The Action Plan for the Development of Organic Production adopted in March 2021 takes the approach that, in order to stimulate organic production, consumer demand for organic products should grow. This requires, amongst other things, increased public awareness of the characteristics and benefits of organic production.
For this purpose, the Action Plan includes the launch of annual awards recognising excellence in the organic value chain.
About the EU organic awards
Increases in organic production contribute significantly to reducing the use of chemical fertilisers, pesticides and antimicrobials and have positive effects on our climate, the environment, biodiversity and animal welfare. That is why organic production has been identified as playing a key role in achieving the objectives of the European Green Deal, the Farm to Fork strategy and the Biodiversity strategy. For this reason, the Commission has defined a target of 25% of EU agricultural land under organic farming by 2030 and a significant increase in organic aquaculture.
In support of that target, the Commission has adopted the Action Plan for the Development of Organic Production in March 2021, including the launch of annual awards recognising excellence in the organic value chain. These awards will be awarded for the second time in 2023.
Meet the winners of the 2022 organic awards.
Award categories and awards
The EU organic awards scheme comprises 7 categories and 8 individual awards. They acknowledge different actors along the organic value chain, which developed an excellent, innovative, sustainable and inspiring project producing real added value for organic production and consumption.
The objective of this award is to reward a farmer (one female and one male). This award is organised by COPA-COGECA and IFOAM Organics Europe.
The objective of this award is to reward a region. This award is organised by the European Committee of the Regions.
The objective of this award is to reward a city. This award is organised by European Committee of the Regions.
The objective of this award is to reward a “bio district”. This award is organised by the European Committee of the Regions.
The objective of this award is to reward a Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) processing organic products. This award is organised by the European Economic and Social Committee.
The objective of this award is to reward an SME food retailer selling organic products. This award is organised by the European Economic and Social Committee.
The objective of this award is to reward an SME restaurant/food service restaurant (standalone or part of a hotel) and/or food service (caterer or canteen) proposing organic certified references in their menu. This award is organised by the European Economic and Social Committee.
These awards are non-financial and will be handed on or around 23 September, which is EU Organic Day. For the second edition, the award ceremony will take place on 25 September 2023.
Reasons to apply
Do you want to contribute to the greater public awareness of organic production in the EU? Do you want to contribute to the greater affordability and/or accessibility of organic products in the EU? Have you developed and implemented, or are you still implementing, an excellent, innovative, sustainable and replicable project for this purpose? Do you want to make this project better known to the public?
If the answer to any of the above questions is 'yes', you should consider entering for the next edition of the EU organic awards. If you win, you will receive a non-financial recognition award and greater public visibility for your project. So whether you are:
- an organic farmer
- a city or region serving organic meals to patients or pupils or otherwise promoting organic production
- a business in the organic food chain with a unique approach
- you should think about entering the EU organic awards.
Application, selection criteria
Applicants for the 2023 EU organic awards are asked to:
- read the different sections of this website, in particular the eligibility criteria and the selection criteria;
- choose the award category they wished to enter;
- apply online from 25 March until 14 May 2023;
- provide answers to closed guiding questions (some relating to the four principles of organic and the sustainability pillars), to help the jury to obtain more information about the applicants.
Any actor or institution along the organic value chain with a noteworthy project contributing to the greater affordability and/or accessibility of organic products in the EU can apply. Project promoters must be established or residents in the EU. Applications must be submitted in one of the official EU languages and the projects EU based.
Applications for the EU Organic Awards shall meet the following eligibility criteria:
a) The starting point to apply for one of the awards is the EU organic awards webpage, which will link to the online application forms for each of the awards. Applications must be submitted by 14 May 2023, 23:59:59 CEST at the latest.
b) Applications must be in one of the official EU languages.
c) Applicants must be legal or natural persons established or resident in one of the 27 Member States of the EU.
d) The project submitted must be EU based and refer clearly to one of the 7 award categories/8 awards. The same project cannot be submitted for several award categories/awards. Each applicant can only apply for one single award. The maximum number of applications per award is one.
e) The winners of the 2022 edition cannot re-apply for the 2023 edition. The non-winning finalists of the 2022 edition can re-apply for the 2023 edition.
f) The project should either have been fully implemented already or should 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 the achievement of the objectives).
g) Specific eligibility criteria for each award category:
- Best organic farmer (female) and Best organic farmer (male): Certified accordingly to the Regulation (EU) 2018/848 of 30 May 2018 on organic production and labelling of organic products and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007;
- Best organic region: No specific eligibility criteria;
- Best organic city: No specific eligibility criteria; in case the city operates one or more organic farms or stores, proof of their organic certification should be provided. This proof should be a valid certificate at the moment of submission;
- Best organic "bio-district": A “bio-district” is defined as a geographical area where farmers, the public, tourist operators, associations and public authorities enter into an agreement for the sustainable management of local resources, based on organic principles and practices;
- Best organic food processing SME: Enterprise certified according to Regulation (EU) 2018/848, and having 100% organic production and complying with the SME definition (an enterprise that employs fewer than 250 persons and has an annual turnover not exceeding EUR 50 million, and /or an annual balance sheet total not exceeding EUR 43 million). Cooperatives can be understood as enterprises. Processing is understood as defined by Regulation (EU) No 852/2004;
- Best organic food retailers: Enterprise certified according to Regulation (EU) 2018/848 and having 100% organic certified references on sale (excluding non-food products or food products for which there is no organic availability) and complying with the SME definition (an enterprise that employs fewer than 250 persons and has an annual turnover not exceeding EUR 50 million, and/or an annual balance sheet total not exceeding EUR 43 million). Cooperatives can be understood as enterprises;
- Best organic restaurant/food service: Enterprise having 100% organic certified references in their menu, where possible and complying with the SME definition (an enterprise that employs fewer than 250 persons and has an annual turnover not exceeding EUR 50 million, and/or an annual balance sheet total not exceeding EUR 43 million). Cooperatives can be understood as enterprises.
All eligible applications will be assessed by the EU Organic Awards jury against the following horizontal award criteria:
- Excellence: The awardee must have developed an excellent initiative producing real added value for organic production. This means good results and impact of the project in relation to its initial objectives. Projects shall demonstrate their impact on the area and territory concerned and show their results against the initially set targets and objectives.
- Innovative character of the project in the selected award category: Projects shall not be "business as usual", but should demonstrate new approaches, new organisational methods, or the development of new (or significantly) improved results for organics. The criteria for measuring the innovative character for each category are better detailed in the dedicated section of the category.
- Sustainability pillars (environmental, social and economic) of the project: Projects shall demonstrate their sustainability and their future as a self-standing initiative or project detailing how their project meets each pillar of sustainability in 3 different sub-sections.
- Transferability and possibility to replicate the project elsewhere in the EU: The project shall demonstrate that it represents good practice in a wider (EU) context and that it inspires or could inspire other places. The project should also show good ways of communicating its goals and results.
The applicants will be asked guiding questions, developed in relation to the four principles of organic agriculture and the sustainability pillars, as well as a project summary. These questions will help the applicants to better structure their answers and the jury to obtain more data about the applicants.
The jury deciding on the final winners comprised representatives of:
- The European Commission,
- The European Economic and Social Committee,
- The European Committee of the Regions,
- IFOAM Organics Europe,
- The European Parliament and
- The Council of the European Union.
- 25 March 2023
Launch of the application period for the awards
- 14 May 2023
Deadline for the submission of applications: 14 May 2023, 23:59:59 CEST.
- June/July 2023
Awards evaluation decision
- 25 September 2023
Meet the winners of the 2022 edition
The awards ceremony was organised on the EU Organic day on 23 September 2022. The winners were invited to an event in Brussels to collect their awards. This event involved representatives of the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union, the European Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions, COPA-COGECA and IFOAM Organics Europe. Providing examples of best practices, the winners were able to explain their project to a broader public.
Watch the full recording of the inaugural EU organic awards ceremony that took place in Brussels, as one of a range of activities and events to mark EU organic day.
Organic farming, aquaculture and food in the EU
Regulation (EU) 2018/848 states in recital 1 that “Organic production is an overall system of farm management and food production that combines best environmental and climate action practices, a high level of biodiversity, the preservation of natural resources and the application of high animal welfare standards and high production standards in line with the demand of a growing number of consumers for products produced using natural substances and processes”.
Organic production is increasing in the EU. In 2019, 8.5% of EU agricultural land was under organic farming. This equalled 13.8 million hectares, up from 9.5 million hectares in 2012, a 45.8% increase. The countries accounting for most of the EU agricultural land under organic farming were Spain (2.4 billion hectares, 17.4% of the EU total), France (2.2 billion hectares, 16.2% of the EU total), Italy (2.0 billion hectares, 14.5% of the total) and Germany (1.3 billion hectares, 9.4% of the EU total) as per Eurostat organic farming statistics.
Across the entire value chain, almost 344,000 organic producers and over 78,000 organic processors were active in the EU. Organic farmers benefit from the price premiums that organic products fetch on the market and the rapidly growing final consumer demand for organic products. In 2019, the EU market accounted for 38.8 billion euro in a global market of 106.4 billion euro, second after the US market accounting for 48.2 billion. Large markets in the EU are Germany (12.0 billion) euro and France (11.3 billion euro), as per FIBL statistics.
Per capita consumer expenditure on organic products is highest in Denmark (344 euro, equivalent to 12% of grocery shopping) and Luxembourg (264 euro, equivalent to 8% of grocery shopping), as per as per FIBL statistics.
Consumer awareness of the EU organic logo is increasing. In 2020, 56% of Eurobarometer survey respondents recognised the logo, compared to 27% in 2017. 80% of survey respondents believe that organic products are more environmentally friendly and respect higher animal welfare standards.
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