A Greener World (AGW) is a new food label for farmers and retailers committed to animal welfare and sustainable livestock production. This meaningful label for meat, milk, eggs, as well as organic and regenerative products guarantees the growing number of green-conscious consumers that products have been produced with real sustainability credentials and conscientiousness.
After much success in the United States (US), this certification is taking off in South Africa, a market that is increasingly seeing consumers demand ethically and sustainably produced food. In addition to Animal Welfare Approved, A Greener World offers other labels to help consumers make informed choices about products: Certified Grassfed by AGW, Certified non-GMO by AGW, Certified Organic by AGW, and Certified Regenerative by AGW.
Animal welfare certification
Tozie Zokufa, executive director of AGW, says: “AGW certification standards promote responsible and sustainable farming practices that are better for the environment. Our research and experience in other international markets show that consumers increasingly want to buy food produced ethically, with environmental sustainability. This certification is for farmers working to exchange archaic and often cruel farming practices for more humane, sustainable alternatives.”
To earn the animal welfare certification, farmers must adhere to strict animal welfare standards. Animals must be raised outdoors on pasture or range, without common industry practices such as tooth clipping, tail docking, dehorning or beak trimming. Any AGW certification also guarantees health-conscious buyers that animals receive no added hormones or subtherapeutic antibiotics. “The AGW certification allows consumers to make ethical, healthier food choices and rewards farmers who adhere to responsible, sustainable farming practices,” says Zokufa.
“AGW promotes farming as close to nature as possible, something that is becoming increasingly relevant as consumers want to lessen the negative impact the food they eat has on nature. More consumers want to eat ethically produced food and are demanding products with the highest guarantee of sustainable, ethical farming. An AGW certification provides this and allows farmers to appeal to this growing market,” says Zokufa.
Ten South African farms have already signed up to AGW certification. These farms include Glen Oakes Farm in the Hemel en Aarde Valley, Boschendal in Franschhoek, both in the Western Cape, as well as the farms supplying Langside Meats from Queenstown, and Eddie’s Eggs in Sunday’s River in the Eastern Cape.
“These farms have excellent animal welfare and sustainability standards, and we are pleased to help them demonstrate this through their AGW certification. We appeal to other independent farmers with similar values to apply for AGW certification and entice customers to buy their sustainable produce,” Zokufa says.
A meaningful food label
The Hartman Group, an industry-leading research firm, found that AGW’s Animal Welfare Approved label has had the highest impact on US consumers’ purchasing of any food label. A consumer report in the US has acknowledged Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW as being the only ‘highly meaningful’ food label for farm animal welfare, outdoor access and sustainability.
Another report names the certification as the only ‘excellent’ food label for animal welfare and verification. It is the only truly pasture-based welfare label, meaning no cages, barn confinement, crates or feedlots. Not even Certified Organic can offer this assurance.
The AGW certification is backed by the ISO/IEC 17065 International Accreditation, which demonstrates excellence in auditing and certifying. AGW’s programmes are 100% transparent and independent with standards, policies and procedures all publicly available online.
Real transparency in food production
The certification has no financial incentive for AGW, ensuring an unrivalled level of independence. Although farmers do not pay for accreditation, they do need to cover the costs of the audit fee.
AGW certification provides real transparency in food production from the farm to the plate. Zokufa says: “We are appealing to South African companies to invest in this trustworthy certification. It is especially relevant for corporates that are focused on climate change and climate resilience programmes through their corporate social investment initiatives.
Individuals can also donate to AGW to support this work at https://agreenerworld.kindful.com/. “Many of our supporters sustain us with monthly donations. All funds received go towards promoting the programme to consumers and retailers and getting more farmers on board,” says Zokufa.
A Greener World certifications
AGW has various certifications, including:
- Certified Grassfed by AGW: The only grassfed label that guarantees animals were raised outdoors on a pasture for their entire lives, with 100% grass and foraged diet. These animals are raised according to the highest animal welfare and environmental standards, including when they are handled, transported and slaughtered.
- Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW: Recognised by Consumer Reports in the US as the only meaningful label for farm animal welfare, outdoor access and sustainability.
- Certified non-GMO by AGW: Guarantees that the product is produced without the use of genetically modified feed, supplements or ingredients, and comes from animals raised according to the highest animal welfare standards using sustainable agriculture methods.
- Certified Organic by AGW: AGW’s forthcoming certification offering transparent assurance of organic production for meat, dairy, eggs, fruit and vegetables and other products.
- Certified Regenerative by AGW: Measuring real change in partnership to benefit soil, water, air biodiversity, infrastructure, animal welfare and social responsibility. – Press release, A Greener World