More than pretty landscapes: how Canada stacks up globally on sustainability

Photo: Debra Murphy, 2017

Canada is internationally know for its clean water, Rocky Mountains, and endless prairie skies. Our agricultural groups use this “clean and pristine” currency to their benefit whenever they are selling our wares overseas, but does a blue sky and waving grain really sell more crops? More than that, can we quantify Canada’s record on soil, water, and biodiversity in such a way that international customers can access and easily understand?

The answer is yes, and the work is already underway. Canadian Agriculture Hall of Fame member Robynne Anderson recently shared her international experience with the FarmTech audience, and Shaun Haney sat down with her following her keynote address to learn more of how Canada stacks up on the global scale.

Anderson, who is president and founder of Emerging Ag Inc., shares the United Nations has laid out the ground work for what “sustainable” means when it comes to agriculture, and that’s a huge first step. Canada easily meets much of the criteria under the social and economic pillars, and does well on environment as well.

But without measurement, there is no management, and Anderson explains that Canada is one of 193 countries that have agreed to measure and share results on each metric. Measuring means we’ll have a better idea of where we’re doing well on water use, water quality, soil health, and biodiversity, and where we need to improve.

Anderson explains that the sharing of these sustainability measurements isn’t necessarily about head-to-head comparisons with our neighbours or trading partners, but it does provide important information for our customers to back-up our brand of providing safe, nutritious food and food ingredients, grown sustainably.

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