IOAS is a non-profit organisation dedicated to the integrity of ecolabel claims in the field of organic and sustainable agriculture, environmental management, social justice and fair trade. We work internationally to assess the competence of organisations providing certification to ‘sustainability’ standards such that producers can work in a fair environment and consumers can trust the products bearing these labels; our contribution to a more sustainable and fairer world.
IOAS (original name International Organic Accreditation Service) was founded by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) in 1997, a non-profit organisation founded in 1972 and committed to the world-wide adoption of organic agriculture. IOAS was established to further develop a programme of accreditation (IFOAM accreditation) to build trust between certification bodies working in organic agriculture and help build production and the market across the world. The current size of the international organic market is partly due to that work.
How we work
Although our overall goal is that farmers and businesses can work in a fair environment and find markets for their products and that consumers can trust the label on the products they buy, our direct clients are intermediary organisations that provide inspection and certification services to the farmers and businesses. These certification or control bodies operate within a number of schemes which may be regulatory or established by private organisations. These ‘scheme owners’ set down standards for producers, requirements for the certification bodies and also requirements for how accreditation bodies like IOAS should work.
Our role is as an independent, technical expert that verifies correct application of the standard and the requirements for certification; objectivity, transparency and freedom from conflicts of interest amongst others.
All IOAS income comes from the services we provide whether accreditation, assessment, training or projects in the field of conformity assessment and sustainability standards.
The reason scheme owners and certification bodies like to work with the IOAS is because we are driven by a mission, talk the same language and understand the world in which they work.
Our origins and focus on organic agriculture provides us with many years of experience working with voluntary standards. Our international model of accreditation provides for a consistency and fairness of approach that matches the way people do business today. Our commitment is reflected in the commitment of our clients and their clients in turn to build a better world through better business.
During 2012 the IOAS defined its core values which describe why we do our work and the principles by which we do that work.