SQC members to be offered LEAF certification

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Scottish Quality Crops (SQC) has announced that its members will be offered LEAF Marque certification from April 2023.

Delivered through its sole certification body, Food Integrity Assurance (FIA), this can be carried out jointly with other farm assurance schemes to avoid duplication. The announcement will benefit Scottish farmers growing for Quaker Oats, who are working towards becoming LEAF-Marque certified,

LEAF Certification

LEAF is the global assurance scheme that recognises more sustainably farmed products. It is widely used and is a requirement for some large retailers. It demonstrates the robust environmental commitment of individual businesses through Integrated Farm Management, a whole farm approach that includes soil and water management, pollution control, energy efficiency, landscape conservation and community engagement.

Quaker Oats

LEAF and PepsiCo are working together to provide Quaker Oats farmers with the tools, data and support needed to enhance sustainable growing practices. Teresa Dougall, managing director of SQC, said: “There are over 100 farmers in Scotland growing for Quaker Oats, who are all working towards LEAF Marque certification. One of the key asks of our members is to minimise the time and pressure of audits, and as part of this commitment to growers we are delighted to now be able to offer this service through FIA to streamline LEAF Marque audits into one assessment where possible.”

Phil Skentelbery, certification body manager for LEAF Marque, said: “LEAF and Quaker share a commitment to helping farmers reduce their environmental impact through championing more sustainable, regenerative farming practices in the UK.

“We are delighted to be partnering with Scottish Quality Crops to deliver a more streamlined and joined up auditing process. By working together, we have a significant opportunity to deliver more sustainably grown oats to consumers, which will feed into the wider Scottish farming industries commitments towards reaching net zero and enhancing biodiversity.”

75% of Quaker Oats are grown within a 100-mile radius of the Cupar Mill in Fife, Scotland. Fife grower, John Hutcheson, one of the founding members of producer organisation Oat Co, said a ‘one hit audit’ is very welcome: “I am also pleased to see it delivered by FIA, as part of the trusted, producer orientated SAOS.”

He added that the metrics that LEAF Marque provides, which holds international standing, should ensure growers secure value as they help customers meet their sustainability goals: “Customers are increasingly seeking to illustrate their environmental commitments, but as we take measures as growers to meet their goals – which can incur a cost at farm level, whether it’s taking land out of production or completing more audits – we need to ensure that value is delivered back to us to recognise and reward sustainable practices. The certification is currently for oats, but with whisky distillers also looking at this, it could in time extend across all cereals.”

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