In our daily life, no matter the places, we are surrounded by information that has been strongly processed by marketing teams. Even when for some matters the marketing plays a relevant/ important role in the business core of any given company, within sustainable matters for example, where certifications with plastics or chemicals that (when used wrongly) might pose a threat for the environment, marketing should not play a role of “sales man” but instead a role of “clear communication”.
A gray line can also be drawn in the concept of how much is the responsibility from the company to communicate and how much is the responsibility from the consumer to know. Is in this topic where some elemental certifications will be addressed to understand them and for the average consumer to be aware of what to search for. Food certifications will be the only ones addressed in the part 1.
Important to notice: This list is not exhaustive, but rather informative. Do not consider by any means this list as the priority or only ones to look for.
It is true that in the food industry certifications vary from country to country, nevertheless, several basic information can be found and mostly ni develped economies standards might be similar when it comes to imported food, i.e.
Arguibly the most relevant within the sea food industry. In words from the council: “The blue fish label is only applied to wild fish or seafood from fisheries that have been certified to the MSC Fisheries Standard, a science-based set of requirements for sustainable fishing”.
Each MSC certified fishery has been independently assessed on its specific impacts to wild fish populations and the ecosystems they’re part of.
Regular DNA testing has shown that MSC labelled products are correctly labelled. So, you can trust that the fish is what its packaging or menu says it is.
The MSC is the only wild-capture fisheries certification and ecolabelling program that meets best practice requirements set by both the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UNFAO) and ISEAL, the global membership association for sustainability standards. In March 2017, the MSC became the first global seafood certification program to be recognised for rigour and credibility by the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI)
* Interesting fact about the council, every five years the council considers issues raised by stakeholders and data from their monitoring and evaluation team. The aim of this review is to make sure scientific developments and fisheries management best practice are reflected in MSC certified fisheries.
The Soil Association is the UK’s leading membership charity campaigning for healthy, humane and sustainable food, farming and land use.
Different from other certifications, this association works in several fronts that tackle main problems in the food supply chains, and many others! E.g., Farming, Fashion, Forestry. Activities that range from: Campaigns, Programs that share knowledge with communities of low resources, Activities to unite people across different generations through food, Actively support the organic market and last but not the less, protect the forests. Click here to be redirected directly to their section of the website that
As mentioned before, the association itself has a certification that spans through 6 different industries: Food & Drink, Farming, Beauty and Well-being, Fashion & Textiles, Forestry and Food service, Specifically for Organic Food.
Nowadays, the European Union has published an amendment to the EU organic regulations. It covers permitted substances and practices for use in organic farming, growing, food manufacture and aquaculture. Nevertheless, the Soil Association itself has raised those standards and now certificates businesses that aspire for the such level of manufacturing and production, storage and sales.
Acknowledged by Consumer Reports as the only “highly meaningful” food label for farm animal welfare, outdoor access and sustainability, Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW (AWA) is an independent, nonprofit farm certification program—and now one of America’s top 5 fastest growing certifications and label claims.
Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW is the only label that guarantees animals are raised outdoors on pasture or range for their entire lives on an independent farm using truly sustainable, high-welfare farming practices. It is the only label in the U.S. to require audited, high-welfare production, transport and slaughter practices, and has the single highest impact on consumer purchasing of any food label, according to The Hartman Group (“… The foremost authority on consumers, culture and trends” – The Hartman Group, 2020).
The organization builds an alliance to create a better future for people and nature by making responsible business the new normal.
The alliance work at the intersection of business, agriculture, and forests. By bringing diverse allies together, they keep making deep-rooted change on some of the most pressing social and environmental issues of our time. Together, they protect forests, improve the livelihoods of farmers and forest communities, promote their human rights, and help them mitigate and adapt to the climate crisis.
Rainforest Alliance certification helps farmers produce better crops, adapt to climate change, increase their productivity, and reduce costs. These benefits provide companies with a steady and secured supply of certified products. Sourcing Rainforest Alliance Certified products also helps businesses meet consumer expectations and safeguard their brand’s credibility.
Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms are better and safer places to live and work. They train farmers around child labor laws and promote gender equality and non-discrimination. In addition, they search to improve livelihoods for farmers and workers by working towards a living income and a living wage.
Certified farmers must protect natural resources and the environment. They use land, water, and energy carefully. Certified farmers use fewer artificial fertilizers and pesticides, prevent pollution, and manage waste. They learn how to preserve forested and protected areas, which in turn supports plants and wildlife. Finally, farmers and farm workers are also trained to use climate-smart farming methods and adapt their growing practices to the effects of climate change.
Once more, certifications here mentioned do not intend to be exhaustive, and by no means prioritized by impact or relevance in the market.
Nevertheless, as an starter into the topic and for general knowledge, these 4 certifications address in a very good broadness what it means to stay at the top of the art in sustainability.
Do always consider that brands and companies themselves might have internal certifications, mostly when the industry per se has not been regulated enough from public or international organizations and this helps to starts setting the standards. For those cases and according to the products, the consumer must be the ultimate responsible to inform itself on what it means and for what does it stands for the stamp.
In the next part, more stamps and organizations will be reviewed for a different industry.