THE SUSTAINABILITY STANDARD
A comprehensive sustainable agriculture certification prioritizing the needs of growers, food companies and the environment.
Why The Sustainability Standard?
As a grower, producer, packer/shipper The Sustainability Standard can help you:
Share your sustainability practices with your customers, enabling them to amplify your story and achievements with their customers and the public.
Complete a sustainable agriculture audit as an add-on to a food safety audit.
Track performance and get relevant insights across your farms and operations and identify opportunities for sustainability improvements.
Preserve and expand access to national and international markets.
As a buyer, The Sustainability Standard can help you:
Meet the transparency needs of your customers while offering continuous improvement tools to your suppliers.
Meet your sustainable sourcing commitments in a credible, verified way.
Track and compare performance across your suppliers and identify opportunities for improvement.
Verify environmentally and socially responsible agricultural production practices.
How is this certification program different from others?
The Sustainability Standard is comprehensive and meaningful. By comprehensive, we mean that it is applicable to all farming operations and facilities and covers a wide set of environmental and social best practices, with extra focus on advanced Integrated Pest Management (IPM). In addition to IPM, The Sustainability Standard addresses environmental protection, soil health, nutrient and irrigation management, air quality, waste and recycling, water and energy conservation, worker welfare and emergency management. This means that growers will have insight into a wide range of sustainability practices that are important to their operations, their long-term success and their buyers. For buyers it means that they will have the full picture of their suppliers’ sustainable agriculture performance. By meaningful, we mean that we focus on practices and metrics that companies and the public care about and that have real benefit to growers, farm workers and the environment. We make The Sustainability Standard valuable for certified organizations and their customers by providing tools to track sustainability practices in real-time so that they can communicate directly with buyers. This enables certified organizations to demonstrate improvement while it is happening, not just once every three years in an audit. We are also creating a way for shippers/buyers to define their sustainability criteria and measure and track how their suppliers perform while encouraging the push for constant improvement over time.
Self-assessment and certification to The Sustainability Standard evaluates the extent to which a product has been produced in a sustainable way from planting to distribution. Audits may also be combined with food safety audits, with potential to save participants time and money.
What are the benefits of participation?
Self-assessment helps identify opportunities for continuous improvement. Certification to The Sustainability Standard documents your operation’s high performance, providing evidence you can present to buyers, shareholders, employees and the community.
How long does it take to become certified?
Certification will typically take a maximum of 45 days after a successful audit.
How long is the certification period?
Certification is valid for 36 months. The due date for the subsequent audit will be 36 months from the date of the previous audit and not from the previous certificate issue date. In years one and two, the CB will conduct a document review to confirm continued conformance with minimum requirements and other key questions. A lapse in certification requires the supplier to restart the process with a certification audit, incurring additional costs and time commitment, compared to a renewal audit.
The Sustainability Standard is applicable to farming operations and facilities. Operations will be audited and certified as an add on to their food safety audits (e.g., PrimusGFS) or as a stand-alone certification. The objective of the program is to assess and communicate performance on sustainability metrics and inspire continuous improvement of sustainability practices.
The Sustainability Standard covers a comprehensive set of environmental and social best practices, with a focus on advanced Integrated Pest Management (IPM). In addition to IPM, it addresses environmental protection, soil health, nutrient and irrigation management, air quality, waste and recycling, water and energy conservation, worker welfare and emergency management.
Azzule Mobile Toolkits
Azzule has developed a set of sustainability recordkeeping templates in a mobile and desktop application that can be used to support sustainability record keeping needs for your organization and suppliers. The Toolkit offers a method to review and measure sustainability efforts to support and facilitate continuous improvement. These templates will help demonstrate and provide evidence of forward progress in sustainability that buyers want to see.
Who is recognizing The Sustainability Standard?
The Standard is currently in the pilot phase and will be available to all interested organizations by August 2021.