Bringing together leaders from all corners of the grains value chain, the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Crops (CRSC) held its official launch Monday in Ottawa, Canada.

The Roundtable was initiated earlier this year with the objective of creating value for all members of Canada's grains sector by providing a national forum for advancing, reporting on and communicating the sustainability of Canadian grain production.  In keeping with that mission, today's meeting will bring industry stakeholders together with Canadian and global experts to explore marketplace initiatives and advances in sustainability measurement solutions relevant to Canada's grains sector.

"Increasingly, our customers are factoring in environmental and social considerations when sourcing products," said Chantelle Donahue, Co-Chair of the CRSC and Chair of the Canada Grains Council. "It is important for grains sector stakeholders to respond in a cohesive and proactive manner to the opportunities and challenges presented by the growing demand for sustainably-grown ingredients."

The CRSC is a voluntary, membership-based forum open to organizations or companies involved or interested in Canada's grains sector and wishing to participate in a national forum that addresses environmental, social and economic sustainability issues and opportunities relevant to sector stakeholders.  A membership drive is currently underway and presently includes groups representing farmers, grain handlers, food companies and consumers.

"Canadian agriculture has a great story to tell about our successes in reducing our environmental footprint," said Mark Brock, Co-Chair of the CRSC and a Director with Grain Farmers of Ontario. "The CRSC will provide a national forum to showcase Canada's performance in the area of agriculture sustainability and engage all value chain stakeholders in responding to marketplace demands."

Monday's meeting represents a pivotal point in the roundtable's formation, with participants to decide on a framework for moving forward. Earlier this year a number of working committees were established to build a multi-year work plan. The first initiatives in this work plan will focus on: 1) the development of a sustainability metrics platform for Canada's grains sector; and 2) advancing the sustainability profile of Canada's grains sector both domestically and globally.

The CRSC plans to hold full roundtable meetings no less than once per year, with sub-committees working on initiatives throughout the year.