Happy holidays from AIJN Secretary-General Wouter Lox
Dear members, friends, and Brussels colleagues,
2022 is officially behind us and we are closing a challenging, successful, and promising year.
Challenging, because the pandemic still very much put its stamp on the first quarter of the year. Challenging, because inflation and increasing energy prices have imposed heavy burdens on our supply chains across the globe. Challenging, because the EU’s fast-changing legislative environment require(d) anticipation and agility at the same time from our sector. Indeed, 2022 was defined by keeping up with the European Commission on key legislative developments and responding to those with an effective outreach strategy to ensure representation for fruit juices and nectars in the Brussels bubble and beyond.
Successful, because we have achieved that. Our policy work throughout the year centered around three extremely important dossiers for the fruit juice sector: the Fruit Juice Directive’s long-anticipated revision, the Food Information to Consumers (FIC) Regulation’s revision, and the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (soon to be Regulation)’s revision. All of these files required close collaboration with EU policymakers due to their massive impacts on our producers and suppliers. In 2022, the AIJN team aimed higher than ever before to engage the most influential stakeholders in Brussels and advocate for our sector’s interests. In fact, there is a lot to be proud of from this year:
1285 new faces followed the AIJN – European Fruit Juice Association LinkedIn page.
1078 viewers followed our hybrid policy debate in partnership with Euractiv on 16 November. The event, titled Empowering consumers to make healthy food choices, engaged (minimum) 14 European Parliament officials, 18 European Commission officials, and representatives from 14 Member State Permanent Representations. Other (tracked) registrations came from national authorities, NGOs, consultancies, the private sector, and 3rd country authorities.
422 attendees were present at the first post-pandemic physical Juice Summit. The conference hosted industry leaders and professionals from 5 continents and more than 30 countries.
134 participants attended the Juice Environmental Summit on 24 March. AIJN co-organised the event with the Sustainable Juice Platform.
98 existing and upcoming EU sustainability legislation that has an impact on the fruit juice supply chain has been summarised in AIJN’s newest digital tool, the AIJN EU Sustainability Legislation Database. From farming to bottling, the database contains relevant information for every supply chain actor to support them in monitoring regulatory changes. The corresponding impact assessment demonstrates who exactly is affected by the legislation along the value chain, and to what degree.
3 European Commissioners invited the AIJN Secretariat to bilaterally meet with their cabinets to discuss ongoing legislative developments. On top of meeting the cabinet representatives, the team participated in numerous meetings with European Commission officials throughout the year, especially in relation to the Fruit Juice Directive’s revision.
3 aspirational objectives that AIJN has endorsed when signing the EU Code of Conduct on Responsible Food Business and Marketing Practices in June. Signing the Code has allowed our association to collaborate with a prestigious network of Brussels stakeholders on sustainability.
1 physical General Assembly in October. After years of digital gatherings, the AIJN Secretariat was finally able to host our beloved network in Antwerp on 11 October once again for a fruitful – and occasionally heated – in-person discussion.
The final word I have for 2022 is promising. Promising, because we carry these successes to the new year with ourselves and we continue to build on them. Promising, because our association started a successful Public Affairs trajectory that will allow us to reach new heights in lobbying. Promising, because this year has shown how much power our industry has when we cooperate. For this, I would like to take the opportunity to say a huge thank you to you, our members, for standing by the Secretariat’s side all year. Your support allows us to continue aiming higher and promote our sector’s interest in the best possible way.
With these parting words, I wish you all a joyful Christmas with your loved ones and a happy new year! I hope to see many of you in 2023 to continue AIJN’s journey and carry on building our strong, influential, and resilient association.