New certification system seeks to integrate fair trade and organic practices

A new state-of-the-art certification program that promotes socially responsible business practices in agriculture has been created, spearheaded by leaders in organic products, labor rights, and third party certification for the food industry.

The initiative, known as the Fair Labor Practices and Community Benefits certification, is being led by Scientific Certification Systems (SCS), a leading US sustainability standards developer and certifier in sectors such as food, forestry, fisheries, and cut flowers. 

The other parties introducing the program are the International Labor Rights Fund, dedicated to humane and just treatment of workers; Numi Organic Tea, a successful organics company active in fair labor and sustainability issues; and NSF International, an independent standards developer for food, water, and consumer goods, NSF is accredited with the official national standards administrator for the US, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

Any certified organic farms, processors, or handlers are eligible for additional certification under the new Fair Labor Practices and Community Benefits label, provided they meet all applicable criteria.

“This groundbreaking initiative will improve the lives and livelihoods of agricultural workers worldwide and provide greater assurance to consumers and businesses that social responsibility commitments are being met,” said Ted Howes, Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility, SCS. 

Requirements to achieve the certification include top quality hiring and employment procedures, workplace conditions, access for workers and their families to transportation, health, and education services, and the right to collective bargaining. Wages and overtime, child labor, occupational health and safety, and community engagement are issues addressed in the requirements.

© Copyright The Organic & Non-GMO Report 2007. (May 2007)