News.globallandscapesforum Verified-Sourcing Areas: Reaching sustainability at scale
Optimizing sustainable production of agricultural commodities
Rising global demand for responsibly produced agricultural commodities means that businesses and governments in producing regions, as well as in consuming markets, are increasingly putting sustainability commitments on their agendas.
But meeting these commitments has been a challenge. Certification schemes have made progress, but they are typically focused on improving practices within single farms or commodities. That makes it difficult to address water depletion, deforestation or other land-resource management issues on a large scale.
Now, imagine if agricultural production could become sustainable across entire areas, or landscapes, and companies could source from these entire “verified sustainable” areas, like a municipality, province or state, instead of individual farms and plantations.
Sustainable sourcing of agricultural or tropical forestry commodities – such as palm oil, soy and beef – would be easier and cheaper. Companies would be able to source large volumes of commodities in line with their own and global sustainability commitments. Locally, agricultural production would become sustainable across entire landscapes.
Farmers and local government would drive sustainable development and receive incentives by global markets for doing so.
That’s the thinking behind Verified Sourcing Areas (VSAs) – a new area-based mechanism being developed and piloted by the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) and its partners around the world. This mechanism rewards the sustainability of whole regions and links that directly to local, national and global markets.
We believe VSAs could redefine sustainable trade in the next 10 years and help achieve sustainability impact at scale.