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Policy briefing

Policy briefing: Implementing Mandatory Business Reporting in the Food Sector

This is the second policy briefing from Plating Up Progress.

In Plating Up Progress’ first policy briefing we argued that a lack of transparent data within the food industry is currently hindering progress towards healthy, just, and sustainable food systems, and recommended that the Government introduce mandatory business reporting for the food industry in a variety of areas.

Since we published that first briefing, the Government has committed in its new Food Strategy to introduce mandatory business reporting on a set of health metrics by the end of 2023, and to consider additional reporting requirements on environmental and animal welfare. The metrics will be developed in collaboration with industry and other stakeholders via a new Food Data Transparency Partnership (FDTP).  

In this second briefing we highlight examples of existing best reporting practice, and explore issues that will need to be considered by the Government and the FDTP as they develop the new reporting regime. 

We conclude that for maximum impact and to avoid imposing undue additional burden on businesses, the FDTP should seek simplicity and alignment with the methodologies and metrics utilised by established voluntary schemes, and learn from examples of existing successful business reporting.

It will also be crucial that the Government retains its ambition for reporting to be mandatory rather than voluntary, and backs up new mandatory reporting requirements with strong implementation mechanisms, including requirements for the reported data to be publicly accessible, and the introduction of robust accountability mechanisms.

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