Over the last few years, SAI Platform conducted a series of studies and projects aimed at identifying the best existing indicators and tools to help farmers monitor the sustainability of their farms.
SPA Phases 1 and 2
In mid 2010, the Sustainable Performance Assessment (SPA) project was launched - aiming to extract the best indicators and assessment tools from existing farm sustainability evaluation methods. The internationaly renouned Dutch center for environment and agriculture - CLM - was contracted to help do that work.
Over time, the project progressed through three different phases and outcomes.
Each phase was “steered” by volunteer member representatives (over 20 people) and reviewed by recognised external experts:
- Phase 1: List and benchmark of existing indicators (published internally end 2010)
- Phase 2: List and benchmark of existing sustainability tools (published internally in 2011)
At the end of phase 2, member companies agreed that the most promising route for their purpose was to add calculation tools on climate, biodiversity, water etc as separate modules to existing Farm Management Systems (FMS). This had to be completed in a consistent manner to make the resulting indicators of future FMS comparable and aggregable.
SPA Phase 3
At the end 2011, the third phase of SPA was launched to define a set of factsheets with requirements (farm data, algorithms and indicators) which would serve as guidelines for builders of dedicated software and FMS.
The outcome of SPA phase three is a final report 1.0 containing a set of seven factsheets on climate change and energy; water use; nutrient efficiency; soil quality; biodiversity; pesticides; and land use. Other factsheets may follow in the future on subjects such as animal welfare; farm economics; occupational health and safety.
Version 2.0 of the report was published in April 2014.