The Blue Number Initiative

Developing safe and sustainable farming approaches to address food security is a top priority of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).


GS1 is part of a collective effort to map and harmonise hundreds of disparate standards and certifications related to sustainable farming. The effort, known as The Blue Number Initiative, A Global Registry for Sustainable Farmers, will leverage GS1’s registry service. The registry will enable farmers, governments, businesses and communities to communicate with one another up and down the supply chain by establishing a common language and uniquely identifying farms globally.


Using GS1 Global Location Numbers (GLNs), the registry assigns one single identifier to each farm regardless of its size to define the individual farm location. The registry also maps to each farm’s respective sustainability certifications. This paves the way for smaller farmers in developing countries to be recognised for sustainable practices, opening up potential markets and allowing them to become more visible and active participants in the global food supply chain.


Multinationals are increasingly purchasing from the global food supply chain and this registry will enable them to have far greater visibility upstream, all the way to the farmers growing the raw materials to select trading partners who operate ethically and responsibly.


Consumers are also increasingly demanding more information about what is in their food and beverages. Therefore, the registry is an excellent foundation for consumers to have far greater visibility about the products they view on grocery shelves. This will help them make informed purchase decisions about ingredients certified organic, sustainably farmed and fair trade.


The registry also lays important groundwork for policy makers in developing countries to access accurate granular and big data statistics. Governments will have far greater visibility to look at geolocated data for example, crop production by specific region, the surrounding infrastructure and certification measures. They will therefore be better positioned to make more informed policy decisions that boost production while also steering resources and training towards sustainable farming practices.