By Jennifer Dungait, Ph.D. The idea of soil health is a relatively new scientific concept…
In a first for the industry, nonprofit certifier A Greener World has launched a plan-based regenerative certification, Certified Regenerative by A Greener World (AGW). As public interest in sustainability continues to increase and broaden in its scope, the demand for rigorous, meaningful assurances of responsible practices has grown. Building on its successful family of leading labels, the new certification will provide a whole-farm assurance of sustainability, measuring benefits forsoil, water, air, biodiversity, infrastructure, animal welfare and social responsibility. The program will be backed by A Greener World’s ISO/IEC Guide 17065 accreditation, demonstrating excellence in auditing and certification—giving farmers, consumers and buyers confidence in reliability and impact.
The core feature of Certified Regenerative by AGW is a farmer-led Regenerative Plan whereby farms assess risk, set goals and track progress toward their own meaningful milestones. Plans are written in partnership with farmers by experts in the field and evaluated by a Review Panel composed of the world’s leading thinkers in regenerative agriculture. Currently most regenerative claims are not verified at all, and the few verified labels are either limited in scope or require Organic certification as a prerequisite, excluding 99% of U.S. farmland and hardwiring practices which are inherently not regenerative.
Key features of the program include:
- Trustworthy, transparent and independent. Standards, policies and procedures developed with broad input and publicly available.
- Meaningful animal welfare standards. Animals raised outdoors with no teeth clipping, tail docking, dehorning or beak trimming. Responsible practices with no added hormones or routine antibiotics. The only regenerative label to ensure audited, high-welfare animal management and
- Farmer-led. The only regenerative agriculture program that functions as a management tool, helping producers meet their own regenerative goals through an audited, regenerative plan.
- Access a growing market. Get early access to regenerative markets—without being certified Organic. Certified products are listed in AGW’s online directory, frequented by thousands of consumers seeking sustainable, high-welfare meat, dairy, eggs, fiber, grains and produce.
- No audit fatigue. One audit, multiple market-leading claims. Choose from AGW’s respected certifications to demonstrate grassfed, non-GMO, humane, just, water-friendly, environmentally sustainable practices—free of added hormones, routine antibiotics and toxic chemicals.
A Greener World is conducting a pilot program to evaluate standards, plans and auditing procedures with select farms across the globe. The entire program will be trialed and assessed in a range of environments, climates and socioeconomic parameters to ensure meaningful outcomes are achieved, with refinements made as needed. A Greener World expects to announce its first cohort of Certified Regenerative by AGW producers in 2021.
AGW Executive Director Andrew Gunther says,
“The challenges we face as a planet, as individuals and as rural communities are too large and too urgent to keep pursuing strategies that result in single-issue ‘solutions’ and a two-tiered food system. Regenerative is not just for Organic. With Certified Regenerative by AGW we are inviting all producers—no matter where you’re starting—to partner with us in a journey of regeneration.
This certification is also an innovative tool to help in farm planning and management, and to protect against future disruptions and crises. With COVID-19, climate change and potentially long-term economic disruptions, resilience is top of mind for all of us—whether we’re growing food or eating it. This certification supports resilient systems that are high-bar, pragmatic and able to regenerate poor farmland—all at the same time. We can restore ecological balance by focusing on soil and promoting continual improvement throughout the ecosystem.”