Years ago, when things were a little simpler, our food came right from the land we lived on or from our neighbors down the road. You knew exactly where things came from and what you were getting. As populations grew in size and large groups of people moved to cities, the local supply of food had to be supplemented with food brought in from other places. We needed more. A lot more!
Today, our food comes from all around the world. It might be grown, raised or harvested down the road, across the country or on the other side of the ocean. It comes to us on boats, trains, planes and trucks. Then we fill our grocery carts with it and take it home to our families.
SQFI not only manages the SQF Program, but we also manage the SQFI Ethical Sourcing Program. We are bridging the gap and connecting the dots from how our food is grown, manufactured, processed, packed and shipped with making sure those actions are done ethically and sustainably.
In our “prosumer” world, consumers utilize their stake in the market to advocate for safer, better quality products and to dictate how those products are made. Scandals connected to forced labor, child labor, pollution and lack of corporate transparency directly impact the choices consumers make, which creates a ripple effect throughout the supply chain. The SQFI Ethical Sourcing Standard (ESS) effectively reduces these negative risks by addressing each of the above issues.
The ESS is a voluntary supplement for companies who are committed to ensuring socially and environmentally responsible practices in food production. The ESS is a system that combines growing and processing food with environmental and social stewardship. This system embraces ethical and transparent practices, with care taken in the treatment of those who grow, harvest, and manufacture food across the supply chain, and with respect given to the health of consumers.
The ESS for food harvesting and manufacturing is a tiered certification program that provides a set of benchmarks demonstrating an organization’s commitment to ethical sourcing in the following areas:
Social Management: Social management programs under the ESS safeguard against discrimination and harassment in the workplace, promote transparent and lawful wage practices, and advocate fair labor practices that are non-exploitive and free of forced labor.
Environmental Management: Energy consumption, water use, waste management and pollution prevention are critical to ethical business practices. The ESS addresses these issues, as well as occupational health and safety, regulatory compliance, equipment maintenance, and incident management to verify safe working conditions and reduce negative environmental impacts.
Monitoring and Management Review: This critical component of ESS includes internal audits, monitoring, record keeping and management review. Here, corrective and preventative action takes place and senior company officials address employee concerns.
Flexible, Three-Tier Certification: The Ethical Sourcing Standard allows for flexible, three-tier certification options, each with a growing demonstration of the ESS’s provisions. Companies can choose the level of certification to pursue and are awarded certification upon successful completion of their audit.
Our mission has always been to deliver consistent, globally recognized food safety and quality certification that is based on sound scientific principles, valued by all stakeholders, and consistently applied across all industry sectors. In the best interests of consumers, food businesses, retailers, and society as a whole, we believe that the time has come to turn our collective attention to the sustainable and ethical sourcing of products throughout the supply chain. We invite you to join us in this discussion, and help us encourage the highest global standards of ethical behavior in the food industry.
For more information about the SQFI Ethical Sourcing Standard, please visit www.sqfiethicalsourcing.com.
Safe Quality Food Institute Announces Ethical Sourcing Standard
First food safety program to offer responsible sourcing certification
ARLINGTON, VA – March 19, 2015 – The Safe Quality Food Institute (SQFI) today announces its Ethical Sourcing Standard – a voluntary supplement for companies who are committed to ensuring socially and environmentally responsible practices in food production. The Ethical Sourcing Standard is a system which combines growing and processing food with environmental and social stewardship. This system embraces ethical and transparent practices, with care taken in the treatment of those who grow, harvest and manufacture food across the supply chain, and with respect given to the health of consumers.
According to Robert Garfield, Senior Vice President of SQFI, conscientious consumers are looking beyond food safety and seeking assurance, now more than ever, that their food has been grown and processed in a manner that meets high standards of social and environmental responsibility.
“We saw this growing consumer demand, and immediately began developing the Ethical Sourcing Standard. We are very excited to become the first food safety program to offer an Ethical Sourcing certification,” Garfield explains. “For companies, receiving this certification shows their customers that sourcing responsibly throughout the supply chain is important.”
SQFI’s Ethical Sourcing Standard addresses a host of social and environmental issues. To obtain a certificate of completion, food suppliers will need to meet audit standards concerning issues such as wage compliance, child labor, occupational health and safety, pollution prevention, air emissions management, and waste management.
For more information on SQFI’s Ethical Sourcing standard, visit www.sqfiethicalsourcing.com. The complete Ethical Sourcing Standard, certification and implementation requirements, and other resources are available on the website for download, free of charge. To stay abreast of the latest with SQFI and the industry trends, be sure to follow SQFI on Twitter @SQFI and Facebook.
About The Safe Quality Food Institute (SQFI)
The Safe Quality Food (SQF) program is recognized by retailers and foodservice providers around the world as a rigorous, credible food safety management system. It is the only certification system recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) that offers certificates for primary production, food manufacturing, distribution and agent/broker management. This enables suppliers to assure their customers that food has been produced, processed, prepared and handled according to the highest possible standards at all levels of the supply chain. Additionally as a division of the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), the SQF program incorporates continual retailer feedback about consumer concerns. This information is passed on to SQF certified suppliers, keeping them a step ahead of their competitors. www.sqfi.com
The Safe Quality Food Institute is happy to announce our new Ethical Sourcing website. We are very excited about the Ethical Sourcing program and excited about the change that we think it will bring. Take a minute to explore the advantages of the this new standard and check out the resources page to download all of the standard’s documents.
The Safe Quality Food Institute (SQFI) supports the following expected outcomes as a result of accredited certification to Safe Quality Food (SQFI) Ethical Sourcing (ES) Standard. The intent is to promote a common focus throughout the entire conformity assessment chain in order to achieve these expected outcomes and enhance the value and relevance of accredited certification.
SQFI ES Standard certification is a voluntary supplement for sourcing and supplier organizations who are certified to the SQFI Code 7th edition (food safety management), and other organizations, whose customers require an independent assessment of their commitment to the implementation of responsible practices related to trading activities, social management programs, and programs for managing environmental impacts and occupational health & safety risks.
SQFI is the developer and publisher of SQFI ES Standard, but does not itself carry out auditing and certification. These services are performed independently by accredited certification bodies. SQFI does not control such bodies, but does follow the international standards to encourage good practices in their activities on a worldwide basis. For example, ISO/IEC 17021 specifies the requirements for bodies providing auditing and certification of management systems.