Organic processing

How is organic processing supporting sustainable water management?
Many organic businesses including private organic standards for processing are striving to increase their environmental performance and leading the way in sustainable water management.

Currently the EU Organic Regulations - at the processing level – does not have specific requirements regarding water management. The European organic movement welcomes the inclusion of environmental performance criteria - including water management indicators - for processors and traders (excluding micro-enterprises). Monitoring environmental performance should be implemented using a broad range of measurement systems adapted to the specific situation of the operations.

As part of IFOAM EU’s roadmap towards further sustainable growth of the EU organic sector - under the EU Organic Regulation review - the organic movement is committed to ensuring that water management indicators for processing form an efficent and effective package of environment performance requirements to drive advanced sustainability in the organic food chain.

What are the key policy tools and instruments on water that organic processing can utilise?
A number of policy tools and instruments – relevant to organic processors - exist at international and EU level to measure sustainable water management.

  • Guidelines for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Assessments (SAFA) developed by the Food and Agriculture Organisation at the international level. It establishes a common framework for assessing the sustainability of food production. As a globally applicable framework which assesses the management of freshwater resources with an emphasis on quantity and quality - amongst other sustainability themes - the SAFA guidelines can help to facilitate greater transparency of environmental performance operators in the food chain.
  • EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) developed by the European Commission at EU level.  Under EU Regulation (EC) No 1221/2009 it sets out guide voluntary tools for organisations to participate. The EMAS has a strong focus on total annual water consumption amongst other criteria.