Why Do You Need An Organic Certification?

Friday, August 31st, 2018 | 807 Views

APFI speaks to Michel Reynaud, Vice-President of the Ecocert Group, to understand why manufacturers should be organic certified to appeal to the modern consumer.

With the current social, economic and environmental issues that are becoming increasingly urgent, businesses have a growing responsibility to subscribe to an attitude of good citizenship in order to function in accordance with the environment. In this context, organic represents an interesting approach and is a considerable lever for development in favour of conscientious practices: “organic is healthy and climate friendly”.

Organic certification provides a guarantee throughout all of the supply and consumption chain, allowing businesses to highlight their ethical practices. It ensures complete traceability, a transparency that meets consumer expectations, as well as higher wages for farmers and processors. Today, the demand for the certification of products is ever increasing: in 2016, the global market was valued at more than 87 billion USD. 9/10 of the global consumption of organic products takes place in North America (49 percent of global consumption in the US) and in Europe.

Having existed as a certification body for 27 years, the Ecocert Group is committed to worldwide sustainable development. The first global operator for the certification of organic agriculture and organic cosmetics, Ecocert now operates in more than 130 countries and certifies more than 60,000 clients. It delivers auditing and certification services for several standards: organic agriculture, fair trade and organic cosmetics, to name a few. The Ecocert service is organised into an annual cycle. If the requirements for certification are met, a certificate will be given (or renewed), allowing the operator to produce and market their products making specific reference to the certification.

The main stages of the certification process are as follows:

  • The request by the client for certification, and the review of this request by Ecocert
  • Formalising the commitment to comply with the relevant regulations
  • After an initial documentary evaluation, an onsite audit is carried out
  • The audit report is then reviewed, any potential remedial actions are assessed and after a final review, the decision is taken to undertake the certification (certification can be granted, maintained or refused/withdrawn)
  • The monitoring process will then begin, and the certification process will automatically renew itself every year thereafter
  • Risk analysis is regularly carried out in order to adjust the evaluation plan accordingly

 

Ecocert will systematically carry out an annual audit, but additional unscheduled and unexpected audits will take place. Samples will also be taken as part of analyses done by accredited laboratories. After committing to Ecocert, in order to be certified, each operator must comply with all the requirements for the different standards to which they want to be certified. Only after reviewing the evaluation and examining all the information proving that the products conform and that the requirements are met, will Ecocert agree to certify.

In the scope of its operations, Ecocert exists the Asia Pacific region where more and more firms, be those businesses, producers or processors, have become aware of the importance of environmentally friendly production and the need to offer high quality products to consumers. Today, the total area dedicated to organic agriculture in Asia is 4.9 million hectares, which counts for just 0.3 percent of farming area on the continent, and 9 percent of the total global organic farming area. Organic farming territory greatly increased in size between 2015 and 2016, by an order or more than 24 percent. To date, there are more than 1.1 million organic producers in Asia. Certification will guarantee to buyers (European or American) the full compliance of Asian products according to organic agriculture requirements; it will help establish an important relationship of trust between operators in Asia and consumers in Europe and North America.

In addition to granting access to these markets, certification will highlight ethical production and processing practices; beyond contributing to the enhancement of water and soil quality, organic agriculture also helps to increase biodiversity and save energy, all the while producing wholesome, healthy products.

Certification creates real opportunity for operators in Asia: it’s a way to highlight their practices, to receive better (premium) prices for their products, to have access to all markets and to support local economies. Finally, it’s also a way to protect operators by providing them with a certification label that is well-known and sought after by importers and market directors.


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