Friend of the Earth was founded in 2016 on the initiative of Paolo Bray, founder and director of the World Sustainability Organization, which is based in Italy and operates worldwide and whose key objective is the conservation of ecosystems.
Friend of the Earth is an international certification scheme for sustainable agriculture and breeding that has been developed within the guidelines of the Sustainability Assessment of Food and Agriculture Systems (SAFA) of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and whose principles are based on the safeguarding and protection of the entire ecosystem.
Global interest in the Friend of the Earth certification scheme has grown rapidly in recent years – we have seen a 100 percent increase in uptake from 2019 to 2020. Now over 5,000 farms, employing an estimated 50,000 farmers, have had their production, with an estimated total value of more than 1.5 billion euros, certified by Friend of the Earth.
More than 35 different agriculture and farming products have obtained our certification, ranging from fruit and vegetables to dairy, eggs, poultry and meat.
Find out about the basic principles of Friend of the Earth for sustainable agriculture and farming.
Sustainable Agriculture Questions and Definition
What is sustainable agriculture?
The basic principle of sustainable agriculture is the maintenance of a balance between the demands for food production and the preservation of our natural environment.
Sustainable agriculture is a type of farming that focuses on producing long-term crops and livestock without compromising the ability of current or future generations to meet their needs.
What is organic farming?
The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) define organic farming as a system that relies on ecosystem management, for example practices that maintain and increase long-term soil fertility using biological fertilisers such as animal wastes, rather than on external inputs, such as synthetic fertilisers and pesticides, genetically modified seeds and animals, veterinary drugs etc.
Food security is about not only the ability to produce food but also the ability to access food. Organic farmers can improve food security for people in food-insecure areas by allowing them to manage their local resources without having to rely on external inputs to food distribution systems.
Can agriculture be sustainable?
Yes – agriculture can certainly be sustainable.
Modern day practices that promote intensive, industrialised approaches to farming have an enormous footprint, causing significant damage to our natural environment such as water scarcity, land degradation, deforestation and climate change etc.
Sustainable agricultural practices promoting climate-resilient, environmentally-sustainable methods have great potential to preserve our valuable natural resources. By following simple methods such as recycling nutrients and not using agricultural chemicals, sustainable food systems can potentially enable us to feed our growing population without causing irreparable environmental change.
What are SAFA’s 5 principles of sustainable agriculture?
The Sustainability Assessment of Food and Agriculture Systems (SAFA) of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) Rome 2014 is a holistic framework developed for assessing the impact of food and agriculture operations on the environment and people.
It is targeted towards small, medium and large-scale companies, organizations and other stakeholders that participate in crop, livestock, forestry, aquaculture and fishery value chains and aims to assist the achievement of sustainable and fair practices in food and agriculture production and trade.
The guiding vision of SAFA is that global food and agriculture systems are characterised by four dimensions or principles of sustainability:
- Good governance; governance is the process of making and implementing decisions, vitally important in maintaining sustainability and covers such areas as corporate ethics, accountability, participation, rule of law and holistic management.
- Environmental integrity; maintaining life support systems is essential for human survival by minimising negative environmental impacts and fostering positive impacts. Environmental themes include atmosphere or the preservation of clean air, water, both freshwater and saltwater, land or soil resources, biodiversity, material and energy and animal welfare or the physical and psychological well-being of animals.
- Economic resilience; the healthy functioning of economies and institutions is vital in maintaining sustainability. Here principles favour the micro-economic approach, focusing on the enterprise and local community resilience in such areas as investment, vulnerability, product quality and information and local economy.
- Social well-being; social sustainability is about the satisfaction of basic human needs and the freedom to aspire to a better life. It address such issues as decent livelihood, fair trading practices, labour rights, equity, fairness and inclusiveness in the distribution of resources, human safety and health and maintaining cultural diversity.
Download here all the informative, technical and marketing documents on Friend of the Earth.