There are different forms of production systems or standards that, in addition to safety, quality and the environment, also take social factors into consideration, such as the workplace environment or matters related to sustainable development.
To a certain degree, the National Agency for Public Procurement’s food criteria offers references to such systems, for example, in its criteria document for coffee, tea and cacao production, as well as the criteria document for fish and seafood.
The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) label demonstrates that the fish was produced in accordance with the MSC’s rules to prevent over-fishing and to protect the marine environment. The independent organisation was launched in 1997 by the World Wildlife Federation, WWF, and Unilever. Today, more than 100 fisheries are affiliated with the organisation and it controls every part of the chain, from fishing to the finished product. These efforts adhere to an environmental standard for well-managed and sustainable fishing that is based on principles governing the sustainability of exploited fish stocks, care for the ecosystems on which the fisheries are dependent, and proper and responsible management.
The international environmental organisation Rainforest Alliance aims to protect the ecosystem and the people and animals that depend on them. The organisation comprises a regulatory framework of criteria that cover both the environment and social conditions, while simultaneously offering rules for biodiversity. Chemical pesticides, for example, are covered by restrictions.
The environmental organisations behind the Rainforest Alliance work to preserve rainforests, biodiversity and sustainable development. The organisation’s rules are developed in cooperation with local environmental protection organisations. Among the products currently being certified are tea, coffee, bananas and cacao.
Fair Trade is an ethical and social label focused on human rights. A certified producer must meet requirements on such matters as democracy and organisational rights, as well as on non-discrimination and the prevention of child labour.
In return, they receive a minimum price for their product, independent of the global market price on the volume that is in demand for Fair Trade products. If the criteria for organic production is fulfilled as well, an extra premium is paid. Fair Trade labelled coffee can thus be significantly more expensive than other alternatives when global market prices are low.
Fair Trade currently offers a large selection of products including coffee, tea, cacao, bananas and other fresh fruit, juice, rice, quinoa, ice cream, sugar, muesli, snacks/candy and honey. There are also products such as wine, roses, sports balls, and products that contain Fair Trade labelled cotton.
Fair Trade is an international movement and the criteria are developed by the Fair Trade Labelling Organization International (FLO).
Utz Certified is an ethical certification primarily pertaining to coffee, tea and cacao products. The certification means that chemicals are only used to a limited extent and in a responsible manner. It also means that consideration will be given to the health and safety of employees, their opportunities to organise labour unions and that the products are fully traceable. Utz Certified primarily aims to improve social and environmental conditions for coffee growers and growers of other products, such as tea and cacao, including their employees and families. Independent parties are enlisted to evaluate the growers pursuant to a checklist that includes requirements on the environment, food safety and labour conditions.
Once the growers have fulfilled all of the requirements on the checklist, they become Utz Certified. The organisation also wants to make it easier for consumers to follow the supply chain back to the growers, primarily to spread knowledge and information about where and how the products were produced.