The Voluntary Initiative is an industry led programme. Through our schemes, tools and messages we promote the responsible use of pesticides through an IPM-based approach to sustainable agriculture.
Our mission is to be the UK’s primary delivery mechanism for promoting best practice in pesticide use through enhanced adoption of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) as defined by the Sustainable Use Directive in order to protect water and the environment.
Our Strategic Aims:
- Ensure that industry demonstrates continued commitment to best practice in pesticide use through enhanced uptake of IPM
- Ensure the Voluntary Initiative (VI) is considered the vanguard on pesticide stewardship by government, industry and stakeholders
- Minimise the environmental impact of pesticide use and related farming practices on water and biodiversity
- Maximise the opportunities for the development of UK agriculture post-Brexit
Our Strategic Priorities:
- Show continued leadership in the principle of industry self-regulation that delivers world leading benefit to UK agriculture post-Brexit
- Encourage adoption of enhanced IPM principles and ensure the uptake of a holistic approach to crop protection through integration of quantifiable IPM measures within the proposed new Environmental Land Management System (ELMS) or equivalent and in line with the 25 year Environment plan
- Improvement in water quality, ensuring implementation of IPM minimises the impact of pesticides through enhanced stewardship and collaboration between the Agriculture and Water Industries
- Introduce a network of Regional “VI Champion” farmers and advisers to drive through change in the industry
- Improved stewardship of pesticides, specifically insecticides, to reduce the risk to bees and other pollinators through appropriate use of IPM linking to Government National Pollinator Strategy
- Ensure the VI is the key delivery mechanism for the National Action Plan (NAP) for the Sustainable Use of Pesticides as the plan is revised during 2019 and linking into wider pesticide policy development
- To simplify delivery of information through integration of messaging between initiatives and across relevant organisations.
These aims and priorities are important because adherence to best practice in pesticide use contributes to:
- Helping achieve the aims of the 25 year Environment Plan, by helping growers deliver “public goods” and to help achieve the goals for improving the environment within a generation and leaving it in a better state than we found it
- Reducing risk to the aquatic environment and improved compliance with the Water Framework Directive
- Protection of biodiversity, specifically pollinators and other farm wildlife through greater engagement with key stakeholders
- Reassurance for the general public that pesticides are being used safely
- Increasing confidence of consumers and retailers about the safety of food produced in the UK
- Actively reduce the first stage of in-field and farm store food waste