A report commissioned by the European Parliament has recommended integrating more farm quality assurance initiatives into CAP schemes, saying that this would better allow agriculture to meet EU green objectives.

A “significant share” of the 198 quality certification schemes evaluated in the report were found to cover some area of conditionality in the new CAP, similar to cross compliance with area-based farm schemes currently in operation.

Only a few were deemed to go beyond the baseline standards needed to stay eligible for standard schemes, requiring farmers to do extra to receive certification than they would have to do just to claim CAP payments.


However, the report noted that assessments of these quality assurance schemes would be needed to screen them for any apparent greenwashing.

Greenwashing could occur if claims made in certification schemes were not adequately backed up with evidence or if gaps between the levels of implementation were found.

The inclusion of Bord Bia’s sustainable beef and lamb assurance scheme (SBLAS) in Ireland’s CAP strategic plan was noted as an example of where entry into a voluntary farm certification scheme would be needed to enter some CAP schemes from 2023 onwards.

EU certification schemes

Some 28% of the certification schemes looked at in the report related to livestock farming, another 20% fruit and vegetables, 18% tillage, with the rest comprising other agri-food products, such as wine.

Approximately half of these initiatives included an environmental component, while a respective 40% and 38% required farmers to implement traceability and animal welfare measures.

Six such Irish schemes were evaluated, including Bord Bia farmer and industry initiatives, as well as a Dawn Meats animal welfare programme.