The Sustainable Rice Platform National Interpretation Guideline (NIG) for the U.S.A. Achieves Silver Level Equivalence with Farm Sustainability Assessment

2nd March 2021

The Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Platform (SAI Platform), alongside USA Rice, is pleased to announce the outcome of a benchmarking effort between the Sustainable Rice Platform’s (SRP) National Interpretation Guideline for the U.S.A. (U.S. SRP) and SAI Platform’s Farm Sustainability Assessment (FSA). U.S. SRP is recognized as equivalent to FSA Version 2.1 at Silver level, in combination with U.S. Federal legislation.

This means that U.S.  rice farmers complying with the SRP NIG for the U.S.A. can now also be recognised as FSA silver equivalent and contribute to FSA users sustainable sourcing targets. Moreover, by-products derived from supply chains verified under the SRP Assurance Scheme can now also be sold as FSA silver equivalent.

Commenting on the benchmarking, Dr Wyn Ellis, SRP Executive Director stated: “We appreciate our collaboration with USA Rice and SAI Platform in establishing equivalence with the U.S. interpretation of the SRP Standard. This benchmarking adds value for U.S. rice farmers while contributing to SRP’s global efforts towards sustainable value chains in the global rice sector.”

SAI Platform’s FSA is the result of industry collaboration, facilitating assessment and communication of on-farm sustainability performance and benchmarking of existing standards. The benchmarking process involves scoring against 112 FSA questions as well as a consistency check by a SAI Platform-approved independent benchmarking expert.

“This benchmark enables farmers to clearly understand the global sustainability ask from buyers, as well as empowering supply chain partners to harmonize and simplify how sustainability is communicated through the supply chain.” said Nick Betts, Americas Director, SAI Platform. “This is an important step that enables the growers of over 184 million cwt of rice in the U.S. to demonstrate their practices with a broad global industry reference for sustainable production.”

To learn more about the results of the benchmarking, users can access scoring for benchmarked standards under “Benchmark Equivalency Overview” on the FSA Resource Centre.

The Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP) program, including assessment tools, performance indicators, claims, logos and labels, is now available in the U.S. To learn more about the SRP NIG for the U.S. and how to participate, program information can be found on the Sustainable Rice Platform for the U.S. website.

About SAI Platform and the FSA

The Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Platform is a global membership association for the food and drink industry. The Farm Sustainability Assessment (FSA) is one of SAI Platform’s industry solutions to drive sustainability. It is focused on 17 sustainability themes that enable understanding, continuous improvement and communication of environmental, social and economic sustainability on-farm. Beside the use as an on-farm assessment and improvement tool, the FSA is used to benchmark standards and certification schemes, enabling farmers easier access and communication of their sustainability achievements across the supply chain. The FSA is an industry reference point for sustainable sourcing.

About SRP and the National Interpretation Guidelines for the U.S.A.

The Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP) is a global multi‐stakeholder alliance of over 100 institutional members from public, private, research, civil society and the financial sector.  The SRP initiative was originally co‐convened by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH (GIZ) and is now an independent member association. 

SRP works with partners to transform the global rice sector by improving smallholder livelihoods, reducing the social, environmental and climate footprint of rice production; and by offering the global rice market an assured supply of sustainably produced rice.

The SRP Standard for Sustainable Rice Cultivation is the world’s first voluntary sustainability standard for rice, covering all farm-level processes in rice production, including post-harvest processes under the farmer’s control. SRP National Interpretation Guidelines allow tailoring of requirements under the global SRP Standard to specific geographies and regulatory contexts, while ensuring consistency of claims across countries. A National Interpretation Guideline for use of the SRP Standard in U.S.A. was developed by Winrock International and released in 2020, funded through grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Entergy Foundation.