Report shows the role LEAF Marque certified businesses are playing in delivering more sustainable farming and food systems as farmers face up to the climate emergency

LEAF chief executive Caroline Drummond

LEAF chief executive Caroline Drummond

LEAF has published its 10th annual Global Impacts Report, revealing that almost half of the UK’s fruit and veg is grown by businesses certified by the sustainable farming body.

In total, there are 877 LEAF Marque certified businesses in 19 countries worldwide representing 310,537 hectares of combinable crops, fruit and vegetables, flowers, and ornamentals.

This includes 95 per cent of the UK’s celery, 91 per cent of its lettuce, and 85 per cent of its asparagus, parsnips, and leeks.

LEAF said that underpinned by the sustainable farming principles of IFM, LEAF Marque certified farmers are cutting emissions, increasing carbon sequestration, enhancing water and soil quality and health, turning to more renewable sources of energy, enhancing biodiversity, and connecting people with more sustainable farming.

The organisation’s achievements include the fact that:

  • 75 per cent of LEAF Marque farms have one or more types of renewable energy generation and 44 per cent use a carbon footprint tool.
  • 73 per cent of LEAF Marque businesses have a general policy to increase soil organic matter with 46 per cent recording soil organic matter and 50 per cent optimising carbon capture and sequestration.
  • Almost half (49 per cent) of LEAF Marque certified businesses carry out all eight aspects of IPM (Integrated Pest Management) best practice.
  • LEAF Marque farms have an average habitat area of 15 per cent and are working to enrich diversity in our habitats and species through in-field trees, maintaining and creating ponds and habitat banks.
  • 87 per cent of LEAF Marque certified businesses hosted a total of 2,981 on and off farm events engaging 22,156 visitors with more sustainable farming.

The report comes as LEAF continues to mobilise its new 10-year strategy. LEAF Marque certification forms a cornerstone of the organisation’s ambitions to drive change at a grassroots level by developing and demonstrating regenerative, agro-ecological farming approaches, environmental enrichment and leadership in education and engaging society – in the UK and across the globe.

Launching the report, LEAF Marque chairman Tom Green said: “LEAF recognises that the climate and ecosystem emergency is one of the biggest challenges of our time, and with the UK government committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 per cent and global targets set by the UN at net zero carbon emissions by 2050, agriculture is under an intense spotlight.

“Globally, farmers are increasingly adopting more sustainable, regenerative, and circular farming practices to protect and enhance depleted natural resources and ecosystems.

“LEAF Marque certification helps provide the leadership, advice and tools for farmers and growers to improve the sustainability of their operations and how this can be evidenced in a robust and independent way for consumers and brands.

“The growing reach and awareness of LEAF Marque both here in the UK and worldwide, is supporting the advancement of real and lasting change in food production.”

LEAF chief executive Caroline Drummond added: “We are extremely proud of what our growers continue to achieve. The impacts outlined in this report clearly show the positive improvements being made to the health of our soils and water sources, to biodiversity and landscape features, to driving the uptake of more renewable energy, reducing carbon emissions and to more sustainable and circular livestock management systems.

“LEAF Marque is farmer led. By working with farmers to reward and incentivise change, and with retailers and consumers to ensure a market for environmentally sustainable food, we are uniquely placed to link landscape health with people’s lives and plates. I thank and congratulate all our growers.”