This year – 2022 – the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) will be co-organising the first-ever EU organic awards, together with the European Commission, European Committee of the Regions (CoR), COPA-COGECA and IFOAM Organics Europe, aimed at recognising excellence and rewarding the best and most innovative players in the EU organic value chain.
In true European spirit, the EESC, together with the Commission, CoR, COPA COGECA and IFOAM, has decided to co-organise these awards with the aim of honouring and showcasing excellent, innovative, sustainable and inspiring projects producing real added value for organic production and consumption.
I am calling on all actors in the organic value chain to apply, and on all of you to disseminate the information. We hope we'll receive the best applications from all over Europe, by 8 June, said EESC President Christa Schweng at this morning's launch event.
The 2022 EU Organic Awards comprise seven categories and eight awards, for the best organic:
Any player or institution along the organic value chain with an excellent, innovative, sustainable and replicable project contributing to greater affordability and/or accessibility of organic products in the EU can apply (more information here).
The EESC, which has for years advocated a more sustainable and comprehensive food policy in the EU, is responsible for three awards and has today opened applications for the best organic SME, best organic food retailer and best organic restaurant.
These awards aim to encourage ongoing projects and inspire new ones, thus highlighting the contribution that SMEs, food retailers and restaurants can make to the EU organic value chain.
Online applications will be open from 25 March 2022 to 8 June 2022 (23:59:59 CEST). No applications other than online ones will be taken into account.
The awards are non-financial but of great recognition value, and will be handed out on 23 September, which is EU Organic day. If circumstances allow for an in-person award ceremony, the winners will be invited to an event in Brussels attended by high-level representatives of the European Commission, European Parliament, Council of the European Union, European Economic and Social Committee, European Committee of the Regions, COPA-COGECA and IFOAM Organics Europe, to collect their awards and present their project to a broader public.
We kindly invite you to encourage players in the EU organic value chain in your country or in your network to apply for the 2022 EU Organic Awards and thus help valuable projects win recognition.
Specific eligibility criteria apply for each award. Project promoters must be established or residents in one of the 27 Member States of the EU. Applications must be submitted in one of the official EU languages and the projects must be EU-based.
The same project cannot be submitted for several award categories/awards. Each applicant can only apply for one award.
The project should either already have been fully implemented or be in a sufficiently mature state so as to enable the jury to assess it (i.e. physical implementation should be advanced enough to demonstrate achievement of the objectives).
Specific eligibility criteria for the categories under the EESC's responsibility:
- Best organic SME: An enterprise certified according to Regulation (EU) 2018/848, complying with the SME definition (an enterprise that employs fewer than 250 people and has an annual turnover not exceeding EUR 50 million and/or an annual balance sheet total not exceeding EUR 43 million) and having 100% organic production (to be understood as organic products or in conversion);
- Best organic food retailers: An enterprise certified according to Regulation (EU) 2018/848 and selling 100% organic certified references (to be understood as organic products or in conversion) (excluding non-food products or food products for which there is no organic availability);
- Best organic restaurant: A restaurant (either standalone, or as part of the hotel and catering sector) having 100% organic (to be understood as organic products or in conversion) certified references on their menu, where possible (in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2018/848).
Post about the organic awards on social media using #EUOrganic.
Best organic farmer (male): EUorganicawardsorganicseurope [dot] bio
Best organic farmer (female): EUorganicawardscopa-cogeca [dot] eu
Best organic city, region or bio-district: EUorganicawardscor [dot] europa [dot] eu
Best organic SME, food retailer or restaurant: EUorganicawardsEESCeesc [dot] europa [dot] eu
The Commission has defined a target of 25% of EU agricultural land to be under organic farming by 2030. In support of that target, it adopted the Action Plan for the Development of Organic Production in March 2021. This Action Plan takes the approach that, in order to stimulate organic production and consumption, increased public awareness of its characteristics and benefits is critical. The Action Plan therefore includes annual awards as one of the strategies for achieving this goal.