Principles for sustainable soil management

Soil should be factored into the wider context of sustainable development and the Food and Agriculture (FAB) Principles that encompass the entire agricultural value chain. Soil is not an isolated element, and several issues impact soil health both directly and indirectly. We can protect soils most effectively by empowering those who work on the land to be the primary social, economic and environmental caretakers. They need their human rights to be respected, land tenure and access, and the ability to sustain their lives and livelihoods. We should reduce the pressure on soil to produce more by reducing loss in delivering produce from farm to table and being conscious of food waste. Integrated cooling, storage, transportation and market connectivity systems are positive contributions to reducing the workload on soil, especially in developing countries with large agricultural bases.

The most complex soil management issues are best addressed through strong public–private partnerships. More investment in sustainable soil management practices will create inclusive agricultural value chains and support efficient markets. When viewed in the wider context of Agenda 2030, companies that support the Soil Principles will catalyze investment and action in support of the world’s soils and contribute to the implementation of SDG2 and SDG15.