ProTerra Foundation and the Impact Alliance

The ProTerra Foundation keeps advancing and promoting sustainability at all levels of the feed and food production system, committed to full transparency, traceability and origination throughout the supply chain, besides incentivizing the continue certification of high-quality supplies of crops, food, and feed.

However, when we consider environmental, social and animal welfare, how can we really make impact happen?

In an effort to scale up and become even more active in the whole supply chain, ProTerra has become a founding member of the Impact Alliance, launching “Impact Incentives” and “Impact Partnership Incentives” as market-driven working models to scale and improve sustainability performance at landscape levels.

What do these new concepts mean?

Impact Incentives refer to the certificates that are traded in support of a sustainability claim. They are a powerful tool to bypass long and complex supply chains, and to address the price conundrum that often inhibits the widescale adoption of full traceability standards. [1] Impact Incentives are similar to the credits of a traditional Book & Claim system, but with important evolutions to address some of the limitations of that model, for instance, they build in transparency between buyer and sellers, enabling buyers to directly connect with critical landscapes, eliminating any speculation, and working across separate commodities and standards to align the efforts of different industries.[2]

Impact Partnership Incentives refer to the delivery of training, verification, and data collection with the farmers, while offering stories, data and credibility back to the brands. The model gives brands and retailers the ability to reward specific landscape projects that are supporting producers to meet the expectations set by the standards and benchmarks.  This is critically important to help the more marginal farmers to improve their practices and participate in the schemes.

The Impact Alliance is based on a voluntary collaboration between sustainability standards owners, the founding members: Textile Exchange[3] (leather and cotton), the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef [4](beef), Global Food Partners[5] (eggs) and Proterra Foundation (soy and sugar).

The Alliance Members work together to define the common thresholds (e.g. Zero Gross Deforestation – and High Conservation Value areas), verification procedures and data sets for the different scopes that are attached to the incentives. This will allow leveraging separate and shared sources and markets, combining efforts to create more efficient systems, and reporting out on a much larger impact than if it was done individually.

Incentives are a fast and flexible tool for brands to signal their expectations and to support best practices at the start of their supply chains. Incentives are used by different industries to accelerate impact, going beyond certification by working across multiple commodities and scopes.

ProTerra and the Impact Incentives

In the case of ProTerra, the Impact Incentives are traded in support of the ProTerra sustainability claim, issued after a third-party audit, confirming that a set of criteria have been met in agricultural production. The physical goods and the Incentives are traded separately from each other to avoid double counting. An Incentive represents a specified quantity of raw material that has been produced but has not been segregated and physically traded as certified raw material.

How do Incentives work and what is the Impact?

Farms or organizations that produce sustainable products, in some cases cannot sell the product in a physical flow to the region where buyers are committed to support sustainable non-GMO production. In this case, buyers can acquire credit certificates equivalent to the use of soy, sugar or other commodities in their products. This approach is commonly taken by retailers as regards ingredients in their house brand, or by food product manufacturers, who need to engage more actively in sustainable sourcing.

Having more farms within the system creates scale for more sustainable practices, which increases positive impact on the ground, the respect of human rights and labour law, while improving environmental practices. Members and farmers that have certified material but cannot sell as segregated due to market developments or logistics can be potentially benefited.

ProTerra soy and sugar Impact Incentives are an efficient tool to help farms improve their agricultural practices and to promote and support sustainable non-GMO production through Impact Incentive premiums. 

Challenges for soy and sugar production

The Impact Alliance supports farmers and industry to engage with CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) and sustainable practices, including elements such as mitigating climate change, decreasing environmental impact, protecting biodiversity and human health, respecting human rights and labour law, improving environmental practices, avoiding land use change and using fewer pesticides. The system is designed to create initial and necessary incentives to facilitate the isolated flow of sustainable and GMO-free certified soy and sugar gradually.

Sugar crop, for instance, has a significant impact on many sensitive regions and has been connected to several environmental and social issues. When buying ProTerra sugar Impact Incentives, you can be sure that supplying companies have been independently verified against the following points:

  • Human rights and good labour practices such as workplace safety, equal opportunities, and particular attention to preventing child and forced labour;
  • Good agricultural practices, regarding soil fertility, water management and continuous efforts to reduce the use of fertilisers and pesticides;
  • Deforestation, and High Conservation Values

Path to Sustainable Development

The ProTerra Foundation believes that we are all responsible for pursuing the challenging sustainability path and that´s why we need to work together. Impact Incentives reach the producers directly and help them to play a role in the global value chains.

The farms registered in the program must comply with pre-established thresholds. When farms comply with the requirements, they can sell incentives for their volume of production and the brands then buy to balance the use of these raw materials. This project offers a unique opportunity for producers to receive financial support and remain strong in improving their practices.

The ProTerra Foundation sees in the Impact Alliance a powerful tool to create scale, improve transparency and traceability throughout the supply chain and to support businesses to contribute to the protection of biodiversity by switching to sustainable production, conserve natural resources and ensure that local communities are treated with dignity and respect.