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Good Practice Matrix

Farms must demonstrate good practice in several of the criteria in the Good Practice Matrix, below. The criteria are split into three areas: Ethical, Environmental, Economic.

Click on the links in the Matrix listed below to reveal further information on each area of Good Practice. Please note all the flagship farms operate to generally high standards in all areas of the Matrix. Links within each area are to Flagship Farms that show particularly innovative practices in that area.


ETEthical

Ethical (acceptable practices)

In this section we consider good practices demonstrated by farmers in human health & welfare (including employment and food safety), animal health & welfare, business ethics & supplier relationships, and rural landscape protection.

ETEthical

Human Health & Welfare

Employee health & welfare

Employers in all sectors in Europe are obliged to ensure health and safety in the workplace, including working hours and fair remuneration.

In each local European country there are varying levels of pay working practices; what demonstrates good practice is the voluntary adoption of good recognised employment practices, with additional benefits that are relevant at a local level.

Potatoes, Poland  Baby Leaf, Spain  Potatoes and Carrots, UK  Potatoes, France  Beef, Ireland 

ETEthical

Human Health & Welfare

Food safety

Food safety covers microbiological, chemical and physical contamination of food products and the processes of harvesting, handling, preparation, and storage of raw materials. These processes must be done in ways that prevent any contamination and maintain the highest levels of food safety.

Many farming organisations now work to recognised, independently audited assurance schemes, which minimise risks in terms of food safety.

Potatoes, Poland  Tomatoes, Portugal  Eggs, UK  Lettuce, Spain  Dairy, Holland   Cereals, France  Baby Leaf, Spain  Potatoes, Austria 

ETEthical

Animal Health & Welfare

Nutrition

Good practice involves feeding animals with safe, nutritious feedstuffs of known and documented constituency and origin.

Beef, UK  

ETEthical

Animal Health & Welfare

Medication & growth promoters

Reducing the need to use medicines to prevent and treat disease, by providing for their nutritional, physical and behavioural needs.

The responsible and transparent use of animal medicines when used.

Beef, UK  

ETEthical

Animal Health & Welfare

Genetic Selection

Genetic selection of animals and crops over both the long and the short term must balance the needs of all three Es of sustainability. Some selection studies have shown that over-selection for a single trait may have adverse or unexpected effects on other traits. There are issues within the dairy and poultry industries due to the selection of traits which adversely affect the animal’s health

Beef, UK  

ETEthical

Animal Health & Welfare

Animal cloning

McDonald’s does not currently support the use of animal products sourced from cloned animals in our supply chain. We will continue to monitor scientific findings and consumer opinion on animal cloning.

ETEthical

Animal Health & Welfare

Husbandry

Ensuring that all animals involved or affected by the production of food products aretreated humanely throughout their lives.

The operation of an effective herd health/disease health management programme.

Beef, Ireland  Eggs, UK  Dairy, Holland   Beef, UK  

ETEthical

Animal Health & Welfare

Transport

The transportation of animals in a humane way, in well-maintained vehicles, designed with the welfare of animals in mind, for the least time possible, and sympathetic handling by properly trained and competent personnel.

ETEthical

Animal Health & Welfare

Emergency slaughter

If it is necessary to slaughter any casualty animals, then the method used must be ethical and must not cause the animal any pain or suffering. When necessary, casualty slaughter must be carried out immediately by a trained and competent person.

ETEthical

Business ethics & supplier relationships

Agricultural products need to be produced in accordance with acceptable social standards throughout the whole supply chain and by agricultural operators of all sizes. Therefore the nature of business dealings between farmers and their customers, communities and suppliers needs to be fair, transparent and conducted with honesty and integrity. Good practices include fair remuneration and contractual terms, compliance with the law, and accurate tax and accounting methods.

Beef, UK   Potatoes, Germany  Potatoes and Carrots, UK 

ETEthical

Rural landscape preservation

As farmers are the house-keepers of the countryside they have a crucial role to play in its preservation and improvement. Many farmers are now working in collaboration with environmental organisations to get the maximum benefit for the local wildlife and community.

Good practices include the preservation of landscapes that reflect rural heritage, and natural resources of 'green space'. This may also encompass ponds and streams; roads, paths, steps, and walls; buildings; fences, and hedgerows.

Potatoes, Austria  Potatoes, Germany 

ETEnvironmental

Environmental (protecting the planet)

Agriculture utilises natural resources such as land and water in the production of food which can result in damaging environmental impacts. Farmers have a fine balance to strike between minimising pollution and protecting natural resources while continuing to run an economically-efficient business.

However, farmers have the opportunity to minimise negative impacts on the environment through developing and implementing good practice.

The farms featured here have demonstrated good environmental practice relevant to their situation; some due to implementing innovative practices in a developing economy and some by the adoption of new technology.

ETEnvironmental

Climate change

Here we use climate change to refer more specifically to anthropogenic climate change.

Agriculture is a significant contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions but at the same time represents a huge opportunity to help deliver reductions.

ETEnvironmental

Climate change

Greenhouse gas emissions

There is no silver bullet to reducing agricultural greenhouse gas emissions but there is a huge difference in emissions between an efficient and a not-so-efficient farm. Research has shown that generally carbon efficient farms are also economically efficient farms.

Examples here include -Zero tillage systems, mixed rotations incorporating cover crops and green manures, and applying composts and manures, all increase the levels of organic matter in the soil, which can then accumulate and store bio digesters/ carbon capture.

Potatoes, Poland  Baby Leaf, Spain 

ETEnvironmental

Climate change

Energy usage efficiency

Greater energy efficiency is achieved by changes to operating procedures or by substituting technically more advanced equipment to produce the same level of end-use services (eg lighting, heating, motor drive) with less electricity.

For example, reducing the use of nitrogen fertilisers (and decreasing the mechanical power requirements per hectare), greatly reduce the amounts of energy required.

Eggs, UK  Baby Leaf, Spain  Potatoes, Germany 
Potatoes and Carrots, UK 

ETEnvironmental

Climate change

Renewable energy

Obtaining energy from renewable sources, rather than from fossil fuels (such as coal power stations, diesel) removes the carbon emissions problem.

Renewable sources of energy include wood, waste and biomass, geothermal, wind, photovoltaic, solar thermal energy and hydroelectricity.

ETEnvironmental

Natural resources - Soil

Soil plays a critical role in maintaining a balanced ecosystem and in producing quality agricultural products. Its functions include the support of ecological habitats, the regulation of water flow and the storage of organic matter and nutrients.

Avoiding threats to soil, such as erosion, pollution and compaction from intensive farming methods helps to protect other parts of the environment and ultimately leads to long term sustainability of an important natural resource.

ETEnvironmental

Natural resources - Soil

Soil fertility & health

Soil testing for nutrients is an important factor in environmental protection and in maximising potential returns for the farmer from the crop.

This significantly reduces the risk of applying more nutrients than the plant can use, which could then leach into the natural environment. Soil pH levels can also monitored to achieve the best possible growing conditions.

Potatoes, Poland  Beef, Ireland  Tomatoes, Portugal 
Lettuce, Spain  Cereals, France  Potatoes, Austria 
Potatoes, Germany  Potatoes, France 

ETEnvironmental

Natural resources - Soil

Soil, erosion, deforestation & salinisation

This area covers the loss and degradation of productive agricultural land as a direct result of overgrazing, unsuitable cultivation practices, deforestation, land clearance and the overuse of water for irrigation.

Planting hedgerows and cover crops reduce windblown and water borne soil erosion.

Potatoes, Poland  Potatoes, Austria  Potatoes and Carrots, UK 

ETEnvironmental

Natural resources - Soil

Soil contamination

Soil contamination means the pollution of soils by dangerous chemicals or infectious microbes (viruses, bacteria, or parasites) so that it becomes unusable or harmful. These contaminants may be physical, chemical, biological, or radiological substances. This generally occurs due to BAD practices being undertaken.

ETEnvironmental

Natural resources - Water

Water pollution

Natural or human-induced nutrients (especially phosphorus and nitrogen) entering a body of water can lead to eutrophication. Results include choking aquatic vegetation or algae blooms (phytoplankton), and severe reductions in water quality, which ultimately affects fish, and invertebrate populations.

Potatoes, Poland  Beef, Ireland  Cereals, France 
Potatoes, Austria  Potatoes, Germany 

ETEnvironmental

Natural resources - Water

Water usage efficiency

Water shortages may occur due to weather extremes, overdepletion of aquifers and reservoirs, or unequal division of water between communities and industry.

The protection and efficient management and use of water resources, particularly for irrigation, will reduce the risk of water shortage and possible crop failure.

Potatoes, Poland  Beef, Ireland  Cereals, France 
Potatoes, Austria  Potatoes, Germany 

ETEnvironmental

Natural resources - Air

Air emissions

The main agricultural air pollutant is ammonia, which is derived from animal manures and slurry and is associated with soil acidification and eutrophication (methane and nitrous oxide gases are covered in GHG emissions).

Systems in place which are explained in the Anton Stokman dairy farm case study, have reduced ammonia emissions by 30-50% - and they have the evidence to prove this. Change Agro Technology to Agrotechnology please.

ETEnvironmental

Natural resources - Air

Air emissions

The main agricultural air pollutant is ammonia, which is derived from animal manures and slurry and is associated with soil acidification and eutrophication (methane and nitrous oxide gases are covered in GHG emissions).

Dairy, Holland  

ETEnvironmental

Agrotechnology

Agrochemical minimisation and control

Agricultural Plant Protection Products (PPPs) such as pesticides prevent disease and improve food supply, but also pose potential risks to the environment and to human health. The risks vary greatly depending on pesticides toxicity and exposure.

Inputs of other agrochemicals (such as nutrients) are also important in agriculture as they can raise productivity. A build up of surplus nutrients however can cause environmental damage (water and air pollution) and can result in economic inefficiencies to the farmer

Technological advances, such as fertigation systems, can result in the accurate and efficient application of agrochemicals and PPPs, ensuring efficiency and avoiding environmental damage.

Potatoes, Poland  Tomatoes, Portugal  Lettuce, Spain 
Cereals, France  Potatoes, Germany 
Potatoes and Carrots, UK  Potatoes, France 

ETEnvironmental

Agrotechnology

Genetically modified organisms

The use of biotechnology in food production is a very complex subject. Although some genetically modified ingredients have been widely approved for consumption by health authorities in EU countries, European consumers have shown a clear preference for non-GM products and crops.

There are no flagship farmers growing GM crops

ETEnvironmental

Ecosystem Protection

High Conservation Value (HCV)

High Conservation Value (HCV) areas are critical areas in a landscape which need to be appropriately managed in order to maintain or enhance High Conservation Values. Any habitat type - including those modified by humans - can potentially be designated an HCV area

High conservation value land (HCVL) are areas of outstanding and critical importance due to their environmental, socio-economic, biodiversity or landscape values. They play an essential role in maintaining biodiversity, especially protecting indigenous species, as well as controlling climate change through photosynthesis and carbon storage.

HCVLs are under increasing threat as a consequence of growing economies, increasing consumption, and populations with demands for new land.

Potatoes, Austria  Potatoes and Carrots, UK  Potatoes, France 

ETEnvironmental

Agrotechnology

High Conservation Value (HCV)

High Conservation Value (HCV) areas are critical areas in a landscape which need to be appropriately managed in order to maintain or enhance High Conservation Values. Any habitat type - including those modified by humans - can potentially be designated an HCV area

High conservation value land (HCVL) are areas of outstanding and critical importance due to their environmental, socio-economic, biodiversity or landscape values. They play an essential role in maintaining biodiversity, especially protecting indigenous species, as well as controlling climate change through photosynthesis and carbon storage.

HCVLs are under increasing threat as a consequence of growing economies, increasing consumption, and populations with demands for new land.

ETEnvironmental

Ecosystem protection

Habitat and species preservation

The loss of natural habitat and wildlife by the expansion of human activities, (including agriculture), can lead to the destruction of areas of natural habitats, including forests, grasslands and wetlands.

Good practice can include planting areas of 'Linnet' (Land Invested in Nature, Natural Eco-Tillage), which are then left in a completely natural state with no application of chemicals or fertilisers and no harvesting carried out. These areas provide important food sources for birds and other wildlife, especially in areas dominated by grassland.

Beef, Ireland  Eggs, UK  Lettuce, Spain  Dairy, Holland   Cereals, France  Potatoes, Austria  Potatoes, Germany  Potatoes and Carrots, UK 

ETEnvironmental

Ecosystem protection

Invasive species

A species is regarded as invasive if it has been introduced by human action to a location or region where it did not previously occur naturally (non-native), and becomes a pest in the new location, threatening the local species and biodiversity, and valued environmental, agricultural or personal resources.

Ecological removal of invasive species (such as Japanese knotweed) improves local biodiversity.

ETEnvironmental

Ecosystem protection

General farm waste

This can be considered as any waste which is non-hazardous and also includes plant and animal wastes. These should be, as far as possible, utilised on the farm or recycled.

This may include raw materials that do not meet customer specifications being utilised as a livestock feed or composted on site. Any waste materials which cannot be utilised on farm should be recycled whenever possible.

Potatoes and Carrots, UK  Potatoes, France 

ETEnvironmental

Ecosystem protection

Production waste

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ETEnvironmental

Waste

Hazardous waste

This is waste possessing chemical, physical, or biological characteristics that represent a threat to either the environment or human health (for example, pesticide or medicine containers). All hazardous waste must be disposed of appropriately and according to legislation.

ETEnvironmental

Waste

Waste to landfill

This comprises permanent disposal of waste into the ground, by the filling of man-made voids or similar features, or the construction of landforms above ground level (land-raising).

It requires stringent environmental control to prevent hazardous wastes or pollutants from escaping to the surrounding soils or air (for example, plastic from silage wrap).

ETEnvironmental

Economic (long-term economic viability)

One of the main purposes of the Flagship Farms programme is to demonstrate that improved standards and good practices can provide economic benefit to the farmers. Successful farmers maintain a standard of sufficient high-quality production through methods that are economically viable.

Farming is a large employer (36% of the global working population) amongst rural communities and with increased mechanisation there are reduced labour requirements. There is a sensitive balance to strike between improving good practices in terms of new technologies and providing local employment opportunities.

Farms have demonstrated sensitivity and good practices by working closely with both producers and suppliers, enhancing relationships and ensuring secure supply and quality of product. Good practices in this area are mutually beneficial to both the farmer and other stakeholders.

Here we concentrate on two areas: sufficient high quality production and community investment.

Baby Leaf, Spain 

ETEnvironmental

Sufficient High Quality Production

Producer income security & access to market

The long term economic viability of farming activity depends on producer incomes. Fair and stable remuneration of agricultural producers and market accessibility will support a sustainable producer-purchaser relationship and ensure continuity of supply.

Tomatoes, Portugal  Eggs, UK  Cereals, France 
Potatoes, Austria  Potatoes, Germany 
Potatoes and Carrots, UK 

ETEnvironmental

Sufficient High Quality Production

Agricultural input costs

Against a backdrop of growing demand for food, the underlying costs of production will also drive food availability and affordability.

Good practices involve working closely with both producers and suppliers, enhancing relationships and ensuring secure supply and quality of product.

Potatoes, Poland  Beef, Ireland  Tomatoes, Portugal 
Lettuce, Spain  Dairy, Holland   Cereals, France 
Potatoes, Austria  Beef, UK   Potatoes, Germany 

ETEnvironmental

Sufficient High Quality Production

Crop & livestock disease

Crop and livestock diseases (such as foot and mouth disease), can be highly contagious or transmissible and have the potential for very rapid spread, irrespective of national borders. This in turn can have serious socio-economic and possibly public health consequences.

Eggs, UK  Lettuce, Spain  Beef, UK   Potatoes, Germany 

ETEnvironmental

Community investment

Local employment & sourcing

36% of the global workforce is employed in agriculture, making it the second largest labour sector globally.

Local communities benefit from employment creation and the knock-on effects of trade in agriculture, both of which contribute to the growth, development and economic wellbeing of rural communities.

Potatoes, Poland  Eggs, UK  Baby Leaf, Spain 
Potatoes, Germany 

ETEnvironmental

Community investment

Support for community programmes

Rural areas sometimes lack infrastructure and adequate levels of services, which can limit their growth by reducing the productivity and competitiveness of rural producers and restricting market knowledge, access and participation.

Potatoes, Poland  Cereals, France  Baby Leaf, Spain 
Potatoes, Austria  Potatoes, Germany  Potatoes, France