SACRAMENTO, Calif. December 6, 2017 – The Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Platform (SAI Platform) and Almond Board of California (ABC) announced today the outcome of a benchmarking effort with the ABC’s California Almond Sustainability Program (CASP) and SAI Platform’s Farm Sustainability Assessment (FSA). CASP almond growing and processing practice assessments paired with the U.S. and California regulatory systems results in a FSA 2.0 Gold level equivalency.
“The California Almond Sustainability Program achieved the highest level of equivalency – Gold – with the Farm Sustainability Assessment” according to Joe Rushton, FSA Manager at SAI Platform. “Gold equivalence reflects the comprehensiveness of the Almond Board’s sustainability program, coupled with applicable federal and state regulations, and demonstrates how the California Almond Sustainability Program can be used as an equivalent means of assessing sustainable practices relevant to the California Almond industry.”
California Almonds are the first nut-specific program to be benchmarked to FSA 2.0, and one of only two US sustainability initiatives that achieved a ‘gold’ level of equivalence. Almond trees thrive in California with the unique combination of a Mediterranean climate, rich soils, natural resources, talent, and infrastructure to farm almonds. More than 80% of the world’s supply of almonds are grown in California.
Richard Waycott, ABC President and CEO commented that “establishing equivalency with the FSA’s ‘gold’ level is an important step in recognizing the California Almond industry’s well-established practices and commitment to being an economically, environmentally and socially responsible crop for California and the world.”
CASP has been a valuable tool enabling farmers to assess their own practices and confidentially compare their performance to peers. Moving forward, the industry now has a basis for exploring how the California Almond Sustainability Program can be leveraged throughout the supply chain.
“Our objective for working with SAI Platform’s FSA is to increase efficiencies throughout the supply chain, from the almond orchard to customers, by increasing confidence in California Almond farmers’ practices and reducing the need for redundant questionnaires“, said Waycott.
The FSA 2.0 Gold equivalence provides the California Almond industry with a way to communicate on-farm practices and address stakeholder sustainability questions in a more harmonized and consistent manner.