Raising the bar on sustainability standards


07 October 2022
LEAF unveils latest LEAF Marque Standard.

AFTER an extensive two-year public consultation, LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) has published the latest version of its LEAF Marque Standard, including a recommended control point on the use of carbon footprinting tools.

The revisions to the Standard, which underpins the organisation’s global environmental assurance system for more sustainable, regenerative farming across all farming sectors, have been made to raise the bar on important sustainable farming issues like greenhouse gases, carbon sequestration and carbon footprinting.

Vicky Robinson, Director, Technical explained: “LEAF is a listening organisation and works hard to understand and meet evolving expectations of more regenerative farming, while maintaining a programme that is also practical, accessible and science-based. We strongly believe that this new version of the LEAF Marque Standard strikes the right balance between setting a high ambition for sustainability with the need to make sure the requirements are practical for the best performing farming businesses around the world. 

"With the ever-increasing reach of LEAF Marque both in the UK and worldwide, these changes represent extremely good news for the health of our farms, food, planet and people.” 

The new version of the Standard includes developments in the following areas:
•    Climate Resilience 
•    Landscape and nature conservation 
•    Greenhouse gases and Carbon Sequestration
•    Carbon Footprinting
•    Soil Health
•    Nutrient Management
•    Crop Health and Protection 
•    Deforestation
•    Animal Husbandry

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LEAF Marque Chairman, Tom Green said: “Third-party scrutiny and stakeholder engagement are central to our values and our commitment to respond to the constantly-evolving field of sustainable farming. By honouring this commitment, we can maintain our world-leading standards.

“The LEAF Marque Standard is continually evolving. We are proud of the revisions we have made. The farming industry is facing huge changes. Much attention is focussed on the nature of our trading relationships with other countries – both within and outside the EU, coupled with challenges around climate change, population growth, resource protection, market volatility and increasing political uncertainties.”    

He said these are issues shared by growrs across the globe. 

Since its launch in 2003, LEAF Marque has provided an independent, third-party mechanism recognising and rewarding good sustainable farming practice. It currently operates in 19 countries and is used by leading UK retailers and food brands including Waitrose, Tesco, Lidl, M&S, Jordans and Quaker Oats. In the UK, 48% of fruit and vegetables are grown on LEAF Marque certified businesses.  

The two-year public consultation involved a broad range of stakeholders including LEAF members, farmers, scientists, environmental organisations, government bodies, commercial partners and members of the public.

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