What is responsible farming?

21 February 2022

From the shrimp farms of Vietnam to the banana plantations of Ecuador, the world of farming is incredibly varied. All of these farm operations, however, have one thing in common – they are deeply rooted in their local environment.

Farm locations, types, and sizes are as diverse as the ecosystems and communities in which they operate. Implementing responsible farming practices and protecting these environments is vital, both now and for future generations.

What does responsible farming mean?

We understand responsible farming to mean practices that are considerate of environmental sustainability, animal health and welfare, the well-being of farm workers, food safety, and supply chain traceability.

As a result, responsible farming means food and products that reflect the health and well-being of consumers as well as the farmers who produce them.

Why ‘responsible’ and not ‘sustainable’?

Whilst sustainability is certainly one key aspect of responsible farming, we understand this term to refer to the environment only. We believe other aspects of farming, such as efficient farm management practices that reduce risk, supply chain traceability to protect product integrity, worker safety and well-being, and animal health and welfare, are of equal importance.

The standards behind the GGN label set strict requirements in each of the above areas, meaning that you can shop with peace of mind. Our holistic approach of recognizing all aspects of responsible farming means you can select products that are produced according to all of your values, rather than needing to choose a single issue to support.


Responsible farming in practice

All products bearing the GGN label have been independently assessed and certified as being responsibly farmed. So what does this mean for flowers and plants, aquaculture, and fruit and vegetable production at farm level?

In the flowers and plants industry, criteria for producers include aspects such as the appropriate management of waste and plastics, the monitoring of water sources, fertilizer and pesticide use, efficient energy use, and biodiversity protections relating to land conversion.

In aquaculture, producers must implement measures including a comprehensive animal health plan limiting antibiotic use, climate change and extreme weather-related escape management, biosecurity plan to prevent disease in stocks, and training for employees at all levels of production spanning animal welfare, safety, and hygiene. Impact management on the environment and wildlife is also key, for example, the protection of conservation areas such as mangrove forests.

For fruit and vegetables, topics such as protecting and enhancing biodiversity and worker’s rights are at the forefront. Other areas which feature heavily are measures to minimize food waste, and using data metrics to support the optimized use of energy, water, fertilizers, and pesticides on the farm – because efficiency is key to minimizing impact and supporting responsible farming.

To learn more about certified farms and our producers across the world, check out Our Farms.