B-ACT: BUSINESS AGROECOLOGY CRITERIA TOOL

 Assess your enterprise with the B-ACT and find out about its alignment with the 13 principles of agroecology

The Business Agroecology Criteria Tool (B-ACT) assesses an enterprise’s alignment with the 13 principles of agroecology. It also contains screening questions to rapidly determine whether an enterprise’s business model, operations or strategy are potentially in conflict with agroecology.

The B-ACT therefore assists investors and donors when it comes to identifying investment and funding opportunities. In addition, entrepreneurs can assess their business’ alignment with agroecology and identify areas where improvements can be made.

The B-ACT helps with asking the right questions when it comes to assessing the social and environmental dimensions of a business, and the tool complements standard analysis of financial returns.

Please note that the older B-ACT version (v1) is being phased out and will no longer be available starting 1st of January 2024.

Who is the B-ACT for?

The tool is intended to:

  • inform and sensitize interested donors and investors about the nature and benefits of agroecological enterprises
  • inform and support entrepreneurs on how agroecological their enterprise is and where there is potential for improvement
  • inform other interested stakeholders such as civil society or policy makers interested in learning more about the nature of agroecological enterprises
  • Why should you use the B-ACT?

    The B-ACT provides a holistic enterprise assessment that helps to identify how agroecologically aligned an enterprise is and what its potential is for systemically transforming food systems.

    The evaluation of the B-ACT currently includes:

  • Agroecology Score: measuring the alignment with the 13 agroecological principles
  • UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Alignment: highlights which SDGs the enterprise works towards and to what extent
  • Suggestions for Agroecological Improvement: suggests how an enterprise can improve the lowest scoring agroecology principles
  • Screening questions: identifies any practices and activities which are in direct conflict with the agroecological principles
  • Impact questions*: measures the enterprises impact on carbon, water, biodiversity, soil health, economic and social indicators
  • Systemic potential score: measures the potential of an enterprise to make a systemic impact


    * The impact section of the tool should be considered a first draft of what the impact measurement could look like. It is therefore still the weakest section of the tool and we are always looking for feedback or inputs from others working towards solving similar problems.

  • How to use the B-ACT

    The B-ACT offers an in-depth assessment of an enterprise (2-3 hours), if you have less time have a look at our Agroecology Check for Enterprises.

    1) Click on the link below to access the B-ACT on Google Sheet
    2) Save a copy of the B-ACT file in order to be able to fill in and use the tool (you will need to have a Google Account in order to do so)
    3) Read the instructions on each page carefully
    4) Fill in each section and get your results!
    5) If you only want to focus on the agroecological alignment of an enterprise you can only fill in the tabs 'Principle Questions' and 'Screening questions' to get your results

    Modification of the Tool & disclaimer

    Users can make edits to the tool to best fit their objective, e.g. change the phrasing of questions. In these cases, the following disclaimer shown below must be stated verbally and in writing on any platform on which the modified version of the tool is uploaded:

    This version of the B-ACT was adapted by [name of user] from the original version developed by Biovision, available at https://www.agroecologypool.org/b-act/”

    It is requested of users to share modified versions of the tool with Biovision for us to consider incorporating relevant changes in future versions.

    It is highly recommended to not alter the scoring formulas, as this might fundamentally change the scoring logic of the tool.

    Sharing of results

    Users of the tool are invited to share the results with Biovision, provided that they have obtained prior consent from the enterprises assessed. All results will be kept fully confidential and used exclusively for the purpose of gathering evidence on the landscape of agroecological enterprises.

    Design your personal principle chart

    Use our chart generator to powerfully visualize how your enterprise aligns with the 13 principles of agroecology!

    Principle Chart of a B-ACT assessment

    Methodology

    13 Principles of Agroecology: The tool guides users through a series of questions to identify to what extent each of the thirteen principles of agroecology (HLPE, 2019) are reflected through direct and indirect activities of the enterprise. A very specialized enterprise may also select 'not applicable' for principles, which do not apply to their role in the food system value chain.
    The list of principles has been consolidated by the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition, building on Nicholls et al. (2016), CIDSE (2018) and FAO (2018). Each principle is related to one of the three organisational principles for sustainable food systems: improve resource efficiency, strengthen resilience or secure social equity (HLPE 2019).

    The ACT/B-ACT methodology and framework was also a key resource for the development of the 'Agroecology Finance Assessment Tool' by the Agroecology Coalition designed to track funds from donors. Please find the peer-reviewed study on this agroecology framework including a definition and justification of the 10 red flags (also used in the B-ACT) here:

    Overview of the thirteen principles of agroecology and three operational principles of sustainable food systems

    Any questions or feedback?

    Biovision together with Metabolic Ventures has developed the latest version of the B-ACT, which can be accessed and used on Google sheets. For this version of the tool we have engaged in multiple rounds of user engagement processes to identify the needs of potential user groups. We will also continue to work on the tool and keep improving it, therefore please do not hesitate to contact us for questions or feedback.

    • CIDSE (Coopération Internationale pour le Développement et la Solidarité) (2018): The principles of
      agroecology. Towards just, resilient and sustainable food sy
      stems. Brussels.11 pp.
    • FAO (2018): The 10 elements of agroecology: guiding the transition to sustainable food and agricultural systems.
      Rome.
    • HLPE (2019)Agroecological and other innovative approaches for sustainable agriculture and food systems that
      enhance food security and nutritionA report by the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition
      of the Committee on World Food Security, Rome.
    • Nicholls, C., Altieri, M.A. & Vazquez, L. (2016): Agroecology: principles for the conversion and redesign of
      farming systems. Journal of Ecosystem & Ecography, S5: 010.