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Certification as a tool to reduce
administrative burdens and foster
sustainability
Krijn Poppe
TECHNICAL WORKSHOP ON SUSTAINABILITY - DG Agri February 15, 2024
Content
The need for action in climate and biodiversity – and the
need for a food system approach
The opportunity to use the CAP more effectively in eco-
schemes with KPI and certification
The food chain and certification
Design criteria for KPI (key performance indicators)
 Why is certification a good tool ?
 Administrative burden
Extensions: eco-score
Practical example for CAP-post 2027
Conclusions
A French/Dutch farmer (last week):
 If we want a day off and somebody else to look after the farm, we have to have a DUERP
document of 20 pages on risk management. It takes a obligatory 2 days training to create
the document and a discussion of the document with each worker hired for a day.
 After the harvest of triticale you have to seed a cover crop before August 15. In dry
circumstances a derogation is sometimes possible, but has to be requested
 Every year we have to fill in a form that we are not an extremist and that our fertiliser will
not be sold to terrorists.
 Within a week after the birth of a calve, a tissue sample has to be taken and tested
 Milking machines, spraying machines and now also machines with hydraulics have to be
independently checked every 6 months. This asks experts to come to the farm for a half
day inspection which they do per type of machine.
“Each of these measures is understandable, but the total is just too much””
© Ellen-Maureen Colpa on Foodlog, a Dutch website forum
This is not a good basis for adding more KPI on emissions in eco-schemes
The need for action – and for a food system
approach
 The public challenge changes from even lower food prices to climate and
biodiversity. Need for climate adaptation is a strong reality in farming
 Farmers are willing to undertake action but:
 * many struggle in a thread`-mill of higher labour cost – more investments for labour
productivity – scale increase – lack of affordable extra land >> every twenty years the
number of farms halves (and this will not stop next 20 years, whatever the policy)
 * Farmers are price-takers. Prices are a result of (fluctuating) supply and demand. Higher
cost of environmental measures are not directly compensated in the food chain. It takes a
very long time before farmers adjust production and prices rise.
 We have to find instruments that compensate (efficient) farmers for their extra cost
of sustainability actions – (or speed up and support scale increase)
 * By capping and further re-direcing direct payments into eco-schemes
 * By forcing the food industry to pay for sustainability
 Certification is an important instrument in both pathways
Certification for effective and efficient eco-
schemes
 In climate adaptation the local context becomes more important: soil and water become
more leading
 Sustainability issues differ between regions (water scarcity is an issue in Spain, not in
Ireland). Sustainability indicators differ per farm type and region.
 There are trade-offs and synergies between different KPI
 Farms have different strategies (scale increase, direct sales, multi-functional, part-time)
and use different technologies (invest or not in precision technology)
 A “one eco-scheme fits all” approach is inefficient
 When regulation becomes more stringent, more flexible (and complex) designs are
needed. See a first attempt in the Netherlands:
 5 objectives (climate, soil, water, landscape and biodiversity) with a set of 22 farm actions that have eco-scores on
the objectives. Payment per ha at gold / silver / bronze level is based on total score and minimum scores for each
objective. Complex scheme gives freedom to farms to make an efficient choice: a pseudo-market for eco-system
services. (Jongeneel et al, 2023).
 Monitoring and auditing issue. – what can we learn from industry?
What can we learn from industry? (GlobalGAP, Private sustainability
labels (On the way to planet proof, Tierwohl, etc.), Organics, CSRD-scope
3, Sust. Finance Taxonomy)
6
Chain organisation changes (©Gereffi et al., 2005)
inputs
End
product
PRICE
Shops
Complete
Integration
Lead
company
Lead
company
Turnkey
supplier
Relational
supplier
Market Modular Relational Captive Hierarchy
Low Degree of explicit coordination and power asymmetry High
Lead
company
Farmers
Industry-schemes are welcome, but not enough
 Schemes channel money from consumers to farmers: welcome
 Depends on willingness to pay with consumers
 Is easier for animal welfare than for proper soil management
 Level of greening is often low (light green), not a strong transition
 Private schemes link with entrepreneurial front-runners in farming (with low
costs) and provide examples, but leave out others.
 Industry schemes sometimes focus on per-kg product results and lead to
intensive land use, and downplay per-ha effects and trade-offs on issues
outside their KPI.
Government regulation (eligibility) and eco-schemes are still necessary in
addition to industry schemes.
How to align government and industry actions ?
Design criteria for indicators
• KPI should support farm management, should be actionable (pesticide
use per ha or concentrate feed use / ha is better than an LCA)
• KPI should preferably be on emissions: that incentivizes innovations. The
farmer is the manager who chooses the technology, Brussels, Berlin, or
the Hague don’t have the information to prescribe working methods.
• Emissions are not yet always measurable: then technologies or inputs
used are a proxy (and farmers that can measure in precision agriculture
have an advantage).
• KPI should be auditable.
• KPI should be standardized in open access for public and private use
(compare measurement of income, assets) >> Role for the new FSDN
• Focus on main issues (my top-10): Pesticide use / ha,
Antimicrobials/animal, Mineral balance in N and P per ha, GHG emission
per kg, Water use per kg (where relevant), animal welfare, labour
conditions migrants. Perhaps NH3/ha, fine particles.
Why is certification a good audit tool?
 Satellites can provide a lot of data for auditing (and still increasing)
 But on several KPI they will not be able to deliver data (which pesticides used,
antimicrobials, animal welfare, labour conditions, mineral balances).
 Certification does (and can make use of satellite data).
 It makes it also possible to work with open norms (“sufficient daylight for chicken” as
in the organic regulation, providing options for on-farm interpretation where needed
(specific type of buildings, weather conditions).
 Inspectors can judge trade-offs; or the availability of an environmental plan, a risk
management plan, training for spraying licence etc.
 It gives feed back: light and strong non-conformities; options to repair them within a
time frame and have a second audit.
 There are options to link this with private certification schemes as:
 Audits can be combined: 1 audit per year per farm (risk based, some per 2 year)
 It forces food companies and retailers to build upon (not neglect) public themes.
Administrative burden ? ICT !
 Many indicators can be calculated from
(VAT) accounts, e-invoicing and Farm
Managemen Information Systems.
 ICT can solve a lot (already of current
administrative burden): e-invoicing
directive
 Small farms (less than € 25,000 sales)
could be exempted: CAP payment is
unconditional income support ?
Poppe, Krijn, Hans Vrolijk and Ivor Bosloper (2023) Integration of Farm Financial
Accounting and Farm Management Information Systems for Better Sustainability
Reporting in: Electronics, 12, 1485. https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics12061485
Extensions based on certification
Based on their certification and audit results farms can be
classified on their level of sustainability, a sustainability or eco-
score for the farm (and its products) like the Nutri-score.
This makes it easier:
• In CAP Pillar 2 to provide assistance to farms to move up from
label D (or bronze, or orange) to label B or A - with innovation
support, AKIS etc.
• For food processors, banks and land owners to report in CSRD
or to differentiate trade conditions (e.g. interest rates)
between more and less sustainable farms
• A Framework Law on Sustainable Food Systems could oblige
dairy factories and slaughterhouse to buy 25% from farms
with the highest sustainability score (A / dark green) and pay a
premium that reflects the farms’ extra cost (blending as in
petrol). That would solve the issue that we force farmers to
become more sustainable without paying these price-takers.
Implications for CAP-post 2027
 Definition of 10 KPI between now and 2027 (in FSDN ?)
 National plans 2027-2032: national/regional governments define:
 * minimum levels on KPIs for Good Agricultural Practice (conditionality)
 * minimum levels on KPIs for eco-schemes A/B/C or Eco-scores A/B/C per region (soil type,
water catchment area) – and add KPIs if necessary in the region
 (preferably with a scoring system in which trade-offs between KPI can be handled, see the
current Dutch system for eco-schemes)
 The certification methodology as currently in use for organic farms is extended to all
farms (> € 25,000,- sales) and the certification includes all other (national) public farm
regulation
 Audits can combine public and private audits in a one-stop-audit
 Farmers have to send in their audit result (eco-score and non-conformities) to the paying
agency
 [a framework law on sustainable food systems could regulate food industry on e-
invoicing, on using the public certification as basis in private top-up schemes or oblige
blending]
Does it help A French farmer?
 a DUERP document of 20 pages on risk
management.
 Cover crop before August 15. In dry circumstances
a derogation is sometimes possible, but has to be
requested
 Every year we have to fill in a form that we are not
an extremist and that our fertiliser will not be sold
to terrorists.
 Within a week after the birth of a calve, a tissue
sample has to be taken and tested
 Milking machines, spraying machines and now also
machines with hydraulics have to be
independently checked every 6 months.
• Check if a relevant risk management plan
is present (lighter form for farms with less
risk)
• Explain afterwords in audit. You do not
automatically lose your payments in a light
NC
• Small question in audit, Can be replaced
by mineral balance N use/ha
• Check in audit if samples have been sent
in.
• Check in audit if (certified) dealers have
done inspection during normal
maintenance (once a year?). Can be
replaced by KPI pesticide use/ha
Is an audit, ½ day per year then a basis for more sustainability in eco-schemes ?
Conclusions
 A shift from ever-lower food prices to sustainability challenges has to be supported by
the CAP.
 Farmers have to be supported in their management and innovations
 Limited number of KPI on emissions with room for local farm management is more
efficient than central planning
 Industry schemes and organic farming already use certification
 Certification is a good audit tool of KPI, less rigid, synergy with food chain
 Administrative burden can be overcome by information technology
 Builds upon current eco-schemes
 Gives an option in the Framework Law on Sustainable Food Systems to have the farm
rewarded for the extra cost of sustainable food.
krijn.poppe@wur.nl
www.wur.nl
kjpoppe@hccnet.nl
Thanks for
your
attention
EEAC Advise on Sustainable Food Systems:
https://eeac.eu/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/Towards-a-sustainable-food-system-_-An-EEAC-
Network-Position-Paper-PV.pdf

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KJPoppe DG AGRI Certification as a tool to reduce administrative burdens

  • 1. Certification as a tool to reduce administrative burdens and foster sustainability Krijn Poppe TECHNICAL WORKSHOP ON SUSTAINABILITY - DG Agri February 15, 2024
  • 2. Content The need for action in climate and biodiversity – and the need for a food system approach The opportunity to use the CAP more effectively in eco- schemes with KPI and certification The food chain and certification Design criteria for KPI (key performance indicators)  Why is certification a good tool ?  Administrative burden Extensions: eco-score Practical example for CAP-post 2027 Conclusions
  • 3. A French/Dutch farmer (last week):  If we want a day off and somebody else to look after the farm, we have to have a DUERP document of 20 pages on risk management. It takes a obligatory 2 days training to create the document and a discussion of the document with each worker hired for a day.  After the harvest of triticale you have to seed a cover crop before August 15. In dry circumstances a derogation is sometimes possible, but has to be requested  Every year we have to fill in a form that we are not an extremist and that our fertiliser will not be sold to terrorists.  Within a week after the birth of a calve, a tissue sample has to be taken and tested  Milking machines, spraying machines and now also machines with hydraulics have to be independently checked every 6 months. This asks experts to come to the farm for a half day inspection which they do per type of machine. “Each of these measures is understandable, but the total is just too much”” © Ellen-Maureen Colpa on Foodlog, a Dutch website forum This is not a good basis for adding more KPI on emissions in eco-schemes
  • 4. The need for action – and for a food system approach  The public challenge changes from even lower food prices to climate and biodiversity. Need for climate adaptation is a strong reality in farming  Farmers are willing to undertake action but:  * many struggle in a thread`-mill of higher labour cost – more investments for labour productivity – scale increase – lack of affordable extra land >> every twenty years the number of farms halves (and this will not stop next 20 years, whatever the policy)  * Farmers are price-takers. Prices are a result of (fluctuating) supply and demand. Higher cost of environmental measures are not directly compensated in the food chain. It takes a very long time before farmers adjust production and prices rise.  We have to find instruments that compensate (efficient) farmers for their extra cost of sustainability actions – (or speed up and support scale increase)  * By capping and further re-direcing direct payments into eco-schemes  * By forcing the food industry to pay for sustainability  Certification is an important instrument in both pathways
  • 5. Certification for effective and efficient eco- schemes  In climate adaptation the local context becomes more important: soil and water become more leading  Sustainability issues differ between regions (water scarcity is an issue in Spain, not in Ireland). Sustainability indicators differ per farm type and region.  There are trade-offs and synergies between different KPI  Farms have different strategies (scale increase, direct sales, multi-functional, part-time) and use different technologies (invest or not in precision technology)  A “one eco-scheme fits all” approach is inefficient  When regulation becomes more stringent, more flexible (and complex) designs are needed. See a first attempt in the Netherlands:  5 objectives (climate, soil, water, landscape and biodiversity) with a set of 22 farm actions that have eco-scores on the objectives. Payment per ha at gold / silver / bronze level is based on total score and minimum scores for each objective. Complex scheme gives freedom to farms to make an efficient choice: a pseudo-market for eco-system services. (Jongeneel et al, 2023).  Monitoring and auditing issue. – what can we learn from industry?
  • 6. What can we learn from industry? (GlobalGAP, Private sustainability labels (On the way to planet proof, Tierwohl, etc.), Organics, CSRD-scope 3, Sust. Finance Taxonomy) 6
  • 7. Chain organisation changes (©Gereffi et al., 2005) inputs End product PRICE Shops Complete Integration Lead company Lead company Turnkey supplier Relational supplier Market Modular Relational Captive Hierarchy Low Degree of explicit coordination and power asymmetry High Lead company Farmers
  • 8. Industry-schemes are welcome, but not enough  Schemes channel money from consumers to farmers: welcome  Depends on willingness to pay with consumers  Is easier for animal welfare than for proper soil management  Level of greening is often low (light green), not a strong transition  Private schemes link with entrepreneurial front-runners in farming (with low costs) and provide examples, but leave out others.  Industry schemes sometimes focus on per-kg product results and lead to intensive land use, and downplay per-ha effects and trade-offs on issues outside their KPI. Government regulation (eligibility) and eco-schemes are still necessary in addition to industry schemes. How to align government and industry actions ?
  • 9. Design criteria for indicators • KPI should support farm management, should be actionable (pesticide use per ha or concentrate feed use / ha is better than an LCA) • KPI should preferably be on emissions: that incentivizes innovations. The farmer is the manager who chooses the technology, Brussels, Berlin, or the Hague don’t have the information to prescribe working methods. • Emissions are not yet always measurable: then technologies or inputs used are a proxy (and farmers that can measure in precision agriculture have an advantage). • KPI should be auditable. • KPI should be standardized in open access for public and private use (compare measurement of income, assets) >> Role for the new FSDN • Focus on main issues (my top-10): Pesticide use / ha, Antimicrobials/animal, Mineral balance in N and P per ha, GHG emission per kg, Water use per kg (where relevant), animal welfare, labour conditions migrants. Perhaps NH3/ha, fine particles.
  • 10. Why is certification a good audit tool?  Satellites can provide a lot of data for auditing (and still increasing)  But on several KPI they will not be able to deliver data (which pesticides used, antimicrobials, animal welfare, labour conditions, mineral balances).  Certification does (and can make use of satellite data).  It makes it also possible to work with open norms (“sufficient daylight for chicken” as in the organic regulation, providing options for on-farm interpretation where needed (specific type of buildings, weather conditions).  Inspectors can judge trade-offs; or the availability of an environmental plan, a risk management plan, training for spraying licence etc.  It gives feed back: light and strong non-conformities; options to repair them within a time frame and have a second audit.  There are options to link this with private certification schemes as:  Audits can be combined: 1 audit per year per farm (risk based, some per 2 year)  It forces food companies and retailers to build upon (not neglect) public themes.
  • 11. Administrative burden ? ICT !  Many indicators can be calculated from (VAT) accounts, e-invoicing and Farm Managemen Information Systems.  ICT can solve a lot (already of current administrative burden): e-invoicing directive  Small farms (less than € 25,000 sales) could be exempted: CAP payment is unconditional income support ? Poppe, Krijn, Hans Vrolijk and Ivor Bosloper (2023) Integration of Farm Financial Accounting and Farm Management Information Systems for Better Sustainability Reporting in: Electronics, 12, 1485. https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics12061485
  • 12. Extensions based on certification Based on their certification and audit results farms can be classified on their level of sustainability, a sustainability or eco- score for the farm (and its products) like the Nutri-score. This makes it easier: • In CAP Pillar 2 to provide assistance to farms to move up from label D (or bronze, or orange) to label B or A - with innovation support, AKIS etc. • For food processors, banks and land owners to report in CSRD or to differentiate trade conditions (e.g. interest rates) between more and less sustainable farms • A Framework Law on Sustainable Food Systems could oblige dairy factories and slaughterhouse to buy 25% from farms with the highest sustainability score (A / dark green) and pay a premium that reflects the farms’ extra cost (blending as in petrol). That would solve the issue that we force farmers to become more sustainable without paying these price-takers.
  • 13. Implications for CAP-post 2027  Definition of 10 KPI between now and 2027 (in FSDN ?)  National plans 2027-2032: national/regional governments define:  * minimum levels on KPIs for Good Agricultural Practice (conditionality)  * minimum levels on KPIs for eco-schemes A/B/C or Eco-scores A/B/C per region (soil type, water catchment area) – and add KPIs if necessary in the region  (preferably with a scoring system in which trade-offs between KPI can be handled, see the current Dutch system for eco-schemes)  The certification methodology as currently in use for organic farms is extended to all farms (> € 25,000,- sales) and the certification includes all other (national) public farm regulation  Audits can combine public and private audits in a one-stop-audit  Farmers have to send in their audit result (eco-score and non-conformities) to the paying agency  [a framework law on sustainable food systems could regulate food industry on e- invoicing, on using the public certification as basis in private top-up schemes or oblige blending]
  • 14. Does it help A French farmer?  a DUERP document of 20 pages on risk management.  Cover crop before August 15. In dry circumstances a derogation is sometimes possible, but has to be requested  Every year we have to fill in a form that we are not an extremist and that our fertiliser will not be sold to terrorists.  Within a week after the birth of a calve, a tissue sample has to be taken and tested  Milking machines, spraying machines and now also machines with hydraulics have to be independently checked every 6 months. • Check if a relevant risk management plan is present (lighter form for farms with less risk) • Explain afterwords in audit. You do not automatically lose your payments in a light NC • Small question in audit, Can be replaced by mineral balance N use/ha • Check in audit if samples have been sent in. • Check in audit if (certified) dealers have done inspection during normal maintenance (once a year?). Can be replaced by KPI pesticide use/ha Is an audit, ½ day per year then a basis for more sustainability in eco-schemes ?
  • 15. Conclusions  A shift from ever-lower food prices to sustainability challenges has to be supported by the CAP.  Farmers have to be supported in their management and innovations  Limited number of KPI on emissions with room for local farm management is more efficient than central planning  Industry schemes and organic farming already use certification  Certification is a good audit tool of KPI, less rigid, synergy with food chain  Administrative burden can be overcome by information technology  Builds upon current eco-schemes  Gives an option in the Framework Law on Sustainable Food Systems to have the farm rewarded for the extra cost of sustainable food.
  • 16. krijn.poppe@wur.nl www.wur.nl kjpoppe@hccnet.nl Thanks for your attention EEAC Advise on Sustainable Food Systems: https://eeac.eu/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/Towards-a-sustainable-food-system-_-An-EEAC- Network-Position-Paper-PV.pdf