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Food for the Future

Standards for a sustainable agri-food system on World Food Day.

Too many people go hungry in the world, yet if we had a truly sustainable agri-food system, everyone would have enough to eat and the environment wouldn’t suffer. Recognizing there is much we can do to achieve this, the theme of this year’s World Food Day is “Our Actions are our Future” and ISO has many standards to help.

Recently published, ISO/TS 26030, Social responsibility and sustainable development – Guidance on using ISO 26000:2010 in the food chain, provides guidelines on how an organization in the food production chain can contribute to sustainable development. It will help organizations such as food companies, farms, cooperatives, processors and retailers develop a list of activities that will lead them to being more socially responsible.

The technical specification is just one of more than 1 600 ISO standards and guidance documents for the food production sector that directly help to end world hunger by creating confidence in food products, improving agricultural methods and promoting sustainable and ethical purchasing. These include the ISO 22000 series on food safety management that covers standards related to food manufacturing, farming, packaging, catering and animal foodstuffs and feed production.

Helping the agricultural sector implement sustainable practices and earn a livable wage is essential. The International Workshop Agreement IWA 29, Professional farmer organization – Guidelines, supports this by contributing to the professionalism of smallholder farmer organizations in emerging markets, enabling them to enter the global marketplace. It is complemented by the ISO 34101 series on sustainable and traceable cocoa, which provides a set of guidelines for environmentally sound agricultural practices, better traceability of cocoa beans and improved working conditions for all those involved in the cocoa supply chain.

ISO also has a number of standards aimed at sustainable and responsible production methods, such as ISO 26000 for social responsibility and ISO 20400 for sustainable procurement. These encourage ethical working conditions and promote ethical purchasing practices throughout the entire food production chain.

Disclaimer: PECB has obtained permission to publish the articles written by ISO.

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