On March 31st, Ignacio Gavilan, Sustainability Director at The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) joined a panel discussion at the 2022 edition of the GFSI Conference. Attendees gathered at the in-person event in Barcelona, Spain for three days of discussion on the theme of “Delivering Impact for Safe Sustainable Food”. The plenary session, in which Ignacio participated, entitled ‘Breaking the Silos Between Food Safety and Sustainability’ shone a spotlight on this theme and acknowledged that the two priorities have tended to clash in the past.

Ignacio shared the stage with Jorge Juste Ortega, General Directorate of Health and Agricultural Production at the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPA), Raquel Medeiros, Head of Food Safety – Chemical Contaminants and Packaging at Nestlé, and Annelise Fenger, Deputy Director General, at the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration (DVFA). The panellists came together for an engaged discussion around opportunities to combat issues such as climate change, food waste and plastic pollution while maintaining or enhancing safety and quality.

Ignacio presented some of different elements of the CGF’s work on environmental sustainability, highlighting the importance of taking action to influence upstream and downstream within industry supply chains. He shared with attendees the three priorities of the CGF’s Plastic Waste Coalition of Action on packaging design, extended producer responsibility and recycling innovation. He also shared the mission and work of the Food Waste Coalition of Action, noting that measurement within companies’ operations should be a priority. He also warned of the need to be cautious on issues of food waste, noting the introduction of a ‘sniff test’ for milk in some retailers replacing best before dates. Finally, he emphasised the importance of making the shift towards natural refrigerants.

Finally, Ignacio highlighted the importance of ensuring food safety, saying that it must of course come first and that sustainability professionals must work with food safety experts to work across both issues.

To catch up on all the highlights, quotes and key takeaway from this year’s conference, you can read the roundups on the GFSI website.