Sustainability is a trend, also in agriculture. Organic farmers are rewarded in the form of tax benefits, subsidies and higher prices for their products. There are also farmers who develop sustainable initiatives but who aren’t organic. How can you make this sustainability transparent? The Dutch ecolabel ‘Milieukeur’, the quality mark of the Milieukeur Foundation (SMK), could be the key to sustainability certification for extensive agriculture. This is the result of research by the Economics and Business Science Shop of the University of Groningen, commissioned by the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (LNV).
Business Studies student Louis Feitsma researched how sustainability in extensive agriculture can be made transparent. First, he designed a number of criteria, including: does the certification scheme concentrate on certifying primary agricultural production and is sustainability by definition organic or organic dynamic? Of the ten institutions examined, Global GAP and the Milieukeur Foundation appear to match the criteria best.
Global GAP concentrates primarily on guaranteeing food safety. This can be a good starting point for a sustainable business. ‘Milieukeur’ takes sustainable production as its starting point. Global GAP and ‘Milieukeur’ were also compared with regard to content to see how transparency could be achieved. Feitsma investigated a total of 52 points. He examined certification regulations such as is there a fertilization plan and does the business use green energy? Eventually, ‘Milieukeur’ turned out to be the most suitable to ensure transparency in extensive agriculture.
Feitsma also conducted a benchmark study of sustainability certification outside extensive agriculture. He compared the certification of sustainable forests, palm oil, soya and tropical rainforests. All of the institutions attach great value to the social embedment of their systems. What is noticeable is that little attention is paid to the sustainability of machines, buildings and infrastructure used during the production process.
- Information about the research: Ms Tamara Slief, coordinator of the Economics & Business Science Shop, tel. + 31 050 363 37 95, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
- Report details: Louis Feitsma, ‘Duurzaam maar niet biologisch. Certificeren van duurzaamheid in de grondgebonden landbouw’ [Sustainable but not organic. Certification of sustainability in extensive agriculture], EC 184, Groningen : Economics and Business Science Shop, University of Groningen, 2008.
The Faculty Board is pleased to announce that Peter Verhoef has been appointed by the Board of the University as our new dean, starting 1 June 2019 for a period of four years.
How is it possible that an albatross doesn’t crash and die when it lands? And how come its large wings don’t break due to air resistance? That is what you would expect, according to the laws of aerodynamics. However, Professor Eize Stamhuis has discovered...
The CPB is to appoint Marcel Timmer as a member of its board as from 1 September 2019. Prof. Timmer has been Professor of Economic Growth and Development at the University of Groningen since 2010. He is currently also the Director of the Groningen...