We are promoting awareness about the National Index for Agri-Food Performance’s capabilities with our many members and partners across the agrifood sector as an important tool for assessing and tracking their sustainability progress. However, the index also supports us in measuring the performance of our own sustainability activities, which include:
Bioenterprise sustainable innovation sponsors:
Our sustainable innovation sponsors know the importance of sustainability, the value of collaboration, and how the agri-food sector can be part of the solution. Our growing list of sponsors share and provide input on sustainable practices, participate in projects and programs to promote Canada’s global efforts in food sustainability and security, and play key roles in helping to bring new innovative products to market.
Development of a national sustainable innovation commercialization strategy:
Commercializing innovative new technologies and techniques is foundational to meeting our national sustainability goals, but Canada lags other countries in bringing innovation to market. Bioenterprise, with the support of our sustainable innovation sponsors, is leading the development of a national strategy focused on accelerating innovation commercialization that will help move the needle on this gap.
“Canada’s Food & Agri-Tech Engine is about bringing people together, and our cross-Canada network offers the opportunity to build awareness of the National Index on Agri-Food Performance and help integrate the concept of sustainability indicators into companies and organizations as they grow.”
- Dave Smardon, CEO, Bioenterprise Canada
About Bioenterprise Canada
Bioenterprise is Canada’s Food & Agri-Tech Engine, a national agri-technology focused commercialization accelerator. We are committed to helping Canada reach its sustainability goals by:
The impacts of climate change are jeopardizing the social, economic and environmental well-being of human development. Environmental processes are gradually changing and influencing weather conditions, agricultural productivity and disrupting ecological systems. Canada must bridge gaps in data to address climate change and identify meaningful solutions. When pork producers use data to enhance their operations, their capacity to work in a resilient and viable manner increases significantly. Data-driven agricultural production is the key to a sustainable and resilient food supply.
As the national voice for pork producers in Canada, the Canadian Pork Council (CPC) will address agricultural environment goals and play an important role in the nation’s response to climate change. The CPC is committed to supporting pork producers explore opportunities to develop and promote better conditions for environmental, economic and social resilience to risk. Data-driven, on-farm production can boost efficiency and drive economic return while ensuring sound natural resource management and promoting change.
Through the National Index for Agri-Food Performance, the CPC will develop unified and comprehensive measurement methods to integrate climate change mitigation strategies in the agriculture sector. The index should provide integrated agricultural data that is easy to understand and shared with target audiences. Most importantly, the index should serve as a tool to translate data from qualitative and quantitative metrics to socio-economic impacts, environmental benefits and policy compliance. The agriculture sector is currently facing sustainability-related compliance measures, including animal health, welfare, biosecurity and traceability. In turn, effective development and implementation of the index can help the sector meet regulatory, market and consumer demands.
The goal of the Canadian Agri-Food Sustainability Initiative (CASI) is to develop an online platform that will simplify the process of meeting sustainability requirements in the agri-food sector. This platform would facilitate communication and reporting across various commodity-specific programs and international sustainability standards. This streamlining of sustainability reporting would facilitate recognition of farm-level best practices to be communicated throughout the value chain.
The CASI Research and Development project is hosted by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) and has a Governance Committee of more than 20 private and not-for-profit organizations supporting the development of the platform and industry engagement.
As a partner, CASI is working with Canada’s National Index on Agri-Food Performance to test the ability to aggregate farm-level sustainability data to share with the National Index. Ultimately, CASI will amplify the sustainability efforts of Canadian farmers. CASI will use the Index to inform the CASI Platform design with a goal of streamlining sustainability reporting for Canadian farmers.
CASI is funded in part by the Government of Canada under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership’s AgriAssurance Program, a federal, provincial, territorial initiative.
The Canadian Center for Food Integrity’s 2022 Public Trust Research adapted the work of the National Index on Agri-Food Performance in its design of a key driver analysis which explored how the four pillars of sustainability (environment, economic, food integrity, and societal wellbeing) and their related indicators impact public trust. In other words, what impact would improvement of perceptions on any of these individual key areas have when it comes to moving the bar on overall trust in Canada’s food and agriculture system? These results provide the food system with a ranked roadmap for effective public trust-building themes the agri-food system should be clearly communicating about.
Overall, the analysis found that food safety is a non-negotiable public trust issue while transparency, animal welfare and investments in innovation are secondary key drivers of public trust. Improving public perceptions on these areas are most strongly linked to improving public trust overall. More specifically, a one-point increase in public confidence related to food safety will grow public trust by nearly half a point (0.42).
The Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB) is a collaborative, multi-stakeholder organization with a mission of advancing, measuring and communicating continuous improvement in the sustainability of the Canadian beef value chain.
One of four pillars of our work is sustainability performance measurement and benchmarking across the Canadian beef sector from environmental, social and economic perspectives. Using a Life Cycle Economic Assessment Plus, the first peer reviewed study, published in 2016, provided a baseline for the beef sector, accompanied by a sustainability strategy with, key performance indicators and action items to guide improvements. In 2020 and 2021, the Canadian beef sector released a suite of long-terms 2030 goals for the industry through its National Beef Strategy. The first benchmark to the 2016 baseline data will be published later in 2023, and will serve as a check-in on the progress of the industry towards its long-term goals.
Metrics from this work have proven invaluable for the Canadian beef sector’s communications, advocacy and policy efforts since 2016, and consumer research supports Canadians’ interest and growing expectation that sustainability is part of the food system.
Canadian Beef Sector Performance Metrics (2016)
Science-based benchmarking connects directly into the objectives of the National Index on Agri-Food Performance, and CRSB intends to contribute regular beef sector metrics and benchmarks to the National Index to demonstrate the strong leadership position of the whole Canadian agriculture sector in the sustainability space.
Cereals Canada recognizes the importance of the National Index on Agri-Food Performance in promoting cereal grains and the sustainability efforts made by the value chain in our domestic and global marketplaces. “Our global customers expect quality from Canadian grains, which also includes sustainable production,” says Krista Zuzak, Cereals Canada director of crop protection and production and staff lead on the Index.
Cereals Canada is a national, not-for-profit industry association dedicated to supporting the Canadian cereals value chain including farmers, exporters, developers, processors, and customers around the world with a focus on trade, science, and sustainability. The organization will employ this valuable tool in its efforts to promote Canadian wheat, barley, and oats around the world.
Zuzak believes the Index represents a real opportunity for the Canadian ag sector and paves the way for the industry to convert anecdote to fact. “The Index puts numbers behind the claim that Canada’s food and agricultural systems are among the most sustainable in the world," she adds.
Representing the Canadian cereal grains value chain, Cereals Canada is one of a growing list of 130 partners currently signed up to participate in the Index on Agri-Food Performance. The Winnipeg-based organization also participates in working groups related to the project.
CropLife Canada is the trade association representing the manufacturers, developers and distributors of plant science innovations, including pest control products and plant breeding innovations, for use in agriculture, urban and public health settings. We strongly believe Canada is a leader in sustainable agriculture and environmental stewardship, and we support these outcomes through a combination of innovation and stewardship. Our partnership with the National Index on Agri-Food Performance ensures that our collective approach to measuring sustainable outcomes is holistic, collaborative and delivers a unified picture of the contributions of Canadian agriculture to sustainability. Once established, the index can be used to effectively demonstrate sustainable outcomes and stake Canada’s place on the global stage at the forefront of sustainable agriculture.
Data related to the sustainability of Canadian agriculture is currently fragmented, consisting of a patchwork of data sets nationwide. A consistent approach to collecting, processing and representing data is needed, and the National Index on Agri-Food Performance is positioned to fill that need. The index has the potential to be a validated resource from which organizations like CropLife Canada can draw meaningful conclusions as to the impacts of sustainable practices. Drawing from a single data set ensures that stakeholders across the agri-food value and supply chains speak the same language and can effectively work together toward outcomes that meet all three sustainability objectives. This will empower farmers to adopt best practices, secure the knowledge of what outcomes will be achieved, and enable industry and regulators alike to develop and bring to market innovations that will deliver sustainable outcomes. By using a common validated data set, we can ensure that the link between sustainable outcomes and plant science innovations is clear using a language that understood by all. This will help to build stakeholder and public trust in the plant science sector.
Deloitte’s Sustainability & Climate capabilities through our Future of Food work support clients across their organizations and value chains with client-related services, data-driven research, assets, and capabilities.
Deloitte’s work with the National Index on Agri-Food Performance will strengthen our capacity to bring transparency and scale to sustainable agricultural practices and climate smart communities.Working with our clients we will work to increase food security in Canada, across the supply chain, through sustainable agriculture strategies that foster collaboration, innovation, and infrastructure investments. This will increase Canada’s competitiveness and support clients on their sustainability journey, while also embracing the shift to new fast-growing sectors such as alternative protein, regenerative agriculture, and plant-based materials.
Deloitte’s Social Progress Indicators and ClimateTech tools offer additional avenues to benchmark socioeconomic investment benefits and technology investments to drive sustainability efforts.
We are working towards common sustainability labeling and life cycle assessments, underpinned by key performance indicators and reporting on the carbon impact of operational processes. There is a need for new and enhanced financial investments, solutions, and evaluation metrics, such as secure farmer yield for regenerative agriculture to support Canada’s leadership and we are working with clients across the public and private sectors to unlock this value.
Through our ESG work on diligence, governance and reporting, Deloitte will support data gathering, dissemination, governance, and diligence on pivotal agriculture sustainability metrics to drive strengthened ESG compliance in reporting.
Our global Purpose is making an impact that matters. At Deloitte Canada, that translates into building a better future by accelerating and expanding access to knowledge. We believe we can achieve this Purpose by living our shared values to lead the way, serve with integrity, take care of each other, foster inclusion, and collaborate for measurable impact.
As climate change, biodiversity loss, supply chain disruptions, and changing consumer expectations shift towards sustainability and circularity, it is vital to work across the entire value chain to ensure that all stakeholders are acting with the best evidence and impact. As retailers commit to net-zero targets, food and beverage processors are at the centre of the value chain and need simple, efficient tools to help them understand the environmental impact of their products so that they can make better decisions around procurement, process, and back-up any consumer facing claims with evidence. Food and Beverage Manitoba (FabMB) is an association that represents and advocates for Manitoba’s food processing industry. Our mission is to provide services and resources to members to ensure the elevation and strengthening of the local food and beverage processing industry.
In order to accomplish this, FabMB is leading a pilot project to better understand the capacity, training needs, data gaps, and workforce development needs of SMEs. With the vast majority of the sector dominated by SMEs with limited capacity and staffing, understanding what companies are already doing, what data they are collecting, and what kind of support they need to adopt the National Index on Agrifood Performance, will be vital in the race to meet net-zero requirements, ESG accreditation, or consumer expectations. Our pilot project aims to accelerate adoption of the index by conducting a capacity assessment and working with 2-4 SMEs in order to guide the development of training, toolkits and other supports for the sector.
Food insecurity is a national crisis, one that requires urgent action. Most recent data shows that nearly two million people in Canada experience food insecurity, and indications suggest this number will continue to rise. While the main cause of food insecurity in Canada is lack of income, addressing food insecurity requires a coordinated, multisectoral response, enabled by indicators and measurements that drive focus and accountability.
Food Banks Canada’s mission is to provide national leadership to relieve hunger today and prevent hunger tomorrow, in collaboration with a supportive food bank network that spans coast-to-coast-to-coast. Our work is focused on maximizing collective impact, strengthening local capacity, and reducing the demand for food banks until a day when they are no longer needed.
A sustainable food system is about ensuring food security. The Index encompasses the various facets required for us to achieve our mission, whether that entails supporting measures to increase the supply of quality food so that we can relieve hunger today, or informing strategies to reduce demand so we can prevent hunger tomorrow. Monitoring indicators related to societal well-being such as food insecurity and food access will help to amplify the larger issues that drive food bank usage nationwide. The index will also highlight the multisectoral support necessary to help achieve our vision of a Canada where no one goes hungry.
Climate change represents a challenge and opportunity for innovation in the agrifood sector. Generating climate-resilient crops like wheat, encouraging the application of climate-efficient legumes into crop rotation, studying the effect of grazing management on our grassland’s ability to act as carbon sinks and reducing methane output from cattle can all be addressed using the power of genomics.
Genome Alberta is a publicly funded not-for-profit corporation that initiates, funds, and manages genomics research and partnerships. An upcoming initiative from our federal partner organization, Genome Canada, aims to help Canada meet its goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2050 by utilizing genomics technology. This can be done in a variety of ways, all of which also promote the sustainability of the agrifood sector in the long term.
Specifically, our interest in the Index aligns with two mandates as they relate to the agrifood sector; innovation and data benchmarking. We have utilized the Index network to communicate future funding initiatives that Genome Canada has in development. Additionally, we have referred researchers to the Index when assessing the breadth of sustainability measures.
We are very excited to partner with the Index and look forward to working together in the future.
The Standards Council of Canada (SCC) is a Crown corporation and part of the Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada portfolio that leads and facilitates the development and use of national and international standards and accreditation services to enhance Canada’s competitiveness and well-being. Supporting and promoting sustainability is one of our key areas of work and participating in the development of a national agri-index has enhanced our understanding of the opportunities and gaps in this domain regarding standardization.
In our role as a national standardization and accreditation leader, we act as a coordinator, connector, and convenor throughout the standardization network to help provide the tools that organizations need, such as those for improved sustainability. Standardization can be leveraged for this purpose.
The standardization system is a proven way to help organizations demonstrate quality and safety of products, services, and processes. It allows organizations to build trust, to meet marketplace expectations, and to back up sustainability claims. There are currently hundreds of existing standards that can be used for these purposes, that work at both a national and international level.
Given that a Canadian Agri-Index intends to align with key global standards and indices and help show progress toward national and global goals for sustainability, it is a natural fit for the work of the Standards Council of Canada. It will provide another mode to inform organizations of standardization tools at their disposal and demonstrate how it can be leveraged to go beyond disclosure to become more sustainable.
In addition, standards development relies on both technical experts and data to create relevant and useful standards. The Agri-index could be a valuable resource for technical committees to apply to future standards development.
SCC supports the work of the National Index on Agri-Food Performance, and we look forward to furthering its application.
Food security and climate change are two of the most important and pressing issues facing our world today. The agri-food industry plays a vital, as well as essential, role in both. The development of the National Index on Agri-Food Performance fosters collaboration and alignment at an industry level in Canada to define sustainability and material topics impacting the industry. It provides a summary of metrics and measurement tools available promoting a common language to communicate and measure agriculture outcomes and impacts using fact-based data. The consolidation of information will lead to a better understanding, promotion and the continued improvement and preservation of resources and the industry for future generations.
The United Farmers of Alberta Co-operative Limited (UFA), is Alberta-based agricultural co-operative founded in 1909 with more than 120,000 member-owners. Our partnership in the National Index on Agri-Food Performance is focused on representing our members as well as promoting and sustaining our industry and the rural way of life. We will use the index to ground discussions in data and confirm changing behaviors and practices. This will help us adapt programs, products, and services to meet the changing needs of our members and customers.
UFA’s network comprises 113 bulk fuel and Cardlock Petroleum locations, 34 Farm & Ranch Supply stores, and a support office located in Calgary. Independent Petroleum Agents and more than 1,000 UFA employees provide products, services, and agricultural solutions to farmers, ranchers, members, and commercial customers in Alberta, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan.
Vineland Research and Innovation Centre (Vineland) is Canada’s leader in horticulture-related innovation. From research and development to commercialization, Vineland's mission is to improve in an impactful manner the economic viability, sustainability and competitiveness of Canadian horticulture.
Vineland’s Strategic and Innovation Plans have always embraced sustainability in our research, innovation and operations – all in support of a vibrant horticultural sector in Canada. More recently, Vineland has codified the importance of sustainability by integrating a framework for Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) into our strategic direction and on-going operations.
The National Index on Agri-Food Performance provides a critical, nationally-accepted reference for Vineland to review and assess against, and where appropriate, align our ESG Framework, key performance indicators and other management metrics.
Vineland is pleased to have worked with other stakeholders in the development of the National Index and looks forward to continue this engagement in driving positive impacts and outcomes for the sector.
Vineland Research and Innovation Centre
Vineland’s combined 218-acre campus, located in the Niagara Region on the shores of Lake Ontario, includes research laboratories, farms and greenhouses. Owned by the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario (ARIO), Vineland’s campus is situated on treaty lands. These lands are steeped in the rich history of the First Nations such as the Hatiwendaronk, the Haudenosaunee, the Anishinaabe and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. Many First Nations, Métis and Inuit people from across Turtle Island live and work in Niagara today.
Vineland is an independent, not-for-profit organization supported financially in part by the province of Ontario and the government of Canada in addition to other investments from Canadian and international companies and associations.
Canada has been a global leader in conservation farming for decades. Many Western Canadian farmers pioneered conservation tillage practices. Those in the agriculture sector know that Canadian farmers already follow many sustainable practices, have demonstrated environmental stewardship and continued to increase yields while maintaining GHG emission levels from the sector. Agriculture is a source of GHG emissions but also offers many solutions and opportunities to reduce or avoid GHG emissions. By measuring and understanding the metrics associated with primary production in Canada, the agriculture sector can start to manage the outcomes, set targets, strive to continuously improve, and be global leaders in sustainable agriculture.
It is important to have an agreed-upon set of metrics so that the Canadian agri-food sector can define sustainability for the industry and continue to improve outcomes across the supply chain. By understanding and sharing this National Index on Agri-Food Performance, organizations in the agriculture sector, like Winfield® United Canada, can develop education and tools to support independent agriculture retailers and their farm customers to adopt and implement sustainable practices to improve yields, soil health, and environmental outcomes. Winfield United Canada will utilize the Index, especially the Environment Indicators, to inform which beneficial agronomic management practices will directly impact outcomes at the farm level so agriculture retailers and their farm customers can see their impact and role in supporting a sustainable agri-food sector.
About WinField United Canada
WinField United Canada is a seed and crop protection business serving independently owned and operated agricultural retailers and seed dealers across Canada. Through its recognized portfolios of agricultural products, services and expertise delivered under the WinField United and CROPLAN® seed brands, the business supports ag retailers and seed dealers in helping farmers achieve high levels of success in the field. WinField United Canada’s head office is in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Land O’Lakes, Inc., an agriculture, and food co-operative located in Arden Hills, Minnesota, USA.
For Phase 3 (May 2022 to May 2023).
Protein Industries Canada’s Capacity Building Program for Phase 2C (Oct 2021–May 2022).
All partners have contributed financial and/or in-kind support for the National Index initiative across each phase of work since 2020.