Certification is a process used to provide evidence of compliance with certain quality requirements, in the form of binding or voluntary quality, environmental or social standards (e.g. to protect against child labour or to secure employee rights). There is on-product labelling, when products are labelled with a quality seal or mark (graphic or written product labelling) and off-product labelling, when the claim "certified" is only mentioned and documented on sales and transfer documents of the respective product. Certification systems should be developed jointly with the relevant actors in the value chain.
Technical implementation on the farm and at the processing stage is monitored regularly by state or private inspection institutions. Monitoring cost grants may be paid to farmers and businesses along the value chain for a specific period of time to help them pay the monitoring costs associated with certification.
- Regular staff instruction
- Sanction mechanisms
- Quality management systems
- Regular neutral inspections on farms and in agri-food enterprises
- Close cooperation and knowledge sharing with local advisory services
- Close cooperation and knowledge sharing with research institutions
- Close cooperation and knowledge sharing with farmers' organisations
- Binding market system (commercial category regulations) that makes compliance compulsory for all agri-food businesses in the supply chain
- Jurisdiction or arbitration body with locally recognised authorities
- Training opportunities for independent inspectors and users
Possible Negative Effects
- Abuse if control mechanisms not in place
- Certification just provides a momentary insight or a status quo of a situation (through one audit per year at best)