Regenerative Organic Certification: The Producers Market Vision
Scaling Up our Digital Storytelling to Support the Global Regenerative Agriculture Movement
The organic certification has achieved many accomplishments in humanity’s progress toward a cleaner, more sustainable agricultural value chain. Globally, the term “organic” has become synonymous with agriculture free of harmful chemicals.
It has led to a $100 billion global industry that continues to grow at 10% rates and higher.
Unfortunately, as “Organic” has become a thriving global industry, much of the essence of the concept has been sacrificed for the sake of commercialism. The price premiums on organic products have led many industry participants—farmers, processors, distributors, and brands—to “innocently” cut corners in following the prescribed practices. In some cases, the potential for profit has led to the blatant fraudulent use of the certification and label.
Humanity, as we know, is quite imperfect. In too many cases, people will justify the profitability and success of their business over the integrity of the organic certification.
A general lack of third party oversight, along with a complete inability to validate the practices of producers and the contents of their certified products, has left the door completely open for people to act of their own legal, moral and ethical accord.
All organic is not created equally
There are producers that employ practices such as permaculture, biological corridor restoration, biodynamic farming, agroecology, community development, and enhanced worker welfare. And there are those that do not. Yet, all use the same certification of “organic” to justify a premium pricing model.
Thus, we do not yet have the economic incentives in place for producers to make a greater impact. A few have the prime marketing abilities necessary to tell their story and gain consumer trust based upon their added-value practices. However, the examples are few and far between.
If we truly want agriculture to be the greatest solution to combat climate change through carbon sequestration in soil, forests, and biological corridors, then we must link the desire of consumers to purchase regenerative products with a marketing value proposition and certification that can be trusted.
Enter the Regenerative Organic Certification
“We exist to heal a broken system, repair a damaged planet, and empower farmers and eaters to create a better future through better farming.
By adopting regenerative organic practices on more farms around the world, we can create long-term solutions to some of the biggest issues of our time, including the climate crisis, factory farming, and fractured rural economies.”
—Regenerative Organic Certification
Amazing! I personally align fully with this intention—as does our Producers Market team, and millions of others out there.
There is a clear definition and track to becoming Regenerative Organic.
As a consumer, if I see Patagonia with a Regenerative Organic Certification, I will trust its credibility. Patagonia is a brand that has uniquely earned this trust from consumers. They don’t require validation or verification for people to believe that their claims and impacts are indeed true.
Well then, what about Boochcraft? Or White Leaf Provisions? Or Emerald Grasslands? These three groups, while I’m certain they are wonderful brands and people, are relatively unknown to 99.999% of consumers. What is going to make consumers trust their Regenerative Organic Certification intentions and impacts? What credibility do they have in the global market?
This is where the importance of the Regenerative Organic Certification comes in, providing credibility for organizations like the three mentioned above, which have not yet earned the brand trust or recognition that Patagonia has. If people trust and understand ROC, then by the transitive property they ought to trust the brands that have received this certification, too.
Now we enter into the delicate space of blindly trusting certifications. This is the same rabbit hole that has plagued “sustainability” marketing for decades.
How can we trust everything we read on a label to be true? Do we blindly accept that people are being responsible? Has this ever proven to be a trustworthy scenario?
Producers Market has a vision of playing a key role in the scaled development of ROC
We intend to participate as a digitization partner that works in partnership with technology companies, producers, brands, and consumers to validate data—and then communicate this validation to consumers, building credibility and trust in ROC. The felt integrity of ROC is incredibly important, perhaps critical, if the groups who subscribe to its practices are to gain the premiums and economic benefits they deserve for their efforts to uplift humanity and our value chains.
We intend to validate Regenerative Organic Certification, gain trust, and sustain premiums through our StoryBird technology. We also plan to make our technology and platform available at the lowest possible cost to all producers and brands that employ a Regenerative Organic Certification.
Our goal is to implement our first Regenerative Organic Certification on StoryBird in 2020, and to scale this up across 25+ value chains in 2021 as we become a leading digital storyteller for the global regenerative agriculture movement.
If you feel excited about where we’re heading with StoryBird and Regenerative Organic Certification, sign up for our newsletter to learn more about our progress as our work develops.