Increasing producer access

Community training session, Uganda © UTZ CERTIFIED
ISEAL and our members share a desire to expand the benefits of sustainable practices to more small producers.

Part of this work is through a project funded by Hivos to improve access to sustainability standards by removing barriers and reducing costs. ISEAL’s agriculture members, for example, are exploring newer models of how producers are organised in order to ease certification, which could lead to harmonised certification procedures that better engage a wider range of these groups. ISEAL members Fairtrade International, UTZ CERTIFIED and Rainforest Alliance / Sustainable Agriculture Network have signed a commitment to work together and have prioritised this work among other areas of collaboration.

ISEAL members in agriculture are working together to streamline producer access by simplifying language and terminology, and harmonising guidance for management systems for group certification. Our members are identifying and testing mechanisms for lowering the cost of multiple certifications. We’ve established special working groups on topics of common interest such as harmonising requirements around pesticides.

ISEAL’s Code of Good Practice for Assuring Compliance with Social and Environmental Standards (the Assurance Code) will embed principles that are relevant for small enterprises, particularly around the issue of cost and will recognise and legitimise approaches for assurance (certification and verification) that benefit small producers but are not currently supported under traditional ISO certification systems.

This project is supported by Hivos

Hivos logo

Coffee workers, Kenya © 4C Association/Claire Hogg
As ISEAL members work to certify large numbers of small producers globally, providing effective and affordable certification for groups of producers has become increasingly important.
For producers seeking certification, the issue of pesticides is a challenging one. It is especially difficult for the small producer to keep up-to-date with what pesticides are banned on the farm, as these often vary by country and are always evolving.