The Sustainability Initiative Fruit and Vegetables (SIFAV) aims to make imports of fruits and vegetables from Africa, Asia and South America 100% sustainable in 2020.

Launched in 2012 with 13 Dutch companies, today SIFAV has become a pan-European initiative with over 40 partners, including  retailers, brands, traders and civil society organizations from Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.

In the following video, members share the benefits of participating in SIFAV. These include: a common platform for developing sustainability solutions, support for improving working conditions at farm-level, and gains through the harmonization of compliance standards’ requirements through SIFAV’s basket of standards.


The fruit and vegetables sector faces a number of sustainability issues along the supply chains. The issues at farm level include access to finance for inputs, limited knowledge on good social and environmental practices, low yield, poor quality, food safety, limited exposure to commercial farming and lack of knowledge of international market requirements.

A high percentage of consumers are more and more aware of how their purchases affect social conditions of millions of factory and farm workers around the world. Media publicity surrounding environmental impact, deplorable working conditions, health and safety issues, low wages in many producer countries have increased consumers’ interest in knowing where their products comes from and under what condition they are produced. As a result, retailers and traders in the sector are working towards sustainable and transparent supply chains.

There is an urgent need for the fruit & vegetables sector to work together to improve sustainability and good agricultural practices throughout supply chains. Retailers and traders seek to work directly with their producers and farmers to improve working conditions as well as to increase productivity, product quality and food safety. Retailers and traders also looking to work with producers and farmers  to tackle upcoming sustainability issues such as living wage, water, climate change, responsible use of agrochemicals and soil fertility.

What we do

SIFAV aims to leverage market demand of sustainable fruit and vegetables. By signing the SIFAV covenant, companies agree on a common definition of sustainability based on working closely with their suppliers and farmers on improving capacity and knowledge on social and environmental compliance. SIFAV and partners also work towards going beyond certification; this implies supporting producers and farmers to increase yield, product quality, food safety, working conditions and sustainable water use. These provide access to lucrative and established markets, reducing the risk associated with volatility of demand for producers.

The increase in yield, product quality and access to established local and international markets provides a steadier and more reliable market for producer and farmers. This should ultimately result in increased income, better working conditions and a good quality of life for farmers and their workers

SIFAV aims to build a broad sector commitment for a transition towards 100% sustainable production and sourcing. SIFAV partners report on the progress of this target and a third party company is annually monitoring and evaluating this target.

SIFAV recognizes the importance of addressing overarching issues identified in the supply chain and thus focuses on smallholder farmer inclusion, responsible agrochemicals management, working conditions and climate change. The IDH Fresh and Ingredients program co-funds partners projects that contribute to reach these goals. 



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