Various initiatives have been carried out by the industry with regard to social responsibility:

Social Responsibility Report

Learn More

Food Security and Well-Being

Learn More

Environmental Life Cycle Analysis

Learn More

Socio-Environmental Report

Learn More



The Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association (CSPMA) released, in 2014, its first Industry Responsibility Report (ISR).

To ensure rigour and objectiveness of its report, the CSPMA joined the Sustainability Assessment of Food and Agriculture systems (SAFA) project of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). It was one of the twenty-three pilot initiatives participating in the development of the SAFA Guidelines in the years 2012-2013.

The main purpose of this ISR report is to provide a benchmark for quantifying the industry governance as well as the social, environmental and economic issues. It is also intended to play a major role in mobilizing the membership towards positive changes and to improve understanding and collaboration with various stakeholders.

Several priorities have been identified in this report, such as:

  • to support research on sustainable development and responsible peatland management in the regions affected by peat industry activities;
  • to ensure that restoration of post-harvest site is carried out by CSPMA members, in compliance with applicable regulations;
  • to strengthen relationships and communication with various levels of government, First Nations and Métis, and initiate a meaningful dialogue with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and consumers.

Industry Social Responsibility Report (CSPMA)


The Quebec Peat Moss Producers Association (APTHQ) also released its first Social Responsibility Report in 2015. This report, in calendar form, describes the efforts of the peat industry to integrate responsible management throughout its operations. The APTHQ and its members wish to maintain and develop major projects; relationships with our stakeholders remain also at the core of our priorities.

Industry Social Responsibility Report (available in French only)


Food security and well-being can be said to characterize the use of our products. Peat-based growing media is used by professional growers (70%) and consumers / gardeners (30%).

Ornamental industry uses peat moss as its primary soilless substrate, while peat also plays an essential role in food production, especially in the mushroom, herb and vegetable growing industries. Peat is the most common substrate for field agriculture transplants such as broccoli, cabbage, tomatoes and lettuce. Peat is also the staple soilless substrate used in the medicinal cannabis industry and a primary contributor to billions of seedlings used annually for reforestation, two industries that are growing and require reliable growing media.

The consumer market uses peat products for gardening, lawn care and vegetable growing, which is a strong contributor to well-being.

Governments across North America deemed the industry essential during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Like most life cycle analyses, the results are grouped according to four “indicators”: Climate Change, Human Health, Ecosystem Quality and Resources, for the different stages of the peat life cycle included within the boundaries of the system. Routine operations regroup regular operations related to peat harvesting (harrowing, vacuuming, drainage system maintenance) while non-routine operations include site opening and closing. It is therefore in the non-routine operations that the mode of site closure (restored or not) is taken into account.

The analysis mainly consists of:

  • compiling an inventory of relevant inputs and outputs;
  • evaluating the potential environmental impacts associated with these same inputs and outputs; and
  • interpreting the results of the inventory and environmental impacts.

In collaboration with the International Reference Centre for the Life Cycle of Products, Processes and Services (CIRAIG), the Canadian peat industry has conducted some Environmental Life Cycle Analyses (eLCA) to evaluate the potential environmental impacts of the Canadian horticultural peat. The first analysis was conducted in 2010, but in order to get an up-to-date picture of the Canadian production, several updates have been made, the last one dating back to 2017.

The study used a ‘cradle to point-of-sale’ type of eLCA, which includes all the activities involved in the peat moss production, processing and distribution stages. However, it excludes the activities related to the peat utilization stage and end-of-life management.

eLCA results

Like most eLCAs, the results are aggregated into four “indicators”: Climate Change, Human Health, Ecosystem Quality and Resources, for the different stages of the peat life cycle included in the boundaries of the system under study. Routine operations include regular operations related to peat harvesting (harrowing, vacuuming, drainage system maintenance) while non-routine operations include site opening and closing. Therefore, the mode of site closure (restored or not) is considered in the non-routine operations.

The results obtained show that the peat distribution stage to buyers’ markets contributes more than half of the total score in the Human Health category and more than 80% of the score in  the Ecosystem Quality category. In this respect, the impact reduction factors that producers can influence are related to distribution logistics.

For the Climate Change indicator, we note the importance of decomposition and distribution, which contribute respectively 33% and 30% of the total score whereas non-routine operations contribute 16%, which is not negligible. Sensitivity analyses that explore different modes of closure demonstrate the importance of ecological restoration in reducing this impact. CO2 emissions after peat harvesting are significantly reduced if the site is quickly restored to a functional peatland ecosystem.

In the Resources category ongoing harvesting operations make the largest contribution at nearly 62%.

Socio-Environmental Report

The Socio-Environmental Report is a tool that focuses on businesses’ behaviour and on the relationships that they maintain with their stakeholders, such as their workers and the local community, with respect to a list of social issues of concern: working conditions, local engagement, procurement policies and environmental practices.

Since 2010, peat producers have focused on the socio-economic aspects of the industry to continue their efforts towards true sustainable development. Thus, in 2012, the industry conducted a first sLCA to assess the social performance of peat production companies.

In 2015, the initiative was updated with an even more comprehensive evaluation covering social and environmental aspects. The results are presented using 71 sustainable development indicators, classified according to the following eight dimensions:

  • Governance
  • Consumers
  • Economic performance
  • Local community
  • Responsible peatland management
  • Workers
  • Suppliers
  • Environmental integrity

Socio-Environmental Assessment