A formal partnership between two leading organic certification bodies has been announced.
Soil Association Certification and ECOCERT, the leading UK and French organic certification bodies, have confirmed the partnership, which will identify and facilitate the sharing of existing schemes, and the development, marketing and delivery of integrity-based schemes and services focused around three key areas; organic food and farming, land use and sustainability.
The two organisations, which already work together in international organic groupings, including IFOAM, EOCC and Cosmos, say that the new move will show that international cooperation, mutual respect and a shared vision for organic and sustainability can drive positive change across international boundaries.
The first step has seen Soil Association Certification grant ECOCERT preferred rights (outside of the UK) to audit according to Soil Association organic standards. ECOCERT clients in more than 130 countries worldwide will now be able to access the Soil Association symbol by meeting Soil Association’s higher standards.
In conjunction, ECOCERT has given Soil Association Certification preferred access in the UK to a large portfolio of organic and sustainability certification schemes, providing the most complete range of certification services for sustainable practices. This means that UK-based Soil Association Certification’s producers and processors will also now have access to international markets with the use of ECOCERT’s certification accreditation for countries such as USA, Japan and Korea.
Martin Sawyer, Chief Executive at Soil Association Certification, explained: “This partnership reinforces the shared values and vision for organic agriculture domestically and abroad between Soil Association Certification and ECOCERT Group, and will allow us both to better face future opportunities and challenges for the global organic sector. It is an exciting first step in what we hope will be a fruitful and mutually beneficial relationship.
“By extending our international reach, we hope that Soil Association’s higher organic standards can be accessed by a broader range of organic producers and processors, increasing their impact and promoting the Soil Association Organic symbol as a globally recognised and trusted sign for organic.”
Philippe Thomazo, Chief Executive at ECOCERT Group, continued: “Soil Association Certification and ECOCERT share common ground as pioneers in organic certification in the UK and France, respectively. Enriched by our strong commitment to developing organic worldwide, we are pleased to strengthen our links initiated long ago, by building a formal partnership. This is a great opportunity for both of us to continue providing our clients all around the world with highly demanding standards.”
It is expected that further developments in the partnership will be announced in the coming months as the two organisations build on these early and highly market beneficial arrangements.