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Germany: More biodiversity in conventional fruit and vegetable cultivation

Discount Retail Chain Lidl Germany (owned by the German Schwarz Group), the certifier GLOBALG.AP and other partners have developed an industry-wide standard for protecting biodiversity in conventional fruit and vegetable cultivation in Europe. The partners include the FiBL spin-off Sustainable Food Systems GmbH (SFS) in the role of project manager and the Global Nature Fund, Bioland, the Lake Constance Foundation and the Nürtingen-Geislingen University of Applied Sciences as scientific partners. Agencies and representatives of agricultural producers were involved in the elaboration and piloting in Germany, Italy, Poland and Spain in order to take into account practical requirements.

The GLOBALG.AP Add-On BioDiversity is now available to all market participants from the producer to the distributor as an add-on module to the established GLOBALG.AP standard for good agricultural practices. Lidl will be the first European food retailer to work with the standard and, as a first step, apply the standard to over 250 producers from various European countries. In the next step, the company aims to expand to all European fruit and vegetable producers.

"The introduction of the first biodiversity standard in conventional European fruit and vegetable cultivation shows how important personal initiative and cooperation are. The standard now makes it possible to establish minimum requirements for biodiversity across the board. It thus symbolizes our claim to drive industry-wide changes in order to promote the preservation of biodiversity," says Christoph Graf, Purchasing Manager at Lidl in Germany.

Marion Hammerl, President of the "Global Nature Fund", adds: "It has been scientifically proven that the loss of biodiversity represents the greatest challenge for our planet - and for agriculture - next to climate change. The add-on helps to protect biodiversity by setting a deadline for the conversion of natural ecosystems into agricultural land, mandating a biodiversity management plan, establishing more effective criteria for soil protection and integrated pest management, etc. The reference to the interaction of farms with neighboring landscapes is a first Step towards a landscape-based approach, urgently needed to halt biodiversity loss."

GLOBALG.AP add-on as part of Lidl's sustainability strategy

"Respecting biodiversity" is one of six strategic focus areas of Lidl's sustainability strategy. With this, Lidl underscores the importance of diverse and intact nature for its own business and its food range. The development of the GLOBALG.AP add-on fits into Lidl's biodiversity strategy. This includes a clear approach to promoting the protection and sustainable use of biological diversity. First of all, this includes identifying raw materials whose cultivation is associated with particularly high risks for biodiversity. Among other things, a separate biodiversity risk tool was developed for this purpose.

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