A discussion of green economy wouldn’t be complete without considering agriculture, which has massive impacts on our ecosystems: deforestation, pesticides and fertilizers, livestock emissions, to name just a few. The good news is that for the last 20 years, leaders in various agricultural sectors have set up ecolabels – certification standards that help make any agricultural commodity’s supply chain – from farmer to consumer – more sustainable. As time goes on, increasing numbers of agricultural certification programmes – as well as those for energy efficiency, sustainable manufacturing and so on – have been launched, covering everything from fair trade through fish to forests and beyond.
Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
Food from the sea is healthy, renewable and an essential food source for billions around the world. But demand is increasing, and more than 70 per cent of fish stocks are already overharvested and depleted, while poor fishing practices such as trawling the seabed damage marine ecosystems. The MSC works with fisheries, seafood companies, scientists, conservation groups and the public to promote the best environmental choice in seafood by rewarding sustainable fishing with its fishery certification programme and seafood ecolabel. Fisheries must operate at a level that permits fishing to continue indefinitely without over-exploitation, must be managed to minimize impact on the structure, productivity, function and diversity of the ecosystem, and must meet all local, national and inter-national laws.
The Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS)
Soy is a very common crop and valuable to humans as a food source, as fodder for livestock including pigs, poultry and cattle, and as an oil widely used in processed foods. Soy oil is also used to produce biofuels. Similar to the RSPO and also established by WWF, the RTRS certifies soy, its derivatives and products, all along the supply chain. Its standards include prohibiting soy cultivation in areas of high conservation value like forests and savannahs, monitoring water pollution and soil erosion, and eliminating the most hazardous pesticides from soy farming. It also seeks to prevent social conflicts over land and labour rights.