It is not just the volume of certified goods that has risen in recent years; the number of certification schemes has also increased. To clarify what some of the certifications stand for and what they mean, we commissioned an independent party to go through the criteria and background of the most common labels.
We wish to show the similarities and differences between the labels on the market. The initiatives Arvid Nordquist currently supports by purchasing products/raw ingredients with the respective labels are ones that we think maintain a high standard and are truly credible. Making a fair comparison on every point is almost impossible, since it can be difficult to draw clear distinctions, plus the fact that the certifications operate in different markets and have different purposes. In the review, we have used the criteria of the State of Sustainability Initiatives project. We have drawn on many sources for our facts, but the main sources of information have been SSI/Entwined’s report ‘The State of Sustainability Review 2014’ and the various certification schemes’ own documentation and standards.
We have analysed each label to see how stringent the requirements are for the respective criteria. We have focused on the areas we think are of particular importance and significance in achieving sustainable, fair and ethical production that turns the spotlight on poverty reduction. These areas include human rights, the ILO Core Conventions, gender issues, a living wage, biodiversity, the climate and pesticide use. We have chosen to take a ‘stricter’ stance by prioritising the initiatives that set obligatory requirements over those that set recommendations or have several different levels.
Our analysis is summarised in a certification guide.
A list of the analysed criteria is available here.