The new and improved version of SAI Platform’s Farm Sustainability Assessment, FSA 3.0, was launched in April 2021
Since its inception in 2014, the FSA has become a recognised and trusted industry solution and the latest version is even more effective in enabling supply chain collaboration and accelerating sustainable agriculture on the ground.
2021 saw significant user growth, represented by a 100% increase in the number of farms in verified Farm Management Groups (FMG) as well as a 30% increase in the number of FSA benchmarks. The total number of FSA verified farms now stands at above 200,000, covering 104 crops in over 40 countries and there are now 130 schemes benchmarked against the FSA.
Earlier this year, the FSA Steering Committee nominated Iver Drabaek as the new chair, following his success as interim chair for the closing months of 2021. He is joined on a newly elected Steering Committee by James Ede (Cargill), Andrew Utterback (Ingredion), Madhu Rajesh (Coca-Cola), Mike Buttenham (Grain Farmers of Ontario), Katherine Teague (AB Sugar), and Peter Spaargaren (Dohler). To support the work of the Steering Committee, the FSA has established three workstreams: Assurance, Benchmarking, and Outcome Measurement and Integration. These workstreams help to keep the FSA innovative and ensure that the system remains inclusive and responsive to users’ needs.
Taking learning points from FSA 3.0 user experiences on the ground, the FSA Steering Committee will continue to build on the strength of the programme and although deploying and calibrating FSA 3.0 is a major focus for 2022, three additional strategic priorities have been defined:
- Training: To enhance FSA learning outcomes, SAI Platform has launched the SAI Platform Academy, a new online training platform to better equip the growing number of individuals managing FSA implementation with farmers. The auditor training, which went live this week, will ensure that all FSA 3.0 audits are carried out by trained, confident auditors. The FSA user training, due to be launched later this year will prepare FSA Coordinators for important aspects of implementation as well as the additional skills they need for communicating about the FSA, preparing farmers for an FSA audit, and using the FSA for continuous improvement.
- Outcome Measurement and Integration: In response to the growing demand from users to be able to communicate around outcomes, the FSA Outcome Measurement Module will be strengthened and the team are working closely with SAI Platform’s Regenerative Agriculture Programme to ensure an integrated approach.
- Capacity building: The more farmers that use the FSA, the more attractive it is for downstream supply chain actors, and vice versa. A growing user base also drives economies of scale and system efficiencies. To ensure continued user growth and develop a growing market for FSA advisory services, an Endorsed Advisor Network will be launched to train, qualify, and endorse FSA consultants.
A key function of FSA version 3.0 and an important continuity from FSA 2.1 is the Benchmarking Programme which provides a common reference point for farm sustainability schemes, as well as a consistent approach to determine alignment. More than 100 sustainability schemes used by SAI Platform members were previously benchmarked against FSA 2.1, making it the prominent global reference for sustainable agriculture.
It is important that all schemes are re-benchmarked against FSA 3.0 before they expire on 31st October 2022. Check here for an overview of the schemes already engaged in the re-benchmarking process. If the scheme you are using is not already engaged, we strongly advise you to get in touch with your contacts at these schemes and ask them to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. This will allow them to begin the re-benchmarking process and maintain their equivalency against the FSA.
The strength of the FSA programme is a testament to the dedication and leadership of the SAI Platform membership. To learn more about how you can participate, engage, and promote the FSA programme, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at email@example.com.