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New report shows that LEAF Marque businesses are leading the transition to climate-friendly farming

04 April 2021

Global sustainable farming organization, LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming), has released its latest Global Impacts Report, showing that businesses that embrace the LEAF Marque certification are delivering sustainable, climate positive farming and food to consumers.

Showcasing the achievements of its growers, the report highlights the steps being taken to meet important global targets as set out in the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the UK government’s 25 Year Environment Plan. These include reducing carbon emissions, building healthier and more productive soils, delivering better air and water quality and enhancing biodiversity.

In the UK, nearly half (45%) of all fruit and vegetables are produced sustainably by LEAF Marque certified businesses, including the majority of leeks (98%), broccoli and celery (95%) and lettuce (90%). Globally, 299,185 hectares of land is producing LEAF Marque crops with cereals and horticulture being the two largest sectors. The report also reveals continued growth in the flower and ornamental sector.

The report comes as LEAF recently launched its new 10-year strategy ahead of its 30th anniversary later this year. LEAF Marque certification forms a cornerstone of the organizations ambitions to drive change at a grassroots level by developing and demonstrating regenerative, agro-ecological farming approaches, environmental enrichment and leadership in education and engaging society - in the UK and across the globe.

LEAF Marque farmers made other climate gains:

  • 67% have one or more types of renewable energy generation on-farm and 39% use a carbon footprint tool
  • 42% routinely measure soil organic matter
  • 83% manage reservoirs for water quality, safety and wildlife
  • 84% regularly monitor animal welfare indicators
  • Average of 13% habitat area on LEAF Marque farms including hedges, ponds, habitat banks and reservoirs.

Other key biodiversity highlights from UK LEAF Marque farmers

The report also highlights the extent to which LEAF Marque farmers are boosting biodiversity and protecting natural eco systems through the creation and maintenance of:

  • 7,228,444 m of hedges (the distance from the UK to Kenya)
  • 1,062 ponds
  • 221,860 m of habitat banks (the distance from London to Sheffield)
  • 383,768 in-field trees
  • 1,999,434 m of non-hedge boundaries
  • 629 reservoirs

Launching the report, Tom Green, LEAF Marque Chairman, said

“With farmers from 21 countries worldwide being certified LEAF Marque and 45% of UK fruit and vegetables being produced on LEAF Marque farms, this report tells an encouraging story. These numbers not only recognize the management practices used on those farms and the demonstrated incremental benefits for sustainability but, critically, they also provide independent assurance to the many brands, retailers and consumers that are supplied by those producers. I would like to thank our many supply chain partners and farmers, whose commitment and leadership enables us, together, to continue to ‘raise the bar’ for the good of our planet and future generations.”

Jenny Clark, Assurance Manager, added

“The achievements of our growers outlined in this report show that LEAF Marque certification is one of the most effective frameworks for mobilizing advances in more regenerative, sustainable farming across the globe. It is accelerating incremental improvements at an individual farmer level, which, collectively, are driving profound reforms in food production.

Overwhelmingly, the message of this report is one of transformation and positive change.

I am continually inspired by the willingness of our growers to embrace change and adapt to challenges. They can be very proud of their achievements. Together with the determination of the supply chain to support forward thinking farmers, we are making real and lasting differences to addressing the climate emergency and the sustainability of the world’s farming and food systems.”

LEAF Chief Executive, Caroline Drummond, MBE, concluded

“2021 is a hugely significant year for farming and a critical year for climate action, with the UN Global Food Summit and COP26 in November. There is a real sense of the urgent need for change.

In 2012, when LEAF established its monitoring and evaluation programme, we started providing information about our impacts, growth and the economic, environmental and social benefits of achieving and maintaining LEAF Marque certification. We continue to build on that work, which helps provide the scientific foundation for the transparent and impartial evaluation of LEAF’s effectiveness in delivering our mission and vision. By working with farmers to reward and incentivise change, and with retailers and consumers to ensure a market for environmentally sustainable food, LEAF is uniquely positioned to link landscape health with people’s lives and plates. The achievements in this report recognise all farmers who are demonstrating their commitment to leading positive change and action for the climate, nature, people and the economy.”

Read the full report here, and see LEAF's 10-year strategy 2021 to 2031 "LEAF for the Future" here.



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