The Farm Sustainability Assessment is a widely recognised framework for on-farm sustainability with strong backing from the global food & drinks industry.
FSA implementation is increasing worldwide, with users appreciating the opportunities it brings to effectively engage with upstream supply chain partners and farmers. The FSA also remains uniquely positioned as a trusted benchmark for more local, crop-specific and proprietary systems for on-farm sustainability.
SAI Platform is developing a new version of the FSA to become even more effective in driving continuous improvement in on-farm sustainability. Via means of a consultative process, SAI Platform members and experts are creating additions and improvements to the FSA. This update informs members and key stakeholders on the road ahead for FSA 3.0 and how to get involved.
The FSA version 3.0 is to be launched in June 2020 will allow users to promote on-farm sustainability and achieve their sustainability objectives using the latest insights. Based on a review of trends and user needs, the member-based FSA 3.0 Guidance Committee has recommended high-level improvements to the current FSA. Development will focus on further strengthening the FSA’s ability to drive relevant and demonstrable continuous improvement of on-farm social, environmental and business performance through supply chain collaboration and fostering a common understanding of sustainable crop agriculture.
Lead recommendations for developing FSA 3.0
- Introduce Priority Screening
Develop an easy-to-use screening tool to identify sustainability priorities in relation to the crop and the farming context. Priority Screening will help farmers and supply chain companies to better focus their attention and efforts on the most relevant sustainability issues.
- Revise FSA Questionnaire
Make it easier to understand and use the FSA Questionnaire and ensure that it is built on the latest science and consensus about sustainable farming.
- Strengthen role of Continuous Improvement Plans
Develop clear requirements and/or guidance for having a Continuous Improvement Plan in place at Farm Management Group level (or at farm level for stand-alone farms). This will provide a baseline for making and tracking progress over time.
- Introduce possibility of progress measurement
Develop effective ways of measuring progress over time that include progress data beyond practice level. Scope out possibilities for outcome reporting and metric reporting as part of this development.
- Recognise efforts and excellence
Establish a mechanism to acknowledge credible commitments of farmers performing below the FSA bronze level but are still working to improve their on-farm sustainability performance. Develop a structure to better acknowledge excellence in promoting on-farm sustainability by farmers.
- Update user guidance materials and tools
Improve user guidance materials and tools to make it easier and more effective to work with the FSA, and to include the new elements in FSA 3.0. This includes written and recorded materials, as well as the FSA Web App and other online tools.
- Enhance FSA assurance models
Review and improve the models used in the FSA to provide assurance of on-farm sustainability performance, including the approach to FSA verification assessments and benchmarking.
- Secure and expand FSA user support
Create a robust and scalable model to respond to the growing support needs when using FSA tools and to achieve on-farm sustainability targets.
All recommendations will be further developed and tested by February 2020. SAI Platform aims to develop FSA 3.0 through a transparent process and will actively reach out for feedback throughout its development.
SAI Platform will run several member and stakeholder consultations as well as focus group discussions over the course of this development phase. Keep an eye out for announcements and feel free to reach out to SAI Platform at any time. Announcements will be posted in the FSA Community of Practice LinkedIn group and on the SAI Platform website.
There will be an FSA 3.0 Consultation Meeting in connection to the SAI Platform Annual Event in Chicago, USA. The event will take place on Friday 28 June from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Let us know if you’re coming by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org