FSS │ Project - Implementation of food security criteria within biomass sustainability standards

Keywords

Food security, human rights, certification, standards, biomass

Summary

The Food Security Standard (FSS) takes up the topic of local food security and the Human Right to Adequate Food as new elements for sustainability standards and certification schemes. It provides practicable and measurable food security criteria for all kind of traded agricultural products. The FSS represents a best-practice criteria set to ensure that the Right to Food is not violated at local level when producing and trading certified agricultural products and other biomass. Aim of the FSS Project is to implement, test and, if necessary, revise the existing previously developed set of food security criteria in food insecure regions (see also ESSZert Project). This will be done by a Multi-Stakeholder approach and lead to the completion of a range of hands-on implementation tools for sustainability standards and certification schemes.

International demand for agricultural commodities is steadily growing due to a rising consumption for food, feedstuff, energy and material use. In view to avoid any competition between local food security and agri-exports, the EU and the German federal government prioritize food security above all other biomass uses in their bioeconomy strategies. However, until now, there are no criteria and verification instruments regarding food security; even the vast majority of certified agricultural production schemes does not check this.  

The Food Security Standard (FSS)
The Food Security Standard (FSS) takes up the Right to Food as a new element for sustainability standards and certification schemes. It provides practicable and measurable criteria for all kind of certified agricultural and biomass-based products independent of their later use. It is not a stand-alone standard but is designed as a criteria set which is to be integrated as a whole to the existing criteria and indicators of any sustainability standard and certification scheme. It is applicable to all biomass types and uses, farm sizes and business types. The FSS represents a best-practice set to ensure that the Right to Food is not violated at local level when producing and trading certified biomass.
The FSS, however, has not yet been tested in food insecure regions. Since May 2017, the NGOs WWF, Welthungerhilfe (WHH) and the Center for Development Research (ZEF) bring together their expertise to address these issues and provide hands-on solutions to be able to integrate local food security aspects in sustainability standards within the next 3 years.

The FSS │ Project
Aim of the FSS │ Project is to implement and complement the recently developed rights-based food security criteria in food insecure regions in Africa, Latin-America and Asia. In each pilot region, the project will be accompanied and analyzed by a representative stakeholder group (scientists, certification bodies, companies, civil society organizations, governmental representatives, worker groups etc.). Field experience will be gained in smallholder as well as in large scale agricultural settings. The experiences derived from this test phase will lead to a consolidation of the set of criteria and indicators and be integrated in a comprehensive auditor handbook and training materials.
The project comprises four main working areas:
1.  Field testing and implementation of the food security criteria in existing sustainability standards for biomass.
2.  Scientific accompanying research and development of assessment tools.
3.  Integration of the FSS in existing sustainability standards for biomass, development of audit tools and training curricula.
4.  Increase the awareness level of the relevance of the FSS for sustainability certification.

Starting with voluntary sustainability standards and certification systems, the elaborated Food Security Standard can gradually be adapted and implemented in national legislation. In the long term, this allows production and trade of certified biomass to contribute to local food security.

Main Cooperation Partners
Main Funding Partners

German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) via “Fachagentur für Nachwachsende Rohstoffe”

Further information

Fact Sheet 1: Brief project description
Fact Sheet 2: Brief information on the FSS criteria set

Malaysia trip report (02/2018): "From theory to practice: How food security criteria can be implemented in palm oil production in Sabah, Malaysia" » more

Publications

Beuchelt, T.D., Schneider, R. and H. Voigt. 2017. What business can do: Respecting the right to food when using biomass from food insecure countries. Presentation at the 2nd International BioSC Symposium "Towards an Integrated Bioeconomy", 28 November 2017, Cologne, Germany. » Download

Mohr, A., Beuchelt, T., Schneider, R. and D. Virchow. 2016. Solving Trade-Offs Between Food Security and Biomass Use: Rights-Based Food Security Criteria for Biomass Sustainability Standards and Certifications. Biomass & Bioenergy. Vol. 89, 133–145. Doi:10.1016/j.biombioe.2016.02.019 (open access). » Download

Mohr, A., Beuchelt, T., Schneider, R. and D. Virchow. 2015. Rights-Based Food Security Criteria for Biomass Sustainability Standards and Certifications. ZEF Working Papers No. 143, Center for Development Research (ZEF), Bonn, Germany. » Download

Duration of the Project

05 / 2017 - 04 / 2020

Team

WHH:

  • Dr. Rafaël Schneider (Overall Project Coordinator)
  • Rosa Nagel (Project Assistant)

WWF:

  • Martina Fleckenstein
  • Jenny Walther-Thoss
  • Dr. Liliana Gamba

Contact

Tina Beuchelt

Dr. Tina Beuchelt

Phone.:
+49-228-73-1847