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Thomas Redick


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"Emerging Sustainability Standards"

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Thomas Redick

  1. 1. Illinois Soybean Association July 24, 2012 Chicago IL Thomas P. RedickGlobal Environmental Ethics Counsel, LLC
  2. 2.  ANSI Leonardo/SCS standards tilt to organic model. The Sustainability Consortium – Univ of Arkansas based, seeking input from producers  Major food and ag companies paying $50,000 to play  Now seeking more grower input without paying $10,000? NRDC Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops:  Technology neutral, but very few biotech crops in specialty (squash, sweet corn in small amounts – apples on way?)  Grower participation/data quality a barriers - “value proposition” needed to get growers to fill out forms, disclose  New round of funding from UDSA $761k, 10/2011-9/2013 National Initiative on Sustainable Agriculture (NISA)
  3. 3.  “Keystone Field to Market” for commodities in pilots  Bunge N. America -- Nebraska  Syngenta – Mississippi Basin WWF Sustainability standards are all “Roundtables”, e.g.:  Industry, NGOs, Retailers, Producers – balanced  Crop-specific – otherwise too complex Healthy Grown Potato (Wisconsin) – shelf space? RT Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)  UK Green marketing law invalidated it RT Responsible Soy – first sale to Unilever 2011  EU RED recognizes it for certifying producers
  4. 4.  Jason Clay “freeze the footprint of food” via top food companies cutting impacts but double production.  Global Harvest Initiative (  Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (  “21st Century technology allows faster selection.” Food companies are all cutting energy usage, water, waste and want their supply chain to follow along  Unilever: 100% of agricultural inputs “sustainable” and reduce footprint via LCA by 50%, but double revenue.  Unilever, Nutreco and Rabobank will “bundle” carbon  Kelloggs commits to 15% reductions – supply chain next to reap the same “low hanging fruit”
  5. 5.  Wal-Mart environmental goals:  100 percent renewable energy  Reach “zero” waste  Sustainable packaging Wal-Mart “sustainability index” reaches overseas  Sustainable seafood requirements drove South American changes in fisheries practices  Chinese small producers signed up to meet index Do not fall into the 5% that fail to meet the supply specification du jour that takes 5 years to sort out!
  6. 6.  EU Renewable energy directive – ADM touting compliance Japan/UK “Voluntary” Carbon contracts on more products UK Green Marketing Law & US FTC “Green Guides” Liability Asian soy crushers starting to ask US soy to prove it is sustainable
  7. 7.  USDA uses voluntary support (WTO “green box”) for environmental measures  Crop insurance? Report annually (erosion etc.)  Energy Efficiency audits using ANSI standard (ASABE)  Funding innovation in agri-environmental management.  House Farm Bill may cut these programs Environmental Protection Agency role  Funding - e.g., Lodi Wine Group grant for integrated pest mgt on pesticides  Clean Water act – Trading credits with factories, dairies etc.
  8. 8.  Specialty & Commodity  US has “Keystone Field to Market” for commodities,  Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops etc.  Sustainability Consortium still figuring out its path  Production contracts allow tracing to farm “Precautionary Agriculture” (Organic/EU/UN)  Plenty of Food, Poor distribution, African political strife  ANSI Leonardo/SCS standards tilt to organic model  Rainforest Alliance, EU’s “SAI”, Global GAP  UN “Agroecology” & “Livestock’s Long Shadow” don’t mix --- “natural” nutrients start with emitting animals Organic model needs protection from “GMO” mix-in?
  9. 9.  USDA regulatory overhaul segregated RR beets pending final approval. US Litigation about coexistence  National Env. Policy Act (NEPA) injunctions  Nuisance-Negligence liability under common law Overseas Regulatory Moves Hitting US Producers: State “nonGMO” zones, at home and abroad  West Coast – CA , OR, WA, BC (Canada)  EU cities and Austria etc.
  10. 10.  Area planted worldwide increased by 10%+ each year over last 15 years Pockets of resistance in the EU and markets that depend on it (Africa)  NonGM zones pop up in EU, US and Latin America  More EU nations banning planting of biotech corn Four California counties votes to go Non GMO
  11. 11. Hey, man, don’t ban my biotech marijuana! 2005 snapshot  Brown are Marin, Trinity, Mendocino No thanks, we  Add Santa Cruz ’06 like GMOs!  All the rest – No way! B.t. corn is Community standards for safer for nuisance can be statutory livestock! Industry stopped NonGM in production ag counties VT backed down from its seed purity law and cannot pass bio-liability
  12. 12.  Borrowing from “Non-GM” zone movement, standards bar biotech (genetically modified, “GM”)  US Green Building Counsel unfortunately may be adopting anti-GM FSC standard just as biotech trees show up on scene?  Rainforest Alliance sustainable ag standard anti-GMO Tech-neutral WWF RT on Responsible Soybeans (S.America)  Non-GMO grower must maintain buffer in GM area  Unless local law or practice requires segregation of GM RT Sustainable Biofuels – Technology neutral now. Global GAP – similar requirement to prevent migration. Also considering whether this should apply in US, Canada, (Arg. too?)
  13. 13. “Precautionary Approach” applied to all ag? Precaution keeps benefits from market for testing hypothesis after hypothesis, using “weight of evidence” analysis  Reduced agricultural chemicals, mycotoxins, positive increase in soil etc. are well documented benefit of biotech crops  Organic crops cannot do “no till” conservation tillage Organic “mycotoxin risk” under-estimated?  B.t. corn reduces in some well-documented studies  Latin American mothers and babies paying for ignorance Balanced approach applies precaution to organic too.
  14. 14. Life Cycle Analysis Standards – Which method wins,and where? Is Organic ag more sustainable? Most organic crops cannot do “no till” – need biotech crops, herbicides UK Prof. cites “lower yield” + “limited biodiversity benefit” of organic farming. Not “sustainable” or “best/only agriculture”. Not enough manure to go around, making organic approaches a niche market – even when governments legislate organic in 25% of farms (e.g., Sweden) More fuel used to get same yield  Tilling weeds uses more tractor passes across a field, and more fuel  Energy use of laborers, more of whom are required,  Residue in no-till is a “skin” or solid surface that will support tractor/ sprayer wheels in wet field – in and out quicker, more reliable yields. “Halo” effect of B.t. crops benefits nearby organic corn. Organic consumers always an elite minority?
  15. 15.  2007 - California judge stopped Roundup Ready Alfalfa 2009 -- California judge stopped Roundup Ready Sugar Beets on same basic “protect nonGMO” theory 2010 – US Supreme Court rules on RR Alfalfa  No Nationwide Injunctions!  USDA must contain “contamination” using partial approval 2011 – USDA approves RR Sugar Beets partial planting (not in parts of California, Oregon etc. -West Coast seed production). Bottom Line – middle path through AOSCA and other certifiers of seed purity – coexistence possible, but not cheap.
  16. 16.  2008 Farm Bill encouraged specialty crops, funding energy audits etc. and ordered USDA to overhaul biotech regs. USDA overdue in mandate to revise regs, under pressure to expand authority beyond “plant pests” to regulation “other effects” of “noxious weeds”. USDA formed AC21 committee to advise it on coexistence (again) which might find common ground. U.S. industry, courts establish “due care” for commingling at low levels (“LLP” or “AP” ), but EU has “zero tolerance” which complicates exporting