The role of certification in the transition towards a more sustainable livestock sector

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingAbstract

Abstract

The production and consumption of food is linked to many environmental, economic and social challenges of our society today. Sustainability certification is widely seen as a strategy to address these challenges and encourage sustainable food consumption and production. Producers can potentially receive an added value for their certified products, it can help consumers to select sustainable produce. In recent years, the number of certification schemes in crop, livestock and aquaculture production has expanded rapidly. Insight in the effectiveness and validity of certification schemes is, however, limited. This research compared approaches used in global sustainability certification schemes in crop production and Dutch certification in egg and dairy production. The analysis shows the myriad of approaches (e.g. for auditing, scoring and reporting), sustainability indicators and organisation structures underlying sustainability certification. Each certification scheme presents its own perspective on sustainability and selects different sets of sustainability issues and indicators. This raises questions with regard to the credibility of certification systems. Moreover, the transparency of certification schemes, the accessibility for farmers to participate and actual sustainability improvement on farm, are issues that require attention. The study shows the influence that sustainability certification has on food consumption and production practices. Sustainability certification inherently requires dealing with tradeoffs between sustainability issues. How these trade-offs are addressed and prioritizations between sustainability issues are set by private certification organisations can have a large impact on food production. This raises the question whether a more hybrid form of governance combining public and private institutions is needed to support the transition towards a more sustainable livestock sector.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBook of Abstracts of the 72nd Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science
PublisherWageningen Academic Publishers
Pages467-467
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Aug 2021
Event72nd Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science - Davos, Switzerland
Duration: 30 Aug 20213 Sep 2021

Conference

Conference72nd Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science
Abbreviated titleEAAP 2021
CountrySwitzerland
CityDavos
Period30/08/213/09/21

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