At the Organic World Congress in 2011, the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) General Assembly (GA) mandated through its Motion 57 (sustainability motion) that IFOAM should, on behalf of the Organic Movement, create an action network to re-position organic practices as the mainstream approach for sustainability in agriculture worldwide, and to provide guidance on how to improve its own practices.
In early 2012, IFOAM and its allies launched the Sustainable Organic Agriculture Action Network (SOAAN) with the purpose of fulfilling the GA’s motion. One of SOAAN’s initial tasks was to draft a reference document that describes best practices that lead to sustainability.
Starting in 2013, IFOAM and SOAAN sought feedback from organic and non-organic stakeholders on the draft strategies of the Organic Movement and on best practices of farming and processing.
This development of the Best Practice Reference is a further step in completing IFOAM’s new Organic Guarantee System. The Sustainability and Organic Best Practice Reference is intended to be used in the following ways:
1. Serve as guidelines for improving the sustainability of farms and businesses;
2. Set research agendas for improving organic and sustainable farming and value chains;
3. Benchmark programs and sustainability assessments;
4. Develop indicators and metrics;
5. Measure global and regional impacts;
6. Inform Policy agendas;
7. Serve as a resource for education and awareness building
Through RAFI’s Just Foods Program and as a member of the Sustainable Organic Agriculture Action Network (SOAAN), an international alliance of institutions, RAFI has called for continued innovations in organic – to push the current boundaries and to fully incorporate all of the values of organic into best practices.