework at European level.

Since mid-2022, Vincent has taken on the responsibility of coordinating ADEME’s efforts to develop ecolabelling initiatives for all types of products and services, in compliance with the French Climate law enacted in 2021. His key objective for 2023-24 is to bring to fruition an extensive ecolabelling scheme for the food and textiles sectors in France.

“Broader and more reliable environmental information is expected by many compagnies 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. 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,” said Vincent Colomb, Ecolabelling Project Coordinator at ADEME.

Vincent joins an array of talented experts on the Committee including Chairman Professor Chris Elliott OBE of Queen’s University Belfast, one of the UK’s leading food scientists and leader of the UK Government’s investigation into the 2013 horsemeat scandal, and Koen Boon from Wageningen University, who is leading the Netherlands’ research and implementation of food ecolabels.

“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,” says Cliona Howie, CEO at Foundation Earth.

Foundation Earth’s Scientific Committee plays a pivotal role in ensuring that our work is grounded in scientific accuracy and integrity. Made up of leading experts in various fields related to environmental sustainability, the Committee provides guidance and recommendations to ensure that all of Foundation Earth’s developments are science-based and evidence-driven.

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,” said Prof Chris Elliott OBE of Queen’s University Belfast, Chairman of Foundation Earth’s Scientific Committee.