The Canadian Agri-food Sustainability Initiative Celebrates the Progress Achieved through its First Iteration

June 8th, 2023, Ottawa – The Canadian Agri-Food Sustainability Initiative (CASI) is celebrating the achievement of an important milestone in its work: the release of the final report for the first iteration of the project. The report highlights the key findings to date, as well as next steps to move the initiative from the testing to further development phase.

CASI is a federally funded project led by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA). CASI seeks to facilitate continuous improvement in sustainability across the Canadian agricultural industry, ensuring confidence and trust in the environmental, social, and economic sustainability of Canadian agricultural products.

The CFA is a farmer-funded, national umbrella organization comprising of provincial general farm organizations and national and interprovincial commodity groups, representing 190,000 farm families across Canada. Wilton Consulting Group supported CASI’s development by providing strategic research, engagement, and communication expertise. Anthesis Provision led the development and testing of the first iteration of the CASI platform.

Between 2020 and 2023, the CASI team engaged agri-food sector stakeholders across Canada through more than 100 interviews, five workshops and regular Governance Committee and subcommittee meetings. The team also completed two pilot projects to develop and test the CASI platform.

The CASI project showed the value of a platform to document evidence of sustainable production practices. Opportunities exist to build on the momentum of this work through testing approaches to benchmarking between national and international sustainability standards and to verify practices to facilitate market access.

The CASI team are collaborating on the next steps for this important national initiative for the agricultural industry.

“The strong collaborations between agricultural organizations and other value chain stakeholders helped to ensure the success of the first iteration of CASI. We appreciate the dedication of the CASI Governance Committee, and all the contributions of industry representatives through the engagement activities over the past three years. We will build on the lessons learned to date to ensure CASI will support Canadian producers in streamlining the documentation of their sustainable production practices for the marketplace. In the process, producers can also identify ways to advance their sustainability journey.”

Dr. Bronwynne Wilton, Principal & Lead Consultant, Wilton Consulting Group

“The release of the final CASI report is the culmination of a tremendous amount of work and collaboration dedicated to making the Canadian Agri-Food sector a shining example of sustainability. The CASI platform has the potential to reduce duplication of efforts and alleviate some of the administrative burden for producers in their sustainability efforts, with potential for increasing market access by demonstrating uptake of sustainable agricultural practices.”

Keith Currie, President, CFA and Co-Chair, CASI Governance Committee

View and download the full report in both official languages, here.

Financial support was provided through the AgriAssurance Program under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. 

About the Canadian Federation of Agriculture

The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) was formed in 1935 as a unified voice to speak on behalf of Canadian farmers. CFA’s work continues today as a farmer-funded, national umbrella organization comprising of provincial general farm organizations and national and interprovincial commodity groups, representing producers of all commodities, who operate farms of all sizes. Through its members, CFA represents approximately 190,000 Canadian farm families from coast to coast to coast. CFA promotes the interests of Canadian agriculture producers to ensure the continued development of a trusted, sustainable, and vibrant agriculture sector in Canada.

About Wilton Consulting Group

Wilton Consulting Group (WCG) is based in Fergus, ON. The firm focuses on facilitating sustainability and innovation in agri-food and rural systems through a change management approach. WCG offers a specialized agri-food sector research consulting service with deep connections across the Canadian industry. WCG’s research strengths draw upon a wide range of qualitative and quantitative methods and approaches. WCG has supported such national clients as Farm Management Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute.