“Sustainability” standards in U.S. study

May 21, 2008
Written by Leonardo Academy
May 21, 2008, Madison, WI — Since September 2007, Leonardo Academy has been promoting awareness of the development process of the Draft American National Standard for Trial Use for Sustainable Agriculture Practice, intended for subsequent approval as an American National Standard.
National meetings have been held in Berkeley, California and Arlington, Virginia, in addition to three national teleconferences, to inform interested parties and stakeholders about this standard development process. Due to increasing interest in the development of this standard following the Feb. 29, 2008 meeting in Arlington, Leonardo Academy has extended the deadline for applications for the standard development committee to May 23, 2008.
leonardo_academyThe Sustainable Agriculture Practice Standard is being developed in response to rising interest in practicing, defining, standardizing, and certifying sustainable agriculture. Establishing a national standard for sustainable agriculture practices has the opportunity to serve many purposes, including:
• Defining sustainability practices and indicators throughout the supply chain on a lifecycle basis.
• Distinguishing best practices in crop production and handling.
• Guiding producers and handlers through stages of incremental improvement.
• Providing a common set of metrics to gauge sustainability progress – whether in a private supply chain, an industry sector, or on a state/regional/national scale.
• Setting a reference benchmark for private sustainability efforts.
A draft standard for trial use was announced in the spring of 2007. A draft standard for trial use represents a beginning, not an end. It serves as a starting point from which stakeholder discussions can ensue and is intended to stimulate dialogue on key issues, such as the multiple interpretations of sustainability as it applies to agriculture, which must be addressed in order to establish a finalized American National Standard for Sustainable Agriculture Practice. The Standards Committee can change any component of the draft standard in the process to establish a final draft standard, which will be subject to public review and comment by other materially affected parties.
A copy of the draft standard for trial use can be downloaded from the Leonardo website.


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