Celebrating the PDO and GIs

Since 26 April 1970, World Intellectual Property Day has represented an opportunity to raise awareness on the central role that intellectual property and creativity play on different sectors of daily life, from the arts and music to technological innovation, for the development of societies across the globe. In this context, Geographical Indications (GIs) establish intellectual property rights for specific products (eg, agricultural products, foodstuffs, wine and spirit drinks and industrial products), whose qualities, characteristics and reputation are specifically linked to their area of production, as they entail important benefits from a socio-economic point of view. Not only do GIs provide a way for business to leverage the value of their geographically unique products, but they also enable consumers to trust and distinguish quality products. Areas such as cheese are particularly well represented for the dairy sector throughout the EU and in the UK.

At European level, both EU quality policy and Public Sector Food Procurement have recently witnessed important reforms to protect the names and GIs of specific products and to promote their unique qualities and characteristics, which are linked to their geographical origin and traditional know-how. Food Quality Schemes (FQS) allow to promote unique qualities and characteristics found in foods, wherein GIs have emerged as prime examples of food production systems incorporating both traditional and sustainable practices. To celebrate this, the first Strategic Guide on Sustainable Food Quality Schemes (FQS) has been launched. Developed over the last five years by the EU-funded project Strength2Food, the tool offers practical and actionable advice to highlight the links between FQS and sustainability.

The guide showcases the positive impacts of FQS linked to responsible production and consumption practices. Based on the results of 26 benchmarked value chains, involving different FQS such as organic, Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) and Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) in 14 countries, the guide presents a toolbox to explore the sustainability performance of FQS and their potential.

Further, there will be a Strength2Food conference on 20 May, discussing the research. Visit www.strength2food.eu for more information.

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