LEAF Global Impacts Report 2022

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LEAF Global Impacts Report 2022


Agriculture and climate change The climate and ecosystem emergency is one of the biggest challenges of our time. With the UK government committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050 and global targets set by the UN at net zero CO2 emissions by 2050, global agriculture is under an intense spotlight – not only in terms of its environmental impacts but as a key part of delivering innovative climate change solutions. Globally, farmers are increasingly adopting more sustainable, regenerative and circular farming practices to protect and enhance depleted natural resources and ecosystems. By building healthier and more productive soils, delivering better air and water quality, enhancing biodiversity, improving energy efficiencies, and turning to more climate positive pollution control measures, farmers across the world are collectively contributing to climate change mitigation.



LEAF Marque: a pathway to more climate positive farming Climate change, population growth, resource protection, market volatility and increasing political uncertainties are challenges shared by farmers across the globe. Underpinned by the whole farm, regenerative principles of Integrated Farm Management (IFM), LEAF Marque certification offers a coherent framework to achieve more regenerative outcomes at farm level. We work together with our stakeholders to achieve a shared vision of a more productive, resilient, and sustainable agricultural sector. Combined with LEAF’s management tools, resources, and training, backed up by the ‘science into practice’ approach of our Demonstration Farms and Innovation Centres, certified businesses are empowered with the skills, knowledge and confidence to build the sustainability of their operations. LEAF Marque provides the means to demonstrate this to retailers, brands and consumers in a robust and independent way.


Integrated farming solutions For over 30 years LEAF has been developing and promoting Integrated Farm Management, driving continual improvement, by an interlinked, site specific, whole farm approach. As the future of our natural environment hangs in the balance, such an approach could not be more critical. Made up of nine sections, IFM encourages attention to detail and incremental improvements in each area, to holistically address environmental, economic, and social sustainability across the entire farm business. An understanding of the importance of each section of IFM and the interactions between them is essential to achieve regenerative outcomes, nurture biodiversity and generate healthy and resilient farming systems. Faced with climate change and competition for scarce resources, IFM offers a coherent framework for farmers to optimise inputs and activities, reduce emissions and environmental impact.


Our intended impacts LEAF Marque aims to drive recognition of environmental sustainability in agriculture, with transparency, impartiality, and reliability. Our monitoring and evaluation framework is designed to comply with the ISEAL Impacts Code of Good Practice. This reflects our commitment to rigorous, systematic, and transparent methods of reporting the impact of LEAF Marque certification. We have identified eleven Intended Impacts, which are each measured by a set of indicators. The Intended Impacts represent the changes that the LEAF Marque System seeks to make. We are continually seeking to develop a better understanding of our impacts and integrate these insights into our strategy, decision-making and planning processes. Continual learning and improvement is at the heart of all we do.


RESILIENT AND DIVERSE BUSINESSES

INCREASED IMPLEMENTATION OF REGENERATIVE PRACTICES

IMPROVED MANAGEMENT OF WATER USE & WATER QUALITY

IMPROVED POSITIVE ACTION FOR CLIMATE THROUGH REDUCED CARBON FOOTPRINTS

IMPROVED ENERGY USE & EFFICIENCY

CIRCULAR APPROACH TO RESOURCE USE & WASTE MANAGEMENT

ENRICHED DIVERSITY OF NATIVE HABITATS & SPECIES

IMPROVED SOIL MANAGEMENT TO ENHANCE SOIL QUALITY & HEALTH

IMPROVED IMPLEMENTATION OF EFFECTIVE IPM SOLUTIONS FOR CROP HEALTH & PROTECTION

OPTIMISED & INTEGRATED LIVESTOCK HEALTH, PERFORMANCE, & ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

INSPIRE & ENABLE SUSTAINABLE FARMING THAT IS PROSPEROUS, ENRICHES THE ENVIRONMENT & ENGAGES LOCAL COMMUNITIES


877 LEAF Marque certified businesses

Building resilient & diverse businesses Global farming and food systems are undergoing profound changes – climatic,

310,537 hectares on LEAF Marque certified businesses Including:

political, and socio-economic. In the face of a global pandemic, economic volatility and the ongoing climate emergency, our growers are continuing to show resilience and commitment to advancing more sustainable farming. We

134,130 hectares of combinable crops

are encouraged to see an increase since last year in the global hectarage represented by LEAF Marque certified businesses. Similarly, in the UK, the overall percentage of fruit and vegetables produced on UK certified

159,200 hectares of fruit & vegetables

businesses is remaining consistent. Whilst we observe a slight decrease in hectarage of certified combinable crops, there was a growth in the hectarage of horticultural LEAF Marque certified businesses.

4,207 hectares of flowers & ornamentals


19 countries with LEAF Marque certified businesses Top countries in terms of hectarage:

UK

Spain

France

Egypt

Italy

245,639ha

25,381ha

14,242ha

7,004ha

6,218ha


279 different crop classes are grown on LEAF Marque certified farms including combinable crops, fruit & vegetables, flowers & ornamentals

The top crops grown on LEAF Marque certified farms globally are: wheat

potato

60,332ha

28,970ha

barley 24,971ha

lettuce 14,011ha

maize

broccoli

8,769ha

8,280ha

onions 7,561ha

rapeseed

sugar beet 7,328ha

cauliflower

carrot 7,178ha

pea 5,699ha

7,533ha

7,210ha


100%

75%

50%

25%

0% 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021

48% of UK fruit & vegetables are grown on LEAF Marque certified farms

The top fruit & vegetable crops grown on LEAF Marque certified farms in the UK are:

celery

95% cherries

83%

lettuce

91%

sweet peppers

83%

asparagus

85%

watercress

79%

parsnips

85%

onions

72%

leeks

85% broccoli

71%


IMPROVED POSITIVE ACTION FOR CLIMATE THROUGH REDUCED CARBON FOOTPRINTS

Of LEAF Marque certified businesses:

Driving climate positive action

70%

improve soil quality

56%

protect & enhance

50%

seek to optimise carbon

Farming is in a unique position of being

forest & tree cover

both a source and sink for greenhouse gas emissions and farmers are fundamental to driving forward innovative solutions to climate change.

capture & sequestration

Underpinned by the sustainable farming principles of Integrated Farm Management, LEAF Marque certified businesses are

44%

use a carbon footprint tool

advancing positive action for the climate through monitoring carbon emissions, identifying carbon sequestration opportunities, and enhancing soil quality and health.

75%

have one or more types of renewable energy generation on-farm


44%

46%

keep soil covered

47%

keep living roots in the soil

limit soil disturbance

75%

INCREASED IMPLEMENTATION OF REGENERATIVE PRACTICES

grow a diverse range of crops

of LEAF Marque

85%

certified businesses:

integrate livestock

58%

82%

have an IFM policy

encourage & maintain biodiversity

IMPROVED SOIL MANAGEMENT TO ENHANCE SOIL QUALITY & HEALTH

Of LEAF Marque certified businesses:

73%

62%

46%

have a general policy to

measure nitrogen efficiency

record soil

increase soil organic matter

per tonne product

organic matter


IMPROVED MANAGEMENT OF WATER USE & WATER QUALITY

Of LEAF Marque certified businesses:

Advancing nature-based solutions With more than half of the world’s habitable lands currently used for agricultural production, farmers are some of the most important stewards of the earth’s lands and water resources. LEAF Marque farmers are working with nature to provide ecosystem services that help enhance resilience and adaptation to climate change, support agricultural production and build biodiversity. They are turning to more natural sources of energy, using biological control and best practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies, and protecting water resources.

51% working with others in the catchment to improve water quality & water management


IMPROVED ENERGY USE & EFFICIENCY

Of LEAF Marque certified businesses:

100%

75% 100% 50% 75% 25% 50% 0% 2016

25%

0% 2016

2017

44%

2018

2019

2020

2021

use a Carbon Footprint Tool

2017

2018

2019

2020

2021

75% have one or more types of renewable energy generation on-farm

IMPROVED IMPLEMENTATION OF EFFECTIVE IPM SOLUTIONS FOR CROP HEALTH & PROTECTION

49% of LEAF Marque certified businesses carry out all 8 aspects of IPM best practice


OPTIMISED & INTEGRATED LIVESTOCK HEALTH, PERFORMANCE, & ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

Delivering

On LEAF Marque

more circular

certified businesses

approaches

there are:

More integrated, regenerative approaches

15,217

to food production offer part of the

cattle

solution to addressing the climate emergency. LEAF Marque certified farmers are harnessing the economic, environmental, and social opportunities that more circular

35,655 sheep

farming offers. They are carrying out a range of sustainable waste management practices, maximising the health and

9,210

welfare of livestock, to raise healthy,

pigs

optimal performing animals that produce less waste and methane emissions. This in turn is helping to build healthier soils, increase biodiversity, and improve air and water quality.

220,000 poultry


LEAF Marque certified businesses with livestock are minimising environmental impact with:

73% of LEAF Marque certified businesses with livestock are carrying out antibiotic best practice

80%

optimising livestock performance without compromising animal welfare

86%

79%

having appropriate livestock feed rations

carefully managing grazing

CIRCULAR APPROACH TO RESOURCE USE & WASTE MANAGEMENT

47% of LEAF Marque certified businesses carry out waste management best practice


450,076ha of crop on LEAF Marque certified businesses where steps are taken to

Enriching diversity of

minimise damage to beneficial & non-target organisims

habitats & species A key part of more integrated and sustainable farming is nature restoration and enhancing biodiversity. As well as delivering climate benefits, improving natural habitats helps restore ecosystems that underpin the resilience of our landscapes, whilst also supporting human well-being and providing economic benefits. LEAF Marque farmers are implementing a range of measures to protect, restore and create diverse wildlife and landscapes, always within the context of the wider farmed environment.

49% of LEAF Marque certified businesses monitor native species on farm


15%

average habitat area on LEAF Marque certified businesses within the farmed area

The range of habitats on LEAF Marque certified businesses include:

6,811,732

589,932

metres of hedges

in-field trees

260,469

1,997,302

metres of habitat banks

metres of non-hedge boundaries

1,294 ponds

617

reservoirs that benefitted biodiversity


INSPIRE & ENABLE SUSTAINABLE FARMING THAT IS PROSPEROUS, ENRICHES THE ENVIRONMENT & ENGAGES LOCAL COMMUNITIES

Engaging communities More sustainable food systems rely on well informed people, aware of where their food comes, how it is produced and the impact of their

75% of staff on LEAF Marque certified businesses have an appropriate awareness of IFM

food purchasing decisions upon the climate. As public interest in climate change increases, there is an ever-greater need for clear and

31%

meaningful conversations between

of LEAF Marque certified

farmers and citizens.

businesses engaged with

LEAF Marque certified businesses

a wider audience

are involved in a range of on-farm

via social media, websites or written

and on-line outreach activities

material

including hosting farm visits, giving talks, and taking part in industry open days like LEAF Open Farm Sunday. All these activities are helping to build deeper and richer

87% of LEAF Marque

connections between farmers and

certified businesses

consumers, to educate, engage

hosted farm visits

and inspire.


The continuing Coronavirus pandemic during 2021 had a clear impact on the number of people participating in farm visits. Travel and social distancing restrictions combined with an uncertain situation provides explanation for the decrease in engagement from 2020. However, farmers showed resilience, adaptability and a willingness to find new and engaging ways to connect with consumers through online events, farm tours and webinars. The community engagement activities observed are still very positive given the circumstances.

At LEAF Marque certified businesses there were:

2,981

22,156

on- & off-farm

visitors

events

engaged

LEAF’s wider community engagement and outreach activities, delivered through LEAF Education also adapted to the challenges presented by the pandemic. A total of 101 farmers opened their gates for LEAF Open Farm Sunday in a Covid-safe way, limiting numbers and scaling down activities. Farmer Time connected 22,696 children with farmers through live video link ups directly into the classroom, and an ongoing programme of farm visits, workshops, training events and career sessions took place virtually.


LEAF for the future The successes and impacts highlighted in this report are the result of the commitment, vision, and determination of our growers to continually improve and make a difference. We congratulate and thank them all. Through their collective efforts, they are mobilising advances in more sustainable farming across the globe and, in so doing, making significant strides in supporting many of the Sustainable Development Goals as well as national targets set out in the UK governments 25 Year Environment Plan. The climate and ecosystem emergency is one of the biggest challenges of our time. By working with farmers to reward and incentivise change, and with retailers and consumers to ensure a market for more sustainably produced food, we are uniquely positioned to link landscape health with people’s lives and plates. As LEAF embarks on its fourth decade, delivering on our ambitious 10 year strategy, we remain focused on ensuring strong market incentives to drive uptake of more sustainable farming practices and providing farmers with the skills, knowhow and confidence to build business resilience. We are immensely proud of what our growers have and continue to achieve. Coupled with the support of retailers, food brands, and government policy, which is placing the environment at centre stage, they are driving profound reforms to global farming and food systems.


Appendix The key data used in LEAF’s Global Impacts Report 2022 includes information from the LEAF Sustainable Farming Review1.The data is provided to the best of our knowledge. 1LEAF Sustainable Farming Review The LEAF Sustainable Farming Review is an online selfassessment resource for LEAF members to support their implementation of Integrated Farm Management. The LEAF Sustainable Farming Review replaced the LEAF Audit in December 2014. The completion of the LEAF Sustainable Farming Review is a requirement of the LEAF Marque Standard (v12.0 onwards) and this completion is independently verified by certification bodies as part of the audit process. However, the specific responses within the Review are self-assessed and not verified through third party inspection. The LEAF Sustainable Farming Review is composed of around 90 principles based around the nine sections of Integrated Farm Management along with further guidance information and links to support the user. Each question must be answered in one of the following five ways: Fully Achieved; Considerable Progress; Some Progress; Not Started; or Not Applicable. Additionally, the user indicates which of the supporting practices, which are associated with the principle, they carry out. For the purposes of this report, analysis of this data only includes LEAF members who held a current, full LEAF Marque certificate at 31st December 2021 for the 2022 data. The LEAF Sustainable Farming Review can be completed at any point during the year. Due to updates to the way data was collected in product information on the LEAF Sustainable Farming Review at the beginning of 2020, production data was missing for 110 farmers who had filled in the information before the changes were made. In these circumstances, data from 2019 was used instead. Unless otherwise stated, the data shows the total crop area of each business class (i.e. Combinable Crops, Fruit and Vegetables, or Flowers and Ornamentals), or enterprise (not farm business area) of LEAF Marque certified members based on our Product List of certifiable products. For more details see the Long Appendix. For more information, please contact LEAF (see back cover for contact details).


LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) LEAF works with farmers, the food industry, scientists, educators and consumers to develop and promote more sustainable, regenerative farming. Help us achieve our vision of a global farming and food system that delivers Climate Positive action for farming, food production and society. •

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