Working together for better sourcing
The Soil Association works to drive change towards best practice in the food and farming sector both nationally and overseas.
One way we do this is by setting higher organic standards than the legal minimum where we know they will make a difference. This ensures that our logo on pack represents the highest possible levels of animal welfare, environmental protection and food quality throughout our supply chains to the best of our ability. It also inspires other organic standard setters and regulators to consider the evidence and adopt similar standards.
We would love to guarantee that all ingredients being sourced by our processors comply with all Soil Association higher standards. Wherever possible we do encourage Soil Association processors to source organic ingredients certified to Soil Association standards. However, this isn’t always possible, so we have to balance this desire with the reality of complex international supply chains - which influence the feasibility and proportionality of making checks. The availability of all kinds of organic products we all know and love depends on us allowing processors to use ingredients certified to other organic standards.
When we set a higher standard for Soil Association licensed organic farmers to comply with on their farms, we also evaluate whether it's feasible for us to require that Soil Association licensed processors only use organic ingredients which meet these additional requirements. If it is, we list the requirement in the ‘Sourcing Organic Ingredients’ Annex. However, in many cases, it’s too difficult to apply a sourcing requirement along certain supply chains, or we know that setting one would not have the desired impact of implementing best practice more widely. This may not be because the requirement is not being met – but that we cannot verify that it is being met.
There are some instances where we are unable to set a sourcing requirement on an issue that really matters to us. So instead of investing resources in attempting to monitor an unfeasible requirement, we commit to stepping up other actions that will improve best practice and make it easier to source ingredients that meet the higher standards.
The other ways we drive change on important issues include:
- Collaborating with other organic standard setters and NGOs to raise our voice;
- Building public and political momentum to tackle an issue;
- Influencing the EU Organic Regulation to adopt stricter requirements;
- and working to change national and international policies.
We also investigate supply chains and develop best practice guidance to share our knowledge.
We will shortly be announcing five new commitments to better sourcing. Please check back soon for further information.
Look for the logo
Going organic is easier than you’d think. Food, health, beauty and textiles products that hold the Soil Association organic symbol have been produced to the highest possible animal welfare and environmental standards.Find out more