On March 28, 2016, the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) General Assembly unanimously approved the revised SAN Sustainable Agriculture Standard.
The SAN Standard 2016 will be published in September 2016 and will be binding for audits after July 1, 2017. This allows certification bodies and farmers in the 42 countries where the SAN/Rainforest Alliance certification system operates time for training and transition to the changes of the standard.
The revised standard recognizes that the path to true sustainability is a multi-faceted process that requires time; it is not a destination reached in one leap. This standard incorporates an innovative model centered on full compliance with a robust set of critical criteria and a series of continuous improvement requirements distributed at varying levels over time.
The revised standard is also specifically designed to deliver positive results and continuous improvements in the four impact areas defined by the SAN/Rainforest Alliance Theory of Change:
— Effective planning and management systems
— Biodiversity conservation
— Natural resource conservation
— Improved livelihoods and wellbeing
Additionally, the revised standard includes a Sustainable Cattle Production principle for cattle certification, and specific criteria for group administrators.
The process of revising the standard included extensive reviews by technical experts from NGOs, industry, social movements and academia, all of whom collaborated to amend the final content. The result is a comprehensive certification model that is innovative and at the same time maintains the leadership, credibility, trustworthiness and value demonstrated since the scheme was created almost 20 years ago.
The standard’s comprehensive revision process has taken three years and involved the contributions of hundreds of stakeholders, with thousands of comments collected through four rounds of public consultation and a series of field tests in key regions and crops. This feedback was key for SAN to develop an innovative standard, which will allow farmers to confront the increasing sustainability challenges and help mitigate the effects of climate change.
Before the official publication in September, the SAN Secretariat will calibrate the approved standard with support from producers in several key countries in which we operate.
The 2016 SAN Standard will be a powerful tool to promote good practices and sustainability on farms, effecting real changes on the ground and delivering on the SAN mission to transform agriculture into a sustainable activity, for the greater good of all.
SAN Executive Director Andre de Freitas said, “We are delighted with the results of this revision process. The 2016 SAN Standard offers the best of both worlds, keeping SAN’s high standards while at the same time bringing innovations and flexibility to support more farmers to enter into and benefit from our system. This is an incredible achievement and further demonstrates SAN’s leadership in the world of credible certification.”