Daily CSR
Daily CSR

Daily CSR
Daily news about corporate social responsibility, ethics and sustainability

Field to Market’s Proposed Biodiversity Metric Revision: Introducing the WILD Index


Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture® has put forth a public request for comments on a proposed change to the Biodiversity Metric in the Fieldprint Platform®. The suggested Wildlife and Landscape Diversity (WILD) Index is intended to supersede the Habitat Potential Index (HPI). The replacement of HPI with the WILD Index will improve the Biodiversity Metric of Field to Market by enhancing the representation of within-field and edge-of-field management, the landscape surrounding farms, and the urgent requirement for more Integrated Pest Management practices to safeguard beneficial organisms.
If accepted, the updated Biodiversity Metric will be available through the Fieldprint Platform’s online calculator or related farm management software that incorporates Field to Market’s sustainability metrics and algorithms. This metric is one among eight sustainability indicators included in Field to Market’s science-based, results-oriented, and non-competitive measurement framework, which is used by farmers and the value chain to evaluate the sustainability performance of commodity crops and pinpoint areas for ongoing enhancement.
Summary of Proposed Revision to the Biodiversity Metric
The Biodiversity Metric is presently assessed using the Habitat Potential Index, a unique set of algorithms with a qualitative scoring system introduced by Field to Market in 2013 and soon after adopted as a metric. Over time, users have expressed the need to broaden and improve the information captured by the metric. In 2020, a pest management subgroup was established within the Metrics Committee.

The Metrics Committee is an elected, multi-stakeholder governance body with equal representation from Field to Market’s grower, agribusiness, brands and retail, civil society, and affiliate (public sector and academia) membership sectors. The subgroup suggested adopting a more extensive set of questions to capture Integrated Pest Management practices. Although the proposed WILD Index remains a qualitative proxy measure of biodiversity, it is believed that the data captured by the new Index will better meet member needs.

In the past year and a half, Field to Market has been investigating alternative methods to evaluate biodiversity from individual farm fields without conducting on-site biodiversity inventories, which are not scalable or feasible with current technology. In collaboration with the Metrics Committee and expert reviewers, a framework has been developed that more comprehensively captures the significant drivers of terrestrial biodiversity identified by scientific literature.
The WILD Index is composed of the following elements: • Semi-Natural Cover Components: o Diversity of vegetation and size of conservation practices implemented o Complexity of landscape and field arrangement o Management practices relevant to semi-natural cover • Cropland Management Components: o Cover crops o Type of tillage o Crop rotation of Management of pests o Change in land use Field to Market acknowledges that a quantitative measure of biodiversity would be more effective than a proxy, qualitative Biodiversity Metric.

However, during our investigation, we did not find any methods that are scalable, time-efficient, acceptable to growers, and well-supported by scientific literature. As the science and technology for documenting biodiversity advance, Field to Market remains dedicated to transitioning to a quantitative metric, and we will monitor developments as they happen.
Process and Timeline As a subscriber to ISEAL, any modifications to Field to Market’s metric calculations undergo a multi-step review process, followed by a period for public comment, before being implemented in the Fieldprint Platform. The proposed change to replace the qualitative index within the Biodiversity Metric was approved on May 17, 2023, by Field to Market’s Metrics Committee.

This proposed change is now open for public comment until January 15, 2024. After this period for public comment, the proposed change and synthesis of public comments received will be presented to Field to Market’s Board of Directors for approval to implement within the Fieldprint Platform. The tentative timeline for implementing the new metric into the Fieldprint Platform is June 2024. Additional time will be required for Qualified Data Management Partners to transition to the latest updates.