Auditing a group of smallholders in Zambia.
Photos: FSS Project


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Although more and more agricultural goods that are produced in food insecure countries are certified, most sustainability standards do not specially address food security and the Human Right to Adequate Food. The “Food Security Standard” aims to close this gap. It has recently been tested in five pilot countries with different crops in plantations and smallholder settings in Asia, Latin America and Africa – with promising results.

With the shift from petroleum-based to bio-based economies, the international demand for agricultural commodities is growing. More and more biomass is needed for food, feed, energy and industrial purposes, leading to increasing competition between the different uses. This can have adverse impacts on food security in biomass-producing countries, for example through agricultural production for exportation and local food production competing for land and water and through labour exploitation, environmental pollution or unfair labour contracts.
Consumers and civil society in Europe are becoming more concerned about the environmental and social impacts that imported products have had in their countries of origin. In the last two decades, voluntary sustainability standards addressing concerns regarding the environmental and social sustainability of agricultural commodities have proliferated, although with great differences in the scope of sustainability and feedstock types. While some focus on a specific commodity such as the Cotton Made in Africa Standard or the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), others refer to multiple crops such as the International Sustainability & Carbon Certification Standard (ISCC) or the Rainforest Alliance.

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