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Home > News > Red Tractor ditches Greener Farms Commitment

Red Tractor ditches Greener Farms Commitment

22nd Mar 2024 / By Alistair Driver

Red Tractor has dropping its controversial Greener Farms Commitment module (GFC), following feedback from its members and an industry backlash.

Greener Farms CommitmentRed Tractor said the module was developed to help farmers, processors and retailers 'meet the growing need for all to demonstrate sustainability, but in a single, practical and consistent way'. 

However, having ‘taken on board the concerns about the impact the GFC would have on many farmers across the UK’, the AFS Board of Red Tractor have today agreed they will discontinue the module.

The move follows a strongly-worded statement earlier this month from the four farming unions and AHDB in their response to the Campbell Tickell report into Red Tractor’s governance calling for the GFC to be discontinued and warning Red Tractor that it risked its credibility if it continued with it.

Christine Tacon, Chair of Red Tractor, acknowledged that while the module had been conceived with the best of intentions, errors had been made.

“We take responsibility for those issues and are sorry. We hope that by dropping the module, we can close the door on this chapter and move forward,” she said.

“We will only be involved in future environmental standards when all constituencies across the UK food and farming chain, by sector, ask us to and with full consultation.”

Red Tractor’s AFS Board also accepted the conclusions of the Campbell Tickell review of Red Tractor’s Governance and confirmed its commitment to implement all the recommendations.

Mr Tacon added continued: “Whilst the review found that ‘Red Tractor governance is sound’, it also sent a clear message about the frustration farmers are feeling. We will act now to improve our communications to farmers, including the transparency of our operations, purpose and benefits and we will strengthen our stakeholder engagement.”

“We will listen more closely to our farmers, for example, Red Tractor has previously found that transparency, audit burden and value are farmers’ top concerns with Red Tractor. Significant efforts are already underway to tackle these, which you will hear more about in the next few months.”

In a joint response, the four farming unions - NFU, NFU Cymru, NFUS and UFU - and AHDB said: “We welcome today's news that Red Tractor has listened to feedback from its members and has axed the proposed Greener Farms Commitment. 

“It’s also pleasing to see a commitment from Red Tractor that it will only consider future environmental standards with sector consensus and full consultation. This is essential in rebuilding trust with farmers from across Britain, something we are pleased that Red Tractor has said is a priority and is already acting upon.

“We welcome Red Tractor’s desire for a more transparent, open and effective relationship with farmers in future.”