Biodiversity and habitat protection are key features of this well-known certification frog-seal aimed mainly at tropical crops. Water efficiency and quality measures are motivated primarily from an ecosystem perspective and promoted through better farming practices. Accompanied by a voluntary module on climate change adaptation soon to be mainstream.

Description

The Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) is a network of conservation groups committed to community-based conservation initiatives and research. SAN develops and implements social and environmental standards applicable to tropical agriculture. The standards aim to improve wildlife protection, livelihoods and conserve natural resources. Both individual farm certifications and group certifications are available. SAN has a farm standard and a cattle standard. Interpretation guidelines developed by local working groups provide local and crop-specific interpretation of the SAN standard criteria. SAN certified products available on the market include banana, coffee, tea, cocoa and a range of different spices and fruits. The certification program is managed jointly by SAN and the Rainforest Alliance and independent accredited Certification Bodies (CB’s) are responsible for evaluating farms and groups.

Farms that meet SAN’s requirements and binding rules are recognized with the Rainforest Alliance Certification seal. More than one million small, medium, large farms and cooperatives in more than 40 countries have fulfilled the SAN criteria. Requirements are categorized into general and critical criteria. The critical criteria need to be fully met in order for a farm or group to obtain or maintain a certificate – the non-applicability rule does not apply here. Other criteria are divided into several principles, and the farm must comply with at least 50% of the applicable criteria of each principle and at least 80% of the total applicable criteria in order to obtain and maintan certification.

Producers themselves pay for auditing and admin costs. SAN does not guarantee a minimum price or financial premium but the price is negotiated between buyers and sellers. SAN members offer training through its partner organisations for farmers who wish to become certified. All transactions are registered in a web-based system which allows product traceability back to the individual farm.

An updated standard for crop and cattle production combined is now available and valid from July 2017.

Farming

General: The farm must have a water conservation program that ensures the rational use of water resources. The program activities must make use of the best available technology and resources. It must consider maintenance of the water distribution network and the minimizing of water use. The farm must record the annual water volume provided by its water sources and the amount of water consumed by the farm. All surface or underground water exploited by the farm for agricultural, domestic or processing purposes must have the respective concessions and permits from the corresponding legal or environmental authorities. Production areas must not be located in places that could provoke negative effects on public or biological conservation areas. Farms must not alter natural water channels to create new drainage or irrigation canals.

Critical: All aquatic ecosystems must be identified, protected and restored through a conservation program. The farm must not destroy any natural ecosystem. No high value ecosystem must have been destroyed due to farm management activities; if high value ecosystems have been destroyed before certification start, a number of analyses and mitigations must be implemented.

General: The farm must have a soil or crop fertilization program based on soil characteristics and properties, periodic soil or foliage sampling and analysis, and advice from a competent and impartial professional or authority. The number of soil or foliage samples must correspond with the size of the production area, types of soil, and variations in its properties, as well as results of previous analyses. The producer must keep the results of these analyses on the farm for a two-year period. Organic and non-organic fertilizers must be applied so as to avoid any potential negative impacts on the environment. The farm must give priority to organic fertilization using residues generated by the farm.

Critical: The farm must have an integrated pest-management program, and must comply with a list of prohibited chemical and biological substances; for more information see Pesticides.

General: The farm must have an integrated pest-management program based on ecological principles for the control of harmful pests (insects, plants, animals and microbes). The program must give priority to the use of physical, mechanical, cultural and biological control methods, and the least possible use of agrochemicals. The program must include activities for monitoring pest populations, training personnel that monitor these populations, and integrated pest management techniques. A number of points must be recorded about occurring pest infestations. Farms must only use fumigation methods for post-harvest treatment that minimize health effects in workers and control applications. The use of fire for pest and disease management must only be used if it is the option of less environmental impact in comparison with other pest control measures.

The farm must demonstrate that it rotates chemical products and reduces their use for crop production. The substances and applications should be recorded and the information summarized and analysed to determine application trends for specific products during the last five years. The farm must implement the procedures and have the necessary equipment for mixing and applying agrochemicals, as well as maintain, calibrate and repair application equipment, in order to reduce to a minimum waste and excessive applications. The farm must designate and train personnel who will be responsible for the implementation of these procedures.

Critical: The farm must comply with a list of prohibited chemical and biological substances. Farms that do use any of these prohibited substances must demonstrate that there are no technically or economically viable alternatives for the type of pest or infestation.

All existing aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems must be identified, protected and restored through a conservation program, which must include the restoration of natural ecosystems or reforestation of areas within the farm that are unsuitable for agriculture.

Production areas must not be located in places that could provoke negative effects on public or private biological conservation areas. The harvesting or other taking of threatened or endangered plant species is not permitted; cutting, extracting or harvesting trees, plants and other non-timber forest products is only allowed in instances when the farm implements a sustainable management plan that has been approved by the relevant authorities, and has all the permits required by law.

There must be a minimum separation of production areas from natural terrestrial ecosystems where chemical products are not used. A vegetated protection zone must be established by planting or by natural regeneration between different permanent or semi-permanent crop production areas.

The farmer must keep an inventory of the wild animals held in captivity on the farm, and implement policies and procedures to regulate and reduce their tenancy. Endangered or threatened species must not be held in captivity. The farm is allowed to breed wild animals in captivity when the farm has the required conditions and the permits stipulated by law. Farms that reintroduce wildlife into natural habitats must have the appropriate permit from the relevant authorities and comply with the conditions established by law, or reintroduce the animals via duly authorized and established programs. A competent professional must advise the farm on release practices. Exotic wildlife must not be introduced into the farm.

An inventory of wildlife and wildlife habitats found on the farm must be created and maintained. Ecosystems that provide habitats for wildlife living on the farm, or that pass through the farm during migration, must be protected and restored. Special measures should be taken to protect threatened or endangered species.

The farm must use and expand vegetative ground covers on the banks and bottoms of drainage canals. The farm must establish and maintain vegetation barriers between the crop and areas of human activity. These barriers must consist of permanent native vegetation with trees, bushes or other types of plants in order to promote biodiversity. The farm must implement a plan to maintain or restore the connectivity of natural ecosystems, within its boundaries, considering the connectivity of habitats at the landscape level through e.g. native vegetation on roadsides and along water courses or river banks, shade trees, live fences and live barriers.

Farms with agroforestry crops located in areas where the original natural vegetative cover is forest must establish and maintain a permanent agroforestry system distributed homogenously throughout the plantations while meeting a number of structural requirements. Farms in areas where the original natural vegetation is not forest – such as grasslands, savannahs, scrublands or shrub lands – must dedicate at least 30% of the farm area for conservation or recovery of the area’s typical ecosystems.

The farm must have an integrated pest-management program; for more information see Pesticides.

Critical: New production areas must only be located on land with the climatic, soil and topographic conditions suitable for intensity level of the agricultural production planned. The establishment of new production areas must be based on land use capacity studies that demonstrate long-term production capacity. The cutting of natural forest cover or burning to prepare new production areas is not permitted.

The farm must not destroy any natural ecosystem. No high value ecosystem must have been destroyed due to farm management activities; if high value ecosystems have been destroyed before certification start, a number of analyses and mitigations must be implemented.

Hunting, capturing, extracting and trafficking wild animals must be prohibited on the farm. Cultural or ethnic groups are allowed to hunt or collect fauna in a controlled manner and in areas designated for those purposes under certain, specified conditions.

A plan on how to minimize and reuse water using BAT must exist (irrigation or other highly water consumptive activities are not mentioned specifically).

Yearly reporting of what type of fuels are used on the farm and how much is consumed. There should be a plan to reduce fossil fuels and an energy efficiency plan in place.

Access to potable water and sanitation facilities is a critical criteria.

Voluntary module on climate change mitigation and adaptation exists.

General: The farm must execute a soil erosion prevention and control program that minimizes the risk of erosion and reduces existing erosion. Activities must be based on the identification of soils affected by or susceptible to erosion, soil properties, climatic conditions, topography and agricultural practices in use. Special emphasis is placed on controlling runoff and wind erosion from newly tilled or planted areas, and preventing sedimentation of water bodies. The farm must use and expand vegetative ground covers on the banks and bottoms of drainage canals to reduce erosion and agrochemical drift and runoff towards water bodies. The farm must also use and expand its use of vegetative ground cover on land to reduce erosion.

Critical: New production areas must only be located on land with the climatic, soil and topographic conditions suitable for intensity level of the agricultural production planned.

General: The farm must have a soil or crop fertilization program based on soil characteristics and properties, periodic soil or foliage sampling and analysis, and advice from a competent and impartial professional or authority. The number of soil or foliage samples must correspond with the size of the production area, types of soil, and variations in its properties, as well as results of previous analyses. The producer must keep the results of these analyses on the farm for a two-year period. Organic and non-organic fertilizers must be applied so as to avoid any potential negative impacts on the environment. The farm must give priority to organic fertilization using residues generated by the farm.

The farm must use and expand its use of vegetative ground cover to reduce erosion and improve soil fertility; structure and organic material content, as well as minimize the use of herbicides. The farm must promote the use of fallow areas with natural or planted vegetation in order to recover natural fertility.

Critical: New production areas must only be located on land with the climatic, soil and topographic conditions suitable for intensity level of the agricultural production planned. The establishment of new production areas must be based on land use capacity studies that demonstrate long-term production capacity. The cutting of natural forest cover or burning to prepare new production areas is not permitted.

Processing

Systems for wastewater treatment approved by local and national authorities. All packaging facilities must have waste traps to prevent solid waste contaminating water. Wastewater discharge not allowed if not living up to water quality standards in the country (or RA’s if not available). Farms that regularly discharge wastewater must have a water quality and analysis program.

Greenhouse gas emissions should be mitigated through measures such as planting of trees, reduced tillage, covering of soils.

Tools profile filters