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SAN, Rainforest Alliance Update Certification with Focus on Climate-Smart Ag, Curbing Deforestation

Coffee in Costa Rica. | Image copyright of Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN), used with permission.

The Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) and the Rainforest Alliance announced today a newly revised certification standard, which encompasses existing best practices and recent innovations in sustainable agriculture. Built around the guiding principles of effective farm planning and management, protection of biodiversity and natural resources, and improved livelihoods, the 2017 SAN Standard is designed to enable more producers to embark and then continually progress on their journey toward sustainable farming.

Among the changes, climate-smart agricultural practices, a “Continuous Improvement Framework,” stricter human rights requirements, and a more rigorous framework for integrated pest management and the safe use of pesticides have been built into the new standard. These measures are expected to help farmers address climate change risks, generate time-bound investments and improvements in water quality, waste management, soil conservation, working conditions, living wages, and other key elements of sustainability, and eliminate the use of 150 substances in addition to strict regulations for another 170 substances.

Andre de Freitas
will discuss
the future of certification
at SB'16 Copenhagen
New Metrics '16

A key goal of the 2017 SAN Standard is to reduce forest conversion for agriculture, the leading cause of deforestation, especially in the tropics. Forest protection was previously mandatory for Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms, and the SAN Standard has prohibited conversion of natural ecosystems since the beginning of 2015 and the destruction of “high conservation value” ecosystems since November 2005. The new standard reinforces these protection measures.

“I have always believed that if we want to protect the world’s forests, we must strengthen our commitment to work with the world’s farmers,” said Nigel Sizer, the Rainforest Alliance’s recently appointed president. “The 2017 SAN Standard honors that commitment. This standard aims to further our work in climate-smart agriculture and advances our mission to keep forests standing and communities thriving.”

The 2017 SAN Standard results from an extensive revision process involving multiple stakeholders such as farmers, NGOs, companies, scientific and technical experts; a series of open public consultations; and field-testing in key regions. The new standard was developed according to the Code of Good Practice for Setting Social and Environmental Standards of the ISEAL Alliance, the global association for sustainability standards whose mission is to strengthen sustainability standards for the benefit of people and the environment.

“One of the most exciting aspects of the 2017 SAN Standard is that it combines a very high level and ambitious standard covering human rights, environmental, and production issues with a scaled implementation approach designed to make it more accessible to the many farmers in the world who are still in the early steps in their journey towards sustainability,” said Andre de Freitas, executive director of SAN.

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