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SAI Launches First Farmer Self-Assessment for Sustainable Agriculture

Image credit: Wikimedia

PepsiCo, Unilever, Heineken and more than 50 other members of the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI) Platform have developed the world’s first industry-aligned Farmer Self-Assessment (FSA) of sustainable agriculture practices, launched earlier this month at SAI Platform’s General Assembly in Seville, Spain.

The FSA is designed for farmers to assess their sustainable agriculture practices in a way that is universally recognized by the food and drink industry, SAI says. 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.

Members of The Cool Farm Institute (CFI) — including the above-mentioned companies, along with Marks & Spencer, Tesco, Yara and Fertilizers Europe — also recently spearheaded the development of an online tool to help farmers assess and improve the environmental and economic performance of their businesses.

SAI Platform developed the FSA with representatives from two working groups — Arable and Vegetable Crops and Fruit — and consulted with over 20 expert organizations, including farmer organizations, retailers, procurement companies, NGOs and universities. The Farmer Self-Assessment, which can be completed online or in Excel, has roughly 100 questions created from SAI Platform’s Principles and Practices and covers environmental, economic and social sustainability.

SAI says more than 20 companies — including Danone, Heineken, Kellogg’s, McCain Foods, Mondelez International, Nestlé, PepsiCo, The Coca-Cola Company, Unilever and Yakima Chief — have already tested version 1.0 of the FSA on a variety of crops with their supplying farmers and/or farmer representatives. The feedback has led to the improved Farmer Self-Assessment 2.0, launched at the General Assembly. SAI says the FSA has been benchmarked against a number of farming standards, certification schemes and company standards, and proved to be a valuable tool and reference.

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 the Farmer Self-Assessment. As an agency of the United Nations, the ITC ensures credibility, neutrality and confidentiality of results made using the tool. FSA users can 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.

In December, SAI Platform published a Green Coffee Carbon Footprint Product Category Rule (CFP-PCR), providing the first CPR for the calculation of GHG emissions from coffee production. The Green Coffee CFP-PCR was initiated by SAI Platform’s Coffee Working group members, including illycaffé, Nestlé, Tchibo, Mondelez and Lavazza, and standard-setting bodies 4C, Fairtrade International, Rainforest Alliance and UTZ Certified, in collaboration with the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH). SAI Platform said the Rule will standardize the application of GHG emissions calculations by reducing differences between individual studies and products, and harmonizing methodological approaches.


Based in San Francisco, Mike Hower is a sustainability strategist and storyteller on Edelman's Business + Social Purpose team where he works with some of the world's leading brands on corporate sustainability strategy and stakeholder engagement. With several years of… [Read more about Mike Hower]


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