Sustainable Performance Assessment 2.0 – Towards Consistent Measurement of Sustainability at Farm Level

14th April 2016

Having developed Principles and Practices for sustainable agriculture, and subsequently Farm Sustainability Assessment 2.0 to assess the level of implementation of sustainable agriculture practices in a way that is universally recognised by the food and drink industry, SAI Platform developed guidelines to measure the impact on the ground of agricultural practices. There are hundreds of calculation schemes and methods out there, so clear guidance was needed.

To that aim, SAI Platform developed Sustainable Performance Assessment, with Version 1.0 being launched in May 2012. Next, a benchmark of existing calculation tools was conducted against SPA guidelines and a shortlist of the 12 calculation tools most in line with SPA guidelines was created. A benchmark was also done with SAFA (Sustainability Assessment of Food and Agriculture systems) recently developed by FAO, which contains an elaborate set of potential quantifiable sustainability indicators. Finally, a set of animal welfare indicators (for dairy farming) was also added.

Version 2.0 of SPA was launched at the General Assembly in Seville on 3 April 2014. This report outlines choices and calculation rules for one or several computerised system(s) to measure sustainable farming in a scientifically robust, farmer-friendly and sector-consistent manner. These general rules are meant to guide software developers and designers of farm reporting tools towards more uniform assessment.

Download your free copy of SPA 2.0.

Note: These guidelines provide indicators for the measurement of environmental sustainability at farm level. For quantifiable social and economic outcome-based indicators, a discussion paper was developed and more work under way.