Experts from GLOBALG.A.P. unveiled a comprehensive range of new sustainable solutions at the horticulture trade fair IPM ESSEN, the world’s leading trade fair for horticulture. Climate change and sustainability were major themes at this year’s trade fair, setting the stage for representatives from GLOBALG.A.P. to share the updated sustainability solutions.
GLOBALG.A.P. representatives introduced IPM attendees to the new version of GLOBALG.A.P.’s widely used Integrated Farm Assurance (IFA) standard – IFA v6. This version includes new and updated principles and criteria in the key areas of environmental sustainability and workers’ well-being. Published in late 2022, IFA v6 draws on over 20 years of experience in the field and was developed through extensive consultation with stakeholders around the world.
IFA v6 remains closely aligned with international frameworks such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and features updated environmental principles and criteria in areas such as energy efficiency, eutrophication risk mitigation, and input optimization.
GLOBALG.A.P. expert Alexandre Garcia-Devís Flores also informed IPM attendees about important updates to the GLOBALG.A.P. Risk Assessment on Social Practice (GRASP) version 2, a farm-level social/labour management tool for global supply chains that producers can voluntarily add to the IFA standard. “GRASP v2 contains much more efficient principles and criteria for forced labour risk indicators, the protection of human rights, and potential exposure to worker discrimination,” Flores explained. “The principles and criteria in GRASP were adapted to the reality of migrant labour flows, short-term contracting, and subcontracted labor risks. Producers now have access to better processes to provide social compliance to complicated labour resources. GRASP can now be applied to small family farms without hired labour. This opens up the opportunity for smallholders to participate in the international market.”
GRASP assesses producers in four main areas of special interest to retailers and consumers of horticultural products: workers’ voice, human and labour rights information, human and labor rights indicators, and child and young workers protection. 2022 saw over 110,000 producers with GRASP certification employing more than 1.7 million agricultural workers worldwide. GRASP v2 was released in September 2022 and will become obligatory on 1 January 2024.
GLOBALG.A.P. also highlighted the Impact-Driven Approach to Sustainability (IDA) add-on at IPM ESSEN. The IDA add-on can be a valuable tool for helping producers develop informed strategies to constantly improve their sustainability. Producers use the tool to collect and manage data on inputs such as energy, water, plant protection products, nitrogen, and phosphorus. They then share their farm data with GLOBALG.A.P., which processes it and returns it in the form of personalized trend graphs and progress reports. These reports show producers how they compare to similar (anonymous) producers in terms of input consumption, and help to identify areas for ongoing improvement.
GLOBALG.A.P. experts at IPM ESSEN shared information about the new GGN label category fruit and vegetable plants in pots. Fruit and vegetable plants in pots are a special case as they are primarily produced by flowers and ornamentals growers and traded in the floriculture supply chain under the general category of “plants”. However, the products themselves – such as vegetable plants, fruit trees, berry bushes, and herbs – are classified under the product category fruit and vegetables (under the IFA v6 standard), with additional food safety considerations.
For the GGN label to be used on fruit and vegetable plants in pots, producers must have a fully compliant GRASP assessment and supply chain members must have GLOBALG.A.P. Chain of Custody certification. While fruit and vegetable producers participating in the GGN label initiative are required to take part in a GLOBALG.A.P. approved residue monitoring system, this is only necessary for fruit and vegetable plants in pots if the plants are edible or bear edible parts at the time of sale.
The first fruit and vegetable plants in pots with a GGN label are projected to be available in stores beginning spring 2023.