RSPB expands and relaunches Fair to Nature certification scheme


The ground-breaking Fair to Nature food and farming certification scheme has been relaunched and expanded to help tackle the enormous loss of UK biodiversity that threatens our long-term food supply.

Run by the RSPB, the UK’s largest wildlife and conservation charity, Fair to Nature is the only UK certification scheme with a focus on biodiversity and reversing nature loss.

Previously only available to arable farmers, the Fair to Nature certification standard has been expanded and is now available to dairy, livestock, horticultural and wine producers. The extension of the scheme is being supported with a campaign to encourage food brands and farmers to adopt the certification in the run-up to COP 15, the United Nations’ Convention on Biological Diversity in December.

Mark Varney, Head of Fair to Nature, said: “This is a vital step in helping reverse the terrifying loss of biodiversity that is taking place. Over recent years in the UK we’ve seen the disappearance of half of our native farmland wildlife and witnessed the ecosystems we all depend on for our food come under threat. Put simply, without nature there is no food.”

Food brands and supermarkets who support Fair to Nature agree to buy from certified farms and can display the Fair to Nature logo on the packaging of certified products, ensuring consumers are able to make positive choices to spend their money in support of restoring critical farm ecosystems and wildlife habitats.

Mr Varney added: “Ethical consumerism is on the rise, especially when it comes to food. Shoppers are looking for messaging that’s easy to recognise, connect with and understand and this is only going to grow following COP15. Fair to Nature does exactly what it says on the label and keeps consumers coming back, safe in the knowledge that they can trust a standard guaranteed by science and certified by the RSPB.”

The Co-op’s unique Ethical Consumerism Report of December 2019 calculated that UK ethical spending had risen to over £41 billion, adjusted for inflation. This represents an almost fourfold increase over the last 20 years, with the average annual spend per household increasing from £202 in 1999 to £1,278 by 2018.

Fair to Nature has already achieved incredible results: on one farm we have seen a 226% increase in breeding birds, a 213% increase in farmland butterflies, almost double the floral diversity and up to 19 times more bees than typical farms.

By restoring the balance of nature in farming and increasing biodiversity, farmers reap the benefits of the standard, with increased pollinator numbers, improvements in soil quality and a reduction in the volume of chemicals required which saves them money.

The revised Fair to Nature certification standard was developed in partnership with seven other leading wildlife charities and is scientifically proven to reverse wildlife declines and deliver the highest level of biodiversity. Farmers make at least 10% of their farmed land, including areas difficult to farm productively, available to a range of high-quality nature habitats, whilst managing their soils and inputs in more sustainable ways that are supportive and work alongside nature.