Growing Organic Trust is a long-term initiative spearheaded by IOAS which we launched at BioFach, Germany 2019. We wanted to engage with all sectors of the organic movement to further strengthen the integrity of organic certification, to reward good performance and to combat fraud.
However, as an accreditation body, we are necessarily constrained in what we do (due to potential conflicts of interest), so we founded a new NGO to do the work in this important area that we cannot do. Welcome to the Alliance for Organic Integrity!
The IOAS is an accreditation body registered in the USA which is dedicated to working with standard setters, scheme owners and regulatory authorities in organic production and related sustainability and social fields. IOAS’s 20th Anniversary Seminar, ‘Organic Inspection and Certification 2025’, held in India in November 2017, brought together key actors from the organic sector to explore and discuss the status of organic inspection and certification, with the aim of identifying deficiencies and developing an action plan to help tackle them.
Organics has grown dramatically in the last 40 years. Growth and success bring new challenges, new opportunities but also threats. The seminar identified six areas of weakness which are summarised in the graphic below which already undermine the growth of the organic sector and will continue to do so if not addressed.
What are we trying to do?
The IOAS is passionate about organic integrity. We know that this commitment is shared equally by many of our collaborators. We also know that there will always be room for improvement. Along with significant seed funding to the Alliance, we have agreed six main project areas summarised in the graphic below to implement in the first instance through to 2025. The approach will be wide ranging working with regulators, scheme owners, the conformity assessment community, producers, traders and national and international organisations that share our goals. It aims to bring together and build on current best practice of inspection, certification, accreditation and oversight, and address the challenge of fraud in its various forms.
Output will be shared widely. Success will be a more robust, efficient and affordable control system which avoids duplication, rewards compliance, focuses on risk, deters and responds effectively to fraud and is trusted by the movement and consumers.
How will we do it?
The Alliance is a separate non-profit entity, to separate this work from the IOAS’ day-to-day work of accreditation. The seed funding from IOAS’s reserves aims to kickstart the identified projects and IOAS will move forward with certain elements of the projects where it can. Much of the early work however will be to seek collaboration and gather in existing resources and ideas on how the global organic control system can work more effectively. We believe the IOAS and AOI are well positioned to stimulate cooperation given our more than 20 years work in this sector, our independence and our international role and links.
We need your help
Both are international organisations but both are still small, so we are seeking your support and cooperation. This can be provided in various ways: funding, ideas, information, joint ventures, tools, data sharing, documents, methods, promotion, training, equipment, and most of all your time and commitment. Although the IOAS seminar has developed initial project ideas we are very open to how these move forward and others that might develop with your help. Growing Organic Trust has to be a cooperative initiative. Our organic future depends on it.
The full report on the seminar held in November 2017, Improving Organic Control-Growing Organic Trust, IOAS report is available here.