Environmental Defense And The Food Alliance Launch Sustainable Food Partnership

April 20, 2001

Environmental Defense and The Food Alliance announced a new strategic partnership today, which will work to create brands and labels for food produced using environmentally beneficial methods. The Food Alliance is a non-profit organization, serving farmers and ranchers by offering its marketing labels for food produced according to its sustainable agriculture standards. Environmental Defense, a non-profit advocacy organization, works to protect atmospheric resources, oceans, biodiversity, and human health, all of which are impacted by agricultural production. The partnership recognizes the critical importance consumer choice has in rewarding farmers and ranchers for adopting environmentally sound methods.

The agreement signed today provides that the two organizations will cooperate in the development of standards governing a variety of production methods used by participating farmers and ranchers. Such standards are gauged according to their resulting environmental benefits. Food Alliance labels appearing on products will certify food products that meet or exceed the agreed upon standards.

“The Food Alliance is pleased to join with Environmental Defense in expanding our outreach to farmers and ranchers in the Northwest and other regions of America. The Environmental Defense record of success with food service companies, such as McDonald’s, will certainly be helpful in this effort, demonstrating to processors and retailers that this labeling program offers real marketing opportunities. In addition, Environmental Defense’s work with farmers and ranchers on issues related to carbon sequestration, water quality, and wildlife habitat can only further catalyze the effort to simultaneously raise consumer awareness and reward socially and environmentally responsible farming practices,” said Jonathan Moscatello, The Food Alliance’s farm program manager.

“Giving consumers the ability to choose food according to production methods creates powerful new incentives to protect the environment. Farmers and ranchers face a recurring squeeze between low market prices and rising costs of production. Food Alliance labeling gives them a way to maintain and even expand market share, in some cases at better market prices. At the same time, consumers can’t vote with their pocketbooks unless they know what they’re buying. Food Alliance labels will provide that information,” said Dr. Zach Willey, Environmental Defense economist.