New UN-backed label to help consumers choose environmentally-friendly rice

Rice farming consumes up to one-third of the world’s developed freshwater resources and generates up to 20% of global methane emissions, a potent greenhouse gas

A new label to help consumers reduce their environmental impact by choosing to buy rice that has been sustainably produced has been launched.

The eco-label from the Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP) – a group of more than 100 public, private, research, financial and civil society organisations led by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) – will enable consumers to track the rice back to its origin country.

More than 3.5 billion people rely on rice as a daily staple – rice farming consumes up to one-third of the world’s developed freshwater resources and generates up to 20% of global methane emissions, a potent greenhouse gas.

According to the Food Policy Research Institute, the crop will become the victim of rising global temperatures, with production expected to fall by 15% by 2050 due to climate change.

Employing best practices in rice farming is expected to reduce water use by around 20% and methane emissions from flooded rice fields by up to 50%.

Farmers can also boost their net incomes by 10% to 20% by switching to SRP practices, UNEP adds.

By stocking SRP-verified rice, retailers can make significant and measurable contributions to sustainability commitments and climate change targets.

The scheme will be managed by Germany-based GLOBALG.A.P – the worldwide standard for good agriculture practices – which will oversee the approval of qualified verification bodies that will be responsible for the inspection of producers according to the SRP Standard.

Wyn Ellis, SRP Executive Director said: “SRP was established to address global environmental and social challenges in rice production. The Assurance Scheme offers supply chain actors a robust, cost-effective and transparent path to sustainable procurement. Consumers are increasingly demanding that food is produced sustainably and now they have a reliable way to choose environmentally friendly rice.”

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