Does the Soil Association select which companies it certifies on the basis of politics, ethics or morals?
No. Soil Association Certification Ltd cannot look at the ethics of a company when certifying its products - it would be illegal for us to do so. It would also be naïve for us to assume that genuine progress towards our aims can be achieved without involving existing companies and farmers in our work, even though they may not be coming to the organic sector with a complete commitment to our ethical ethos. By engaging with those who are beginning to become interested in the sector we hope to encourage further commitment.
The issue is particularly complicated, as ‘big bad companies’ may own or take over little companies with otherwise good ethical practices who may be able to retain their independence, and so on. It would be almost impossible to define criteria that would work to exclude those companies that we feel do not fit with the ethos of the Soil Association.
Either these products comply to our standards for organic production and processing - or they do not and only this can be the basis for certification decisions.