This article was originally published on Resilience


“At this year’s Oxford Real Farming Conference the Sustainable Food Trust will be convening a session delving into one of the most important issues for future farming policy in the UK – how do we measure on-farm sustainability and bring about convergence in the multitude of conflicting and overlapping assessment and certification systems currently being used? If we are to achieve fairness in any future policy or subsidy system we need to accurately record farm sustainability in order to ensure those farming in a sustainable way and delivering public goods are rewarded financially, while those using practices that are damaging to the environment and public health are made accountable.

In 2016, the Sustainable Food Trust convened a small group of farmers and land managers to begin developing a harmonised framework and common language for assessing the sustainability of all farming systems.

At present, most farmers and land managers participate in multiple and overlapping sustainability assessment schemes, required to satisfy several different stakeholders including government, certification bodies and food companies. It has been estimated that worldwide there are more than 100 different on-farm sustainability assessment tools in existence, and consequently, food producers are subjected to unnecessary expenses and time-consuming bureaucracy in meeting these compliance requirements.

A harmonised framework could take the form of a tailored whole farm management plan with a suite of categories and measures, aligned and compatible with existing initiatives such as the TEEBAgriFood valuation frameworkNatural Capital Protocol and FAO’s SAFA framework. With this in place, the enabling conditions will exist for both government and market intervention, the combination of which will accelerate the transition towards more sustainable food systems…”

Read on at: Resilience.