UN-backed label launched to help shoppers choose environmentally friendly rice

Rice farmer in field

Bangkok, 14 September 2020 – A new ecolabel launched today by the Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP) will help shoppers reduce their environmental impact by identifying rice that has been sustainably produced. The SRP – a grouping of over 100 public, private, research, financial institutions and civil society organizations led by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)  and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)– has developed the “SRP-Verified” Label to reduce the environmental impact of one of the largest food crops in the world.

Over 3.5 billion people rely on rice as a daily staple, but the crop has an undeniable environmental impact. Rice farming consumes up to one-third of the world’s developed freshwater resources and generates up to 20% of global anthropogenic emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. This life-giving crop will also be the victim of rising global temperatures, with production expected to fall by 15% by 2050 due to climate change, according to the International Food Policy Research Institute.

The new Assurance Scheme is based on the SRP Standard for Sustainable Rice Cultivation, the world’s first voluntary sustainability standard for rice. It is underpinned by proven best practices and provides a science-based process to assess compliance. Employing best practices in rice farming can reduce water use by some 20% and methane emissions from flooded rice fields by up to 50%.