Global Circularity Report 2023

Published by Circle Economy in collaboration with Deloitte, and launched during the World Economic Forum on January 16, 2023, the report warns that the global economy is now only 7.2% circular. The report identifies 16 transformational circular solutions across four key systems that center on the principles of use less, use longer, use again, and make clean. In terms of food systems, the report recognizes possible solutions such as:

  • Putting healthier, satiating foods first: shifting calories from meat, fish and dairy towards cereals, fruits, vegetables and nuts;
  • Go local, seasonal, and organic;
  • Mainstream regenerative agriculture and;
  • No more avoidable food waste.

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Trade and Climate: ‘Coalition of Trade Ministers on Climate’

Launched on January 19, 2023, the newly formed Coalition will aim to foster global action to promote trade policies that can help address climate change through local and global initiatives. To date it consists of more than 50 ministers from 27 jurisdictions. It aims to be a forum of high-level political dialogue to foster international cooperation on climate, trade and sustainable development.

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World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2023

According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2023, failure to respond to climate change and biodiversity loss are among the top five most severe risks facing the world in the long term. In addition to climate concerns, the top short-term risks include geoeconomic confrontation and societal polarization, with the cost-of-living crisis topping the list.

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EU: Sustainability Agreements in Agriculture

In 2021 the European Parliament and Council of the EU adopted a new exclusion allowing restrictions of competition for agreements in the agriculture sector if they are indispensable to achieve sustainability standards higher than EU or national mandatory standards. This exclusion is laid down in the CMO Regulation 1308/2013 forming part of the EU Common Agricultural Policy (under Article 210a of the CMO).

The Council and Parliament asked the Commission to issue guidelines concerning the conditions for the application of this exclusion by December 8, 2023. Following the first call for evidence, the European Commission drafted a first version of the guidelines on antitrust exclusion for sustainability agreements in agriculture, which is now opened for consultation with stakeholders.

Deadline for submitting comments is April 24, 2023.

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EU: Use of Bee-Toxic Pesticides

On January 19, 2023, the European Court of Justice ruled that EU countries should no longer be allowed temporary exemptions for banned, bee-toxic neonicotinoid pesticides (imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam) used in agriculture for seed treatment. “The Court also stresses the obligation of all Member States to take all necessary measures to promote low pesticide- input pest control, giving priority to non-chemical methods wherever possible.”

On February 2, 2023, the European Commission adopted new rules which will, once applicable, lower the Maximum Residues Levels (MRLs) of two pesticides in food: clothianidin and thiamethoxam. Assessments by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) have shown that the two chemicals, belonging to the group of neonicotinoid pesticides, pose a high risk to bees and contribute to the global decline of pollinators. For this reason, their outdoor use was already banned in the EU in 2018. The new rules will lower existing MRLs for these substances to the lowest level that can be measured. They will apply to all products produced in the EU, but also to imported food and feed products.

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EU: Revision of the EU Pollinators Initiative

The European Commission presented on January 24, 2023, the revised EU Pollinators Initiative ‘A New Deal for Pollinators’, which sets objectives for 2030 and actions for reversing the decline of pollinators. The key priority is improving pollinator conservation and tackling the causes of their decline. This will be done through:

  • Better conservation of species and habitats
  • Restoring habitats in agricultural landscapes
  • Mitigating the impact of pesticide use on pollinators
  • Enhancing pollinator habitats in urban areas
  • Tackling the impacts on pollinators of climate change, invasive alien species and other threats such as biocides or light pollution.

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EU: New Organic Farming Progress Report

Released on January 26, 2023, this market brief covers facts and figures on organic farming in the EU over the period 2012-2020.


  • The share of EU agricultural land under organic farming increased by more than 50% over the period 2012-2020, with an annual increase of 5.7%.
  • In 2020, 9.1% of the EU’s agricultural area was farmed organically.
  • On average, though with substantial variation across Member States, organic farms are bigger than conventional farms and run by younger farm managers.
  • Echoing the growth of production, the retail sales of organic products doubled in the EU between 2015 and 2020.

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USA: First-Ever Vaccine for Honeybees Approved

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has issued a conditional vaccine license to Diamond Animal Health, the collaborating manufacturer for Dalan Animal Health. It is supposed to be the first-ever vaccine for honeybees to prevent American foulbrood disease, a fatal bacterial disease that can destroy honeybee colonies. According to the USDA Agricultural Research Service, “American foulbrood is one of the most widespread and the most destructive of the honey bee brood diseases”.

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USA: Strengthening Organic Enforcement Final Rule

On January 19, 2023, the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) published the Strengthening Organic Enforcement final rule, which updates organic regulations. It aims to strengthen oversight and enforcement of the production, handling, and sale of organic products.

This final rule implements the mandates of the 2018 Farm Bill, intends to respond to industry requests to update USDA’s organic regulations, and addresses recommendations from the National Organic Standards Board.

The proposed amendments intend to close loopholes in the current regulations to build more consistent certification practices to discourage and detect organic fraud, and improve transparency and traceability.

It will enter into force on March 20, 2023, while its implementation is set for March 19, 2024.

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