Members of the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI) Platform have developed the world’s first industry aligned Farmer Self Assessment of sustainable agriculture practices, launched at SAI Platform’s General Assembly in Seville on 3 April 2014.
Farmer Self Assessment is designed for farmers to assess their sustainable agriculture practices in a way that is universally recognised by the food and drink industry. The industry aligned set of assessment criteria for farmers meets the sustainable sourcing needs of many companies. Any farmer can complete the assessment online and it can be used for most crop types, farm sizes and locations around the world.
SAI Platform developed Farmer Self Assessment with representatives from two working groups, Arable and Vegetable Crops and Fruit, and consulted with over 20 expert organisations, including farmer organisations, retailers, procurement companies, NGOs and universities. Farmer Self Assessment, which can be completed online or in the Excel tool, has about 100 questions created from SAI Platform’s Principles and Practices which food and drink companies agree define sustainable agriculture practices. It covers environmental, economic and social sustainability.
More than 20 companies have already used Farmer Self Assessment version 1.0. Early adopters are Danone, HEINEKEN, Kellogg’s, McCain Foods, Mondelēz International, Nestlé, PepsiCo, The Coca-Cola Company, Unilever and Yakima Chief, who have tested it with their supplying farmers and/or farmer representatives. The feedback from testing version 1.0 in a variety of crops around the world has led to the improved Farmer Self Assessment 2.0, launched at the General Assembly.
Farmer Self Assessment has been benchmarked against a number of farming standards, certification schemes and company standards, and proved to be a valuable tool and reference.
Peter Erik Ywema, General Manager of SAI Platform, said: “This is a major step change for sustainable sourcing. Farmer Self Assessment will change the way the food and drink industry assesses sustainable agriculture. With the world’s leading food and drink companies aligned behind one assessment method, Farmer Self Assessment reduces the amount of assessments for farmers and supports them in improving sustainable agriculture practices.”
Rozanne Davis, Head of Ingredient Supply, innocent drinks, said: “Farmer Self Assessment is really about the theme of partnership. The complexity and depth of sustainability issues facing our planet are significant and directly impact agriculture. It is only through partnership between all stakeholders in the supply chain that we have a chance to make headway with these. SAI Platform’s Farmer Self Assessment is a great vehicle for this, uniting organisations committed to sustainable agriculture, and facilitating our farmers to assess their sustainability performance, provide a platform to highlight their progress, and then improve their sustainable farming.”
Haaye Boonstra, Sustainable Sourcing Development Manager, HEINEKEN said: “Like HEINEKEN, more and more food and drink companies will set and communicate sustainable sourcing targets. To achieve these targets Farmer Self Assessment can be used as THE reference tool for sustainable agriculture, recognized by the industry. It will simplify the process and will lead to reduced costs in the supply chain.”
Dirk Jan de With, VP Ingredients and Sustainability, Unilever, said: “We are committed to implementing Farmer Self Assessment and look to other members to do the same. We have a target of sourcing 100% of our raw agricultural materials sustainably by 2020 and we have always said that we cannot achieve this alone. We need to have this type of partnership to join up with other businesses if we are going to reach our goal. Our latest Unilever Sustainable Living Plan will be out on 28 April and we will update on Unilever’s progress then.”
SAI Platform joined forces with the International Trade Centre (ITC), the joint agency of United Nations and WTO, to develop an online tool that leverages ITC’s Standards Map website and offers a unique customized online platform for Farmer Self Assessment. As an agency of the United Nations, ITC ensures credibility, neutrality and confidentiality of results made using the tool. Users of the online Farmer Self Assessment will have the possibility to view their sustainability score, review and compare against certification standards, monitor progress over time, save their reports into a private account and decide whether and with whom to share the results.
SAI Platform, the global initiative helping food and drink companies to achieve sustainable production and sourcing of agricultural raw materials, has played a critical role in advancing sustainable agriculture worldwide. SAI Platform brings together members who share, at precompetitive level, knowledge and initiatives to support the implementation of sustainable agriculture practices. With over 50 global members collaborating with millions of farmers around the world, they have the potential to influence farming practices in every agricultural producing country.
For more information and to access Farmer Self Assessment for free, visit www.saiplatform.org/farmerselfassessment.