What happens when the food system uses a common language?

Read the results of our UK farm trials and find out how a common language drives change across the food system - from farmers, to retail, finance and government.

For mobile devices, view the full report at the bottom of the page.

What is the Global farm metric?

The Global Farm Metric is a framework to understand, identify, and measure farm level impacts and create a common language for sustainability. It is designed to align existing metrics, connect food and farming stakeholders around the world and enable collective action. Read more here.

Can a common language drive better social, environmental and economic outcomes?

The Global Farm Metric framework was embedded into a research tool that enabled farmers to self-assess their sustainability. The trials collected feedback from over 40 farms across the UK, from a range of farming scales and systems.

All farmers who completed the trial gained a better understanding and developed a more targeted approach to on-farm sustainability. A whole-farm framework effectively supported decision making and drove progress towards reducing negative impacts and unintended consequences, while improving social, environmental and economic outcomes. Over 70% of farmers had a wider and more nuanced definition of sustainability and a better understanding of the positive relationship between sustainability and their farm business. This enabled knowledge exchange between different types farmers and better, more transparent, dialogue along the supply chain.

“Using the framework showed that by changing our ways of working we can benefit both farm productivity and the environment – beyond just re-wilding or no-till” – Rachel Davies, mixed farm, Monmouthshire (Wales)*

How can we monitor progress towards sustainability goals at farm level?

Trials over the last 5 years have showed that assessments based on a whole-farm framework enable farmers to monitor progress on key sustainability data. When passed along the supply chain and scaled up, this can provide crucial insight into what’s happening on the ground.

“We need year on year data to fully compare progress across all elements of our system – without this, we cannot be resilient to future challenges that will no doubt be arising with climate change” – George Dunne, livestock, Fermanagh (Northern Ireland)*

Who wants a common language?

For knowledge exchange that inspires innovation and drives change globally, we need a common language for measuring sustainability at farm level. A consistent baseline of farm-level data can underpin future farm policy, supply chain transparency, green investment and food labelling to drive positive change. It creates a supporting policy and economic environment that can shift the balance of financial advantage towards more sustainable production.

“We wouldn’t be able to speak so freely with Harry* were it not for the GFM – it’s difficult as a buyer to not come across as a “stick bearer”, but the more I am able to learn about our farmers’ experiences, the more confident I am that the GFM will create the progressive, common language we all need going forward”. Natoora, 2022

The Global Farm Metric Coalition is supported by over 100 partners, including farmers, consultants, researchers, educators, environmental groups, certifiers, food companies, financial services and government agencies.

“The development of this Global Farm Metric will enable the bank to better understand the impact of its agriculture portfolio, as well as providing customers in the sector with individual support on their climate journey” – NatWest Group 2022

Get involved

Contact to:

  • Support the Global Farm Metric mission
  • Join the coalition
  • Adopt the framework
  • Share knowledge

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*all names and details have been changed