GS1 shares its standards for sustainable farming with the United Nations
Governments, farmers and businesses collaborate to develop economic, social and environmentally sustainable agriculture
London, 06 October 2015 – GS1 CEO and President, Miguel Lopera, was a featured panellist during the UN General Assembly SDG Summit in New York on 28 September, where he shared ways that technology and big data can be used by the public and private sectors to collaborate and promote sustainable farming practices within the agriculture industry. Developing safe and sustainable farming approaches to address food security is a top priority of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
GS1, a neutral, not-for-profit, global organisation that develops and maintains the most widely-used supply chain standards system in the world, is part of a collective effort to map and harmonise hundreds of disparate standards and certifications related to sustainable farming. The effort, known as The Blue Number Initiative, A Global Registry for Sustainable Farmers, will leverage GS1’s registry service. The registry will enable farmers, governments, businesses and communities to communicate with one another up and down the supply chain by establishing a common language and uniquely identifying farms globally.
Using GS1 Global Location Numbers (GLNs), the registry assigns one single identifier to each farm – no matter how big or small the farm is – to define the individual farm location. The registry also maps to each farm’s respective sustainability certifications. This paves the way for smaller farmers in developing countries to be recognised for sustainable practices, opening up potential markets and allowing them to become more visible and active participants in the global food supply chain.
“There is a mind shift occurring at the multinational level with companies setting goals around responsible sourcing,” Mr. Lopera explained. “Multinationals are increasingly purchasing from a global food supply chain looking beyond cost, quality and consistent supply. To accomplish responsible sourcing, they are seeking far greater visibility upstream in the global food supply chain – all the way to the farmers growing the raw materials – to select trading partners who operate ethically and responsibly.”
“Consumers are also increasingly demanding more information about what is in their food and beverages. More and more, they want to know what is certified organic and sustainably farmed,” continued Mr. Lopera. “The registry is an excellent foundation for giving consumers far greater visibility about the products they view on grocery shelves. This will help them make informed purchase decisions about ingredients certified organic, sustainably farmed, and fair trade.”
The registry also lays important groundwork for policy makers in developing countries to access accurate granular and big data statistics. “Governments will have far greater visibility to look at geolocated data—for example, crop production by specific region, the surrounding infrastructure and certification measures. They will therefore be better positioned to make more informed policy decisions that boost production while also steering resources and training towards sustainable farming practices,” he added.
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About GS1 UK
GS1 UK is a community of over 28,000 members working in retail, foodservice, healthcare and more. GS1 UK is one of 112 independent, not-for-profit GS1 organisations operating across 150 countries worldwide. GS1 UK helps everyone involved in making, moving and trading goods, automate and standardise their supply chain processes using the common language of GS1 global standards.
About the UN General Assembly SDG Summit Week Side Session SDG2
The summit discussed ways to end hunger, achieve food security and improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture as a global development priority. Achieving this goal will mean empowering farmers by strengthening their position economically, socially and technically within national contexts. Strong and viable farming communities supported by domestic SMEs are the foundation of robust local and global food supply and value chains.
This two-session event reviewed how empowering grower-communities advances national food security and promotes sustainable agriculture. Built on the Food and Agriculture Business Principles framework, the sessions introduced a global registry for actors contributing to food security, and focused on how business is working to help governments deliver food security policy in the ASEAN region.
The event was co-organized by the International Trade Centre, a joint agency of the UN and WTO, and the UN Global Compact in association with Women in Parliament and other partners. More information about the summit is available here.
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