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Building sustainability and resilience in organic supply chains

Building sustainability and resilience in organic supply chains is focus of new report from Soil Association Certification.

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Maintaining stability and confidence in supply chains could become increasingly complex in the face of an uncertain Brexit with potential changes in the way we trade with other nations. For an expanding organic market, a failure to understand and face these challenges could have consequences for future growth. With this in mind, Soil Association Certification has taken a closer look at organic supply chains in a new report that identifies key recommendations for building resilience and sustainability to meet future demand.

‘Organic Supply Chain 2017: Challenges and Opportunities’ has been developed with contributions from more than 100 organic businesses, including producers, gathering a consensus on the obstacles and prospects within the sector and noting key recommendations for building strength and integrity.

The findings are supported by a range of case studies, showcasing businesses who are already delivering inspiring solutions. One of these is Innovative Farmers, a network that supports on-farm research and development. For the organic sector, supporting knowledge exchange and technical capability in farming can boost productivity and maintain supply in an expanding market.

Lee Holdstock, Trade Relations Manager at the Soil Association, said: “Sustainable food and farming needs stable, sustainable supply chains and future growth depends on resilience. The challenges at the base of the supply chain are very different from those further along, but the performance at the base can have a very significant impact on the whole chain’s success. One of the things this report highlights is a need for universal increased support for farmers to develop supply by building resilience on the ground: programmes like Innovative Farmers are already helping to explore solutions to some of the technical challenges of production and, where organic is concerned, anything that supports resilience at the base of the chain will have knock on benefits for the processors, retailers and consumers as well.”

The report makes other key recommendations for strengthening supply chains, including: making effective use of tech solutions that improve efficiency and confidence; increasing transparency and better collaboration along the supply chain to affirm trust and build market stability; reducing UK reliance on organic imports to support domestic production; and developing understanding of growth markets such as export and foodservice to maximise success.

The full report can be downloaded at www.soilassociation.org/supplychain

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