Madrid, 3 May 2022 - The Spanish Association for Standardization, UNE, has published the report Support for the Standardization of a Sustainable and Digital Agro-food Sectorwith the aim of promoting the mandatory evolution of primary sector and food industry organizations and companies. Through the document, which compiles voluntary standards and projects, it offers solutions for achieving sustainable and innovative systems that will facilitate the development and growth of the Spanish agro-food sector. The report identifies more than 40 standards and future standards that provide solutions on imperative issues.
"This is a report that will help the primary sector and the food industry -both key to the Spanish economy due to their essential work, their turnover and job creation- to follow the path of ecological transition and inevitable digital transformation", according to Elena Ordozgoiti, head of Business, Agri-food at UNE.
The sustainability of the food system brings environmental, health and social benefits while also offering economic benefits. A portion of the standards that address sustainability measures are presented in this report grouped by activity sectors: food production, fisheries and aquaculture, agriculture, algae and beekeeping products. It offers solutions to control the impact of these activities, promoting ecological production methods that reduce dependence on fertilizer products, promote the production of sustainable new foods or responsible fishing and breeding practices. "These are specific solutions, such as reducing the fishing of non-target species, promoting organic production in aquaculture or increasing controlled self-management in the use of pest control products. Others, on the other hand, are promoting new production lines that are of high interest due to their potential applications, low impact and profitability, such as algae, microalgae and their derivatives", according to Elena Ordozgoiti.
Another group of standards, which provides solutions for issues that are not exclusive to the agro-food sector but which it is responsible for managing, are presented in cross-cutting axes that contribute to the general goal of sustainability commitment: monetary valuation of environmental impacts, sustainable purchases, European taxonomy, environmental management of packaging, food loss and waste and biodiversity. Private and public organizations are exposed to risks and opportunities as a result of the beneficial or adverse environmental impacts related to their activity. "It is increasingly necessary to demonstrate that work is being done to minimize or eliminate these impacts, focusing on the choice of supply sources, the ethics of suppliers or the management of waste itself," she adds.
Reducing the competitive gap
Technological development is changing business models and production and industrial processes in all sectors, including agro-food. The incorporation of information technology throughout the value chain will also call for optimization and interaction in research and development, design, production and logistics processes.
Similarly, this generalized use of technology has made information one of a company's main assets, which is why cybersecurity is fundamental to guaranteeing data protection and personal privacy.
"One of the biggest challenges of this new paradigm is to guide companies in the implementation process, because it's go digital or die. Innovation is an indisputable element of competitiveness, which is why we have compiled publicly accessible documents within the framework of European standardization organizations to help businesses in its application", concludes Elena Ordozgoiti.