October 9, 2014

The Safe Quality Food Institute (SQFI) Ethical Sourcing Outcomes Document

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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.

Expected Outcomes for Accredited Certification to SQFI ES Standard

For the defined certification scope, an organization certified to the SQFI ES Standard is committed to responsible practices related to trading activities, human resource activities, social management programs, and programs for managing environmental impacts and occupational health & safety risks.

What Accredited Certification to SQFI ES Standard Means

1. Top management of the company will better understand and control their impact on the following areas: environmental, health & safety, and social (HR) and business practices. This will help them ensure resources will be there in the future so the company will be around to support their customers in the future.

2. The top management team will understand the impact to the total system as new products, processes or services are introduced and as production levels fluctuate to meet customers’ needs. The SQFI ES certified system will drive the company to understand the following when the production requirements change:

a) Will the company’s environmental impact increase or decrease, will any legal requirements need to be addressed and will any permits need to be updated or applied for.
b) Will any health & safety requirements need to be added or re-addressed.
c) Does this change introduce any new hazards or risks.
d) Will any HR items need to be addressed: i.e., work hours, training, manpower or other items.
e) Will the current business practices/policies and procedures support the change or fluctuation in production.

3. The ES system will drive top management to take actions to sustain the total company for the future through continuous improvements and monitoring of the system.

4. SQFII through its association with ANAB expects the execution by the certification bodies to meet ISO/IEC 17021.

What Accredited Certification to SQFI ES Standard Does Not Mean

1. The SQFI ES Standard is not designed to replace other, more extensive codes/standards that apply to the assurance of good social, environmental and occupational health & safety practices.

2. The company will strive to avoid regulatory issues or violations (environmental, health & safety, or HR) during the period of an active SQFI ES Certification. However, certification to the ES Standard does not ensure that regulatory issues and violations will not occur.

3. Accredited certification to the ES Standard does not mean that any product or service provided by the company is certified.

4. SQFI ES Certification does not mean that a company will avoid environmental, health & safety, or HR legal issues during the period of active certification.


Ethical Sourcing (ES) is an environmental, health and safety (EHS) management system for the food industry. The management system has been developed with the help of stakeholders and consultants with over 60 years’ experience in aerospace, automotive, food and chemical environmental, health and safety audits.

The SQFI ES Standard provides a core set of requirements that leads a facility to document those management systems and procedures/practices that it applies in order to demonstrate that it has implemented Ethical Sourcing in its operations, particularly in the areas of environmental control and social compliance.