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. 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 two segments: critical and continuous improvement. The critical criteria need to be fully met in order for a farm or group to obtain or maintain a certificate. Three years after certification, a 50 % compliance of continuous improvement criteria is required and another three years later, this should have reached 90 %. 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.

The latest version of the standard combines crop and cattle production and is valid from July 2017.

Farming

General compliance:

Water conservation program that ensures the rational use of water resources. Program activities must make use of best available technology and resources, consider maintenance of water distribution network and the minimizing of water use. Record annual water volume provided by 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 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 criteria:

All aquatic ecosystems identified, protected and restored through 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 compliance:

Farms that irrigate must employ mechanisms to precisely determine and demonstrate that volume of water applied and duration of the application are not excessive or wasteful. Demonstrating water quantity and duration of application are based on climatic information, available soil moisture, soil properties and characteristics. Irrigation system well designed and maintained to avoid leakage.

Critical criteria:

General compliance:

Soil or crop fertilization program based on soil characteristics and properties; periodic soil or foliage sampling, analysis and advice from competent and impartial professional or authority. The number of soil or foliage samples must correspond to 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 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 criteria:

Integrated pest-management program, complying with a list of prohibited chemical and biological substances; for more information see Pesticides.

General compliance:

Integrated pest-management program based on ecological principles for the control of harmful pests (insects, plants, animals and microbes). Give priority to the use of physical, mechanical, cultural and biological control methods, and the least possible use of agrochemicals. Activities for monitoring pest populations, training personnel, and applying integrated pest-management techniques. Recording occurring pest infestations. Only controlled fumigation allowed for post-harvest treatment that minimize health effects of workers.The use of fire for pest and disease management only used if it is the option of least environmental impact in comparison with other pest control measures.

Rotating chemical products and reducing their use for crop production. The substances and applications should be recorded and 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 criteria:

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

General compliance:

Existing aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems must be identified, protected and restored through conservation program, including 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. Minimum separation of production areas from natural terrestrial ecosystems where chemical products are not used. Vegetated protection zone established by planting or by natural regeneration between different permanent or semi-permanent crop production areas.

Inventory of farm wildlife and wildlife habitats. 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. Use and expand vegetative ground covers on banks and bottoms of drainage canals. Establish and maintain vegetation barriers between crop and areas of human activity, consisting of permanent native vegetation with trees, bushes or other plants in order to promote biodiversity. Plan to maintain or restore connectivity of natural ecosystems, 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. Farms in areas where original natural vegetation is not forest must dedicate at least 30 % of the farm area for conservation or recovery of the typical ecosystems. Integrated pest-management program; for more information see Pesticides.

Critical criteria:

New production areas located on land with the climatic, soil and topographic conditions suitable for intensity level of the agricultural production planned. Establishment of new production areas based on land use capacity studies demonstrating 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 prohibited on farm. Cultural or ethnic groups allowed to hunt or collect fauna in controlled manner and in areas designated for those purposes.

General compliance:

Water conservation program that considers water re-circulation and reuse, making use of best available technology and resources.

Critical criteria:

General compliance:

Wastewater from washing of machinery used for agrochemical applications must be collected and must not be mixed with domestic wastewater or discharged to the environment without previous treatment.

Critical criteria:

No discharge or deposit of industrial or domestic wastewater into natural water bodies without demonstrating that discharged water complies with respective legal requirements, and that its physical and biochemical characteristics do not degrade the receiving water body. If legal requirements do not exist, the discharged wastewater must comply with a specified list of minimum parameters. Mixing of wastewater with uncontaminated water for discharge into the environment prohibited.

General compliance:

Annual reporting of energy sources and the amount of energy used from each source for production processes, transport and domestic use within farm limits. Energy efficiency plan with goals and implementation activities for increased efficiency, reducing dependency on non-renewable sources and for increasing use of renewable energy. Where appropriate, the use of on-farm energy sources must be preferred. Implementing practices to diminish emissions of greenhouse gases and increasing carbon dioxide sequestration e.g. through improvement of energy efficiency.

Critical criteria:

General compliance:

The farm must provide workers in all work areas with basic services, resources and working conditions necessary to comply with the occupational health and safety program objectives and with the safety, health, and cleanliness requirements of applicable laws and standard. Facilities for human hygiene purposes in all sites with worker presence. Workers consulted about provided services, resources and working conditions.

Critical criteria:

Farmers, workers, and their families have access to safe drinking water. Safe drinking water provided through access to public drinking water system or by the farm management or group administrator. In the absence of either of these, group administrators train smallholders in applying drinking water treatments.

Separate, voluntary module on climate change mitigation and adaptation.

General compliance:

Appropriate treatment systems available. These must comply with applicable national and local laws and have the respective operating permits. Operating procedures for industrial wastewater treatment systems. Packing plants have waste traps that prevent the discharge of solids from washing and packing into canals and water bodies. Farms that discharge wastewater continuously or periodically into environment must establish water-quality monitoring and analysis program taking into account potential contaminants and applicable laws. Legally accredited laboratory must conduct analyses; results kept on the farm at least three years. The program must comply with a list of minimum requirements for analysis and sampling of biochemical oxygen demand, total suspended solids, pH value, grease and oils and faecal coliforms.

Use of septic tanks is restricted to treatment of domestic wastewater (grey water and sewage) and non-industrial wastewater. Wastewater from washing of machinery used for agrochemical applications collected; mixing with domestic wastewater or discharge to environment without previous treatment avoided. If total or partial compliance with the requirements of this standard that relate directly or indirectly to the contamination of natural water bodies cannot be proven, the farm must conduct surface water quality monitoring and analysis program that continues until proven that farm activities are not contributing to the degradation of quality of receiving water bodies. Analysis must cover suspended solids, total nitrogen, phosphorus compounds and specified pesticides.

Aquatic ecosystems protected from erosion and agrochemical drift and runoff by establishing protected zones on the banks of rivers, permanent or temporary streams, creeks, springs, lakes, wetlands and around the edges of other natural water bodies. Farms must not alter natural water channels to create new drainage or irrigation canals. Previously converted water channels must maintain their natural vegetative cover or, in its absence, this cover must be restored.

Critical criteria:

No discharge or deposit of industrial or domestic wastewater into natural water bodies without demonstrating that discharged water complies with respective legal requirements, and that its physical and biochemical characteristics do not degrade the receiving water body. If legal requirements do not exist, the discharged wastewater must comply with a specified list of minimum parameters. Mixing of wastewater with uncontaminated water for discharge into the environment prohibited.

General compliance:

Soil erosion prevention and control program minimizing the risk of erosion and reducing existing erosion. Activities must be based on identification of soils affected by or susceptible to erosion, soil properties, climatic conditions, topography and agricultural practices in use. Special emphasis 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 criteria:

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. Establishment of new production areas must be based on land use capacity studies demonstrating long-term production capacity. The cutting of natural forest cover or burning to prepare new production areas is not permitted.

General compliance:

Soil or crop fertilization program based on soil characteristics and properties, periodic soil or foliage sampling and analysis, and advice from 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) and 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 criteria:

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. Establishment of new production areas must be based on land use capacity studies demonstrating long-term production capacity. The cutting of natural forest cover or burning to prepare new production areas is not permitted.

Processing

General compliance:

Appropriate treatment systems available. These must comply with applicable national and local laws and have the respective operating permits. Operating procedures for industrial wastewater treatment systems. Packing plants have waste traps that prevent the discharge of solids from washing and packing into canals and water bodies. Farms that discharge wastewater continuously or periodically into environment must establish water-quality monitoring and analysis program taking into account potential contaminants and applicable laws. Legally accredited laboratory must conduct analyses; results kept on the farm at least three years. The program must comply with a list of minimum requirements for analysis and sampling of biochemical oxygen demand, total suspended solids, pH value, grease and oils and faecal coliforms.

Use of septic tanks is restricted to treatment of domestic wastewater (grey water and sewage) and non-industrial wastewater. Wastewater from washing of machinery used for agrochemical applications collected; mixing with domestic wastewater or discharge to environment without previous treatment avoided. If total or partial compliance with the requirements of this standard that relate directly or indirectly to the contamination of natural water bodies cannot be proven, the farm must conduct surface water quality monitoring and analysis program that continues until proven that farm activities are not contributing to the degradation of quality of receiving water bodies. Analysis must cover suspended solids, total nitrogen, phosphorus compounds and specified pesticides.

Aquatic ecosystems protected from erosion and agrochemical drift and runoff by establishing protected zones on the banks of rivers, permanent or temporary streams, creeks, springs, lakes, wetlands and around the edges of other natural water bodies. Farms must not alter natural water channels to create new drainage or irrigation canals. Previously converted water channels must maintain their natural vegetative cover or, in its absence, this cover must be restored.

Critical criteria:

No discharge or deposit of industrial or domestic wastewater into natural water bodies without demonstrating that discharged water complies with respective legal requirements, and that its physical and biochemical characteristics do not degrade the receiving water body. If legal requirements do not exist, the discharged wastewater must comply with a specified list of minimum parameters. Mixing of wastewater with uncontaminated water for discharge into the environment prohibited.

General compliance:

Integrated waste management program for generated waste products. Avoiding or reducing use of products that have actual or potential negative impacts on the environment or human health, reusing and recycling waste. Sources and types of waste identified and quantity estimated. Use of open waste dumps and open-air burning of waste not permitted. Burning of waste products only allowed in incinerator designed for that purpose.

Final or semi-permanent waste deposit areas must be designed and managed to reduce risks of environmental contamination and damage to human health. Its location must be in accordance with applicable laws regarding distances from areas of human activity, water channels and sources, and conservation areas. Packing plants have waste traps that prevent the discharge of solids from washing and packing into canals and water bodies. Farms must not transfer waste to persons or businesses without checking that its treatment or final use complies with legal requirements and the requirements of this standard. Waste products or materials that have been in contact with agrochemicals or any other toxic or harmful substances must not be given away without first verifying that they will be used for similar purposes that do not represent a danger to human health or produce negative environmental impacts.

Critical criteria:

No deposit of organic or inorganic solids, such as domestic or industrial waste, rejected products, construction debris or rubble, soil and stones from excavations, rubbish from cleaning land, or other materials into natural water bodies.

General compliance:

Wastewater from washing of machinery used for agrochemical applications must be collected and must not be mixed with domestic wastewater or discharged to the environment without previous treatment.

Critical criteria:

No discharge or deposit of industrial or domestic wastewater into natural water bodies without demonstrating that discharged water complies with respective legal requirements, and that its physical and biochemical characteristics do not degrade the receiving water body. If legal requirements do not exist, the discharged wastewater must comply with a specified list of minimum parameters. Mixing of wastewater with uncontaminated water for discharge into the environment prohibited.

General compliance:

The farm must implement practices to diminish emissions of greenhouse gases and increase carbon dioxide sequestration. Such practices include soil cover management, planting trees and other perennial vegetation, proper sourcing and management of fertilizers and fuels, management of effluent ponds and manure, proper waste management, use of clean technologies, improvement of energy efficiency, reduction in tillage, and participation in local or regional initiatives aimed at greenhouse gas reduction and carbon dioxide sequestration.

Annual reporting of energy sources and amount of energy used from each source for production processes, transport and domestic use within farm limits. Energy efficiency plan with goals and implementation activities for increased efficiency, reducing dependency on non-renewable sources and for increasing use of renewable energy. Where appropriate, the use of on-farm energy sources must be preferred.

Critical criteria:

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