Linking Environment And Farming (LEAF) has revised its benchmarks for sustainability, saying now that 85% of fresh produce grown by the UK should be environmentally friendly.
That would mean doubling of fruits and vegetables that are LEAF Marque-certified by 2026.
“LEAF Marque growers are already tackling climate change through reducing carbon emissions, building healthier and more resilient soils, delivering better air and water quality, and enhancing biodiversity,” said Caroline Drummond MBE, LEAF Chief Executive. “This is why we are committed to working across the food supply chain over the next five years to see [produce] being grown by LEAF Marque certified businesses.”
LEAF officials said they would assist leaders across the supply chain – from farming to retail – to ensure that they are both using and capitalizing on innovative methods to achieve the goal. That include more regenerative farming processes.
Of the more than 520 LEAF Marque growers across the UK, more than 80% either have reservoirs to assure water quality and safety and the same percentage monitor wildlife factors. Another two third do already have implemented renewable energy sources. However, less than 40% have a carbon footprint tool, and less than half look at soil organic matter.
“Scaling up the reach and impact of all our work will require us to develop deeper, extended business partnerships and new business models,” Drummond said. “Our pledge to drive a more climate-positive fresh produce sector in the UK, evidenced through LEAF Marque, feeds into our wider 10-year strategy to raise the ‘sustainability bar’ across all farming sectors.”