Consumers are continuing to be more interested in how their food is grown, processed and brought to market. The international agricultural industry is implementing sustainable sourcing programs and the industry in Alberta and Canada will need to keep pace with these changes. This new normal has programs appearing at a fevered pace. Many of these programs benchmark their standard against the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI) Platform’s Farmer Sustainability Assessment. Luckily for those holding an up-to-date Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) in Alberta the administrative burden will be reduced and the opportunities increased.
Understanding sustainability from a global perspective
Currently, Alberta EFP is benchmarked against SAI Platforms Farm Sustainability Assessment (FSA) 2.1 and will soon be benchmarked to the latest version FSA 3.0. The FSA 3.0 is a series of questions that farmers can answer and understand how they stack up against similar farms around the world. According to SAI :
“As of 2021, the FSA has been implemented in more than 43 countries with 126 different crops grown by an estimated 200,000 farmers. The FSA Self-Assessment Questionnaire is broadly applicable to many different cropping systems and geographic contexts and is available in 11 different languages.”
It is important to note that the FSA 3.0 was created by the SAI Platform - an organization of major customers of the agriculture industry worldwide. Many of these corporations such as Unilever, Danone and Nestle have their own inhouse sustainability mandates that dictate how they purchase agricultural products. With these major purchasers placing significant priority on sustainable sourcing, it is clear that leadership on sustainability is found at all levels of the industry.
Defining and aligning sustainability benchmarks
Sustainability can be assessed in several ways, but the SAI uses three pillars of sustainability- the People, Planet and Profit model. The Alberta EFP program has a clear focus on the environment and sustainability. Alberta producers with an EFP are able to reach significant global standards of silver and with the updating of our workbook, soon to be gold. Not only are these farmers able to achieve these levels but the process to get there is significantly streamlined. Ultimately this will help EFP holders increase market access at home and abroad.
Clearing a path for the future of agriculture in Alberta on a global scale
The EFP has an added feature to our platform where industry groups and agribusiness can take advantage of this program to be able to make a claim of FSA Silver. This addition is called the EFP+, which includes an extra chapter for those farmers part of an established Farm Management Group.
For more information on completing or renewing an Environmental Farm Plan click here.