Introduction “Food and drink” products are the basis of life. However, it is recognised that their supply also contributes to the environmental impacts associated with production and consumption. Recently, an increasing number of food chain partners and public authorities have introduced a widening range of initiatives to provide information about the environmental performance of food and drink products. These initiatives show a high degree of diversity in terms of their chosen scope, assessment methodologies and means of communication, which has the potential to confuse or even mislead consumers and other stakeholders. In this context, the European Food Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) Round Table was launched by food supply chain partners and the European Commission with the vision of promoting a science-based, coherent approach to sustainable consumption and production in the European food sector. Objectives This article presents this European initiative by introducing its Guiding Principles and summarizing the proceedings of the scientific workshop held in Ispra on 14–15 June 2010. The aim of the workshop was to identify scientific inputs for developing the harmonised framework methodology for assessing the environmental issues of food and drink products. In this context, the main purpose was to provide a common understanding of what is involved in reliable and robust environmental assessments of the food chain, current limitations, and how to go from detailed assessments to more focused criteria, guidance and tools. Conclusion The current experiences presented in the workshop demonstrate that much advancement has already been made towards the measurement and management of the environmental performance of food and drink products. Detailed methodologies and tools are already being used by various players. According to the workshop speakers, the definition of methodological choices concerning the functional unit, system boundaries, cut-off criteria, allocation rules and environmental impact categories are some of the key issues to be fixed in the harmonised framework methodology. The Round Table process has the potential to make a substantial contribution to the sustainable consumption and production of food and drink products. This model might be proposed and reiterated for other sectors as well.
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