In 2007, Scientific Certification Systems sponsored a Draft Trial Standard for Agricultural Sustainability through the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). This Draft Trial Standard was hotly debated and viewed by many as unworkable. In fairly short order, the Leonardo Group (a charitable organization that facilitates the development of national voluntary standards) announced the development of a multi-stakeholder process to develop a proposed National Standard for Agricultural Sustainability. Led by a Standards Committee, the Draft Trial Standard was set aside and interested parties began the work of developing a proposal from scratch. This process has been controversial and time consuming, and many of the agricultural organizations originally engaged have not been able to sustain ongoing attention to the new National Sustainable Agriculture Standard (LEO-4000) Draft, which is now published for review and comment through March 6th.
The objective of the initiative is “to establish a comprehensive, continuous improvement framework and common set of economic, environmental and social metrics by which to determine whether an agricultural crop has been produced and handled in a sustainable manner.” Find more information about the Draft efforts to date, how to participate in web-based discussion groups and informational webinars, by visiting the Leonardo Academy’s Sustainable Ag Standard website. While the standard is “voluntary” there are market place implications for such a standard and Western Growers members are encouraged to learn more about the Draft; provide comments and submit a ballot before the deadline on March 6, 2014.
Western Growers also encourages members to raise issues comments or concerns with Hank Giclas prior to the deadline so that WG can reflect member concern accurately as Leonardo moves forward on this project.
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