Photo: BIOFACH 2017 focuses on diversity and responsibility

BIOFACH 2017 Focuses on Diversity and Responsibility

For many years now, the BIOFACH in Nuremberg is one of the wolrd's most important organic fairs, assembling thousands of exhibitors from about 80 countries. Particularly interesting is the BIOFACH Congress that in 2017 focuses on the theme "Diversity and Responsibility" and discusses "organic" as a holistic social approach to development. Both the fair and the congress take place from 15th–18th February 2017 – here you can find all highlights and key topics.


"Organic" – A Social Approach to Development?

In the past years, the BIOFACH repeatedly committed itself to the question of how a sustainable farming industry can work – all under the motto of Organic 3.0. As a result, experts set out numerous visions, strategies, and approaches. In 2017, the BIOFACH Congress aims to take this discussion a step further by promoting organic "as a holistic social approach to development" and by bringing "diversity and responsibility" (as you can read on their website) to the fore.

This raises the question if "organic" can meet the high claim of being a holistic approach to social development. Particularly the aspect of holism can not be reduced to a simple true-or-false-question but offers material for extensive discussions. One thing that is very clear, however, is the fact that "organic" is already influencing our social development today – and there are figures to prove this.


What and How "Organic" Contributes to a Sustainable Social Development

More and more consumers are aware of their responsibility towards both the environment and the society. They consciously choose sustainable products, even if they come with higher price tags. Many of them inform themselves well before purchasing a product and more frequently decide in favor of a brand that can verify its sustainability claims. Thus, standards and quality labels do not only provide orientation; they can be influential purchase decision drivers. As a result of this development, the sustainability market has been significantly growing for years now – and there is no end in sight. Also, it is important to mention that the sustainability market is not restricted to foodstuff. You can find all relevant figures, facts, and sources in our article on the sustainability boom in the USA and Europe.

The organic market is growing – not only in the foodstuff sector.

The organic market is growing – not only in the foodstuff sector.

These three aspects – the pressure exerted by the consumers; the high market potential; and the regulation by law and/or standards – are what makes "organic" an effective leverage for social development. More and more producers and brands see an advantage in shifting to an ecologically sustainable production.

A good example for this is the textile industry. Proven sustainability pioneers like Inditex, Benetton, and H&M (Detox Catwalk 2016), but also large information campaigns issued by various NGOs forced the industry to strongly consider organic textiles and sustainable production methods to remain competitive. By now, organic is an important distinguishing feature, recognized by consumers. As a result, we see a solid growth of organic farm land (see the chart below), a reduced use of toxic chemicals, improved working conditions, and more.

Organic farm land is growing globally.

Organic farm land is growing globally.

Safety and High Profit Prospects by Means of Innovative Software Solutions

Organic production is demanding and can be very labor-intensive for processing businesses. Thus, the sustainability boom is a great challenge for the industry that needs to exactly know all its suppliers and their certifications (as well as their validity). Professional software solutions can help to keep the overview and at the same time significantly minimize the workload. Systems with access to real-time certification data additionally offer the advantage of being able to immediately react to any changes in the supply chain.

The investment in such solutions typically pays back within short time – not only by means of cost savings and risk mitigation, but also because it actively helps to protect one's own credibility on the market for which consumers are willing to pay well. In addition to that, the audit and supply chain data provided by these systems contains valuable information for use in risk-based integrity management approaches that again help to reduce costs and risks. A research project of Wageningen University is dedicated to exactly this topic.

Die Kosten für entsprechende Lösungen rechnen sich erfahrungsgemäß schon nach kurzer Zeit – und zwar nicht nur durch Kosteneinsparungen und Risikominimierung, sondern auch durch die Absicherung der eigenen Glaubwürdigkeit am Markt, die von den KonsumentInnen gut bezahlt wird. Audit- und Supply-Chain-Daten, wie sie die verschiedenen Systeme liefern, bergen außerdem unzählige wertvolle Informationen, die sich hervorragend für risikobasierte Integritätsmanagement-Ansätze eignen, die wiederum zur Reduktion von Kosten und Risiken beitragen. Genau diesem Thema widmet sich auch ein aktuelles Forschungsprojekt der Universität Wageningen.


Do You Have Questions?

Our experts are happy to share their knowledge with you! Visit us at BIOFACH 2017 in Nuremberg, 15th–18th February 2017, at booth 1–653 (Hall 1).



Also, don't miss the BIOFACH Congress where you can, e.g., learn how to effectively market you organic brand. We researched the most interesting talks and discussions the congress has to offer for you – you can find them below.


The Most Interesting Talks & Discussions at BIOFACH Congress

Creating brands based on geographic, social and other specific properties as a means for sustainable development

15.02.2017 | 11:00 – 12:30

In this session, successful initiatives share their experience on the process of establishing, executing, and guaranteeing distinctive signs – such as a D.O., G.I. or brand – that can help to distinguish quality products and to position them on the market.

Practical research for climate protection in organic agriculture

15.02.2017 | 12:00 – 12:45

Agriculture can and should actively protect the climate. Organic farming in particular has a great potential here. In this sessions, two research projects show how science and practice can work together to develop practical solutions.

Global Organic Market Overview – facts, trends and opportunities

16.02.2017 | 10:00 – 11:30

The global organic market develops very dynamically – and Organic 3.0 postulates further growth, inclusiveness and orientation in a more differentiated sustainability products market. This sessions deepens the market information from the IFOAM – Organics International/FiBL statistics book and reflects about trends and strategic market positioning.

Personas for Organic Brands – Brand Development Close to the Organic Consumer

16.02.2017 | 10:00 – 10:45

Personas are ideal-typical consumer profiles that can help to virtually segment the market. Martina Merz (mërz punkt) and Dr. Nicolas Scharioth (biopinio) show how to develop personas for organic consumers and how to use them for brand development. This session is in German.

Using action plans to develop organics in Europe

16.02.2017 | 15:00 – 15:45

With a strong demand for organic products, there are great opportunities for stakeholders to work with policymakers to grow a more sustainable agri-food sector. This workshop will discuss how organic action plans can provide a framework for devising strategies, targets and funding mechanisms and help regional and national organic sectors develop.

EU-US organic trade: challenges and opportunities after 5 years of organic equivalency

16.02.2017 | 14:00 – 14:45

This session focuses on the organic trade between the two largest organic consumer markets (together more than 50 billion euros): the EU and the US. Market trends and regulatory issues will be discussed after 5-year experience of the organic equivalency agreement signed in 2012.

Pesticide monitoring in organic products: Facts and figures from control bodies from various EU member states

17.02.2017 | 12:00 – 12:45

This sessions, that will inform you about facts and figures on pesticide monitoring in organic products, promises to be very interesting. An official description is yet lacking, however.

Brexit: the impact on organic in the UK and Europe

17.02.2017 | 14:00 – 14:45

Brexit is already having a major impact on both the EU and the UK. This session explores the impact on organic and the opportunities to transform food and agriculture policy created by this major shift. How can the economic and other benefits of organic be used to obtain good policies in this context?

Further Talks and Discussions

A complete list of all congress sessions can be found on the official BIOFACH Congress website.

Georg Karner

Georg Karner
Intact Systems


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