GlobalG.A.P. experts at Fruit Logistica presented the company’s updated farm assurance products for the fresh produce industry in a press conference titled “Our Smart Path to Sustainability.” Fruit Logistica is hosted annually in Berlin, Germany, and is the world’s leading trade show for the fresh produce industry.
Panelists at the press conference included GlobalG.A.P. representatives Guy Callebaut (Chairman of the Advisory Board), Dr. Kristian Moeller (Managing Director), Dr. Rene Capote (Senior Technical Expert); along with Lorna T. Shikongo-Kuvare, General Manager: Regulations of the Namibian Agronomic Board (NAB); Jinhong Wu, Chairman of China Ants Alliance (CAA); Prof. Dr. Horst Lang, Head of QA, OSH and Environmental Issues of Globus; Jorge Sanchez, General Manager of Nicoverde; and Manuel Olaechea, COO of Sun Fruits.
IFA v6: Sustainability in focus
These panelists highlighted version 6 of GlobalG.A.P.’s flagship Integrated Farm Assurance (IFA) standard. This new version remains closely aligned with international frameworks such as the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, and includes simpler, more focused, and smarter technology-based sustainability solutions that draw on 25+ years of experience in the field.
Though sustainability has always formed an integral part of the IFA standard, version 6 features updated environmental principles, and criteria in areas such as energy efficiency, eutrophication risk mitigation, and input optimization. It also adopts an outcome-oriented approach that focuses on results rather than prescriptive requirements, giving producers of fruits and vegetables greater flexibility to demonstrate compliance.
SPRING and BioDiversity: Add-ons targeting sustainability
GlobalG.A.P. panelists also discussed the BioDiversity add-on to the IFA standard, showcasing the company’s recent approaches to sustainability in fruit and vegetable production around the world. Producers assessed to GlobalG.A.P.’s BioDiversity add-on can demonstrate their biodiversity management practices through an action plan, farm-specific biodiversity protection and restoration measures, and water and soil management practices. The add-on is being piloted since last year in Europe among fruit and vegetable producers.
“Biodiversity loss poses an existential threat to our ecosystems,” explains Philipp Wagnitz, Director of Ecology & Responsible Products at Lidl International. “In 2022, GlobalG.A.P., Lidl, and other partners developed the BioDiversity add-on to address biodiversity-related risks and drive change in European fruit and vegetable supply chains. We are proud that more than 240 producers in Greece, Italy, Poland, and Spain have already been successfully assessed, and many more are in the process of getting there. Preserving biodiversity is an important task for all companies. We are convinced that the BioDiversity add-on is an approach to scale up efforts in the production of fruits, vegetables, and potentially other crops.”
The BioDiversity add-on is attracting attention outside Europe as well. In a virtual session of the panel, Jorge Sanchez, General Manager at Nicoverde, described a successful pilot project using the add-on in Costa Rica.
In addition, panelists at the press conference discussed the SPRING add-on, which is of special relevance to producers of water-intensive fruits and vegetables (like avocados, tomatoes, cucumbers, and others), who often produce their crops in regions with challenges in water availability and water quality.
Producers from around the world have shown strong enthusiasm for this add-on and for the ways it has helped them maximize the efficient use of limited water resources. “SPRING has helped us protect our water sources and properly monitor our water consumption,” said Manuel Olaechea of Sun Fruits Exports of Peru, a producer of grapes, avocados, and other fruits.
GGN label: Strong adoption in the produce sector
GlobalG.A.P. representatives also discussed advancements of the GGN label for the fresh fruit and vegetables product range, including its first pilot in the Japanese market. This consumer-facing label for products from IFA-certified farms is gaining traction in the fruits and vegetables sector in Asia and will be introduced in its new form by the Japanese retailer AEON. The press conference further mentioned how the Chinese Ant Alliance (CAA), a well-known produce wholesaler, has expressed interest in introducing the GGN label in their member stores in China. Adoption of the GGN label by such a trading powerhouse would be a strong statement of the value producers, and consumers find in the assurance and transparency it provides.
Globus, represented at the press conference by Prof. Dr. Lang, was the first to adopt the GGN label in Germany for aquaculture, and is now also the first to offer fruit and vegetable products bearing the GGN label. It will be extremely important for Globus to move forward since it allows each product to be traced back to its producer.
“Transparency has always been a priority for Globus when it comes to sourcing raw materials. The GGN label makes certified, responsible farming within the fruit and vegetable supply chain visible to consumers! This is a major step forward in our communication with our customers, really making farm to fork visible!”, states Prof. Dr. Lang, Head of QA, OSH and Environmental Issues of Globus.
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