Markets working to support sustainable development

Certification and private voluntary standards

IFC Performance Standards on Social and Environmental Sustainability

The International Finance Corporation (the private sector investment body of the World Bank) has developed a set of Performance Standards to review the suitability of projects for direct financing. If a project is not expected to meet the standards over a ‘reasonable period of time’ then the IFC will not provide finance.

There are also several types of activity that the IFC does not finance e.g. production/trade of weapons, alcohol, tobacco, illegal products or activities.The Performance Standards are based on 8 areas:

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The Kimberley Process

The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) aims to certify that rough diamonds have not been sold to fund conflicts, i.e. that they are not ‘conflict’ or ‘blood’ diamonds. The KPCS entered into force in 2003.

The process brings together diamond exporting and importing states along with industry organisations and civil society groups.

The Union for Ethical BioTrade (UEBT)

The Union for Ethical BioTrade (UEBT) is a certification scheme for the ethical sourcing of all natural ingredients within a member's products (10/13). Members are allowed to set their own targets for compliance within the supply chains that source the ingredients of their products, provided it is made public.

Soil Association Certification

Mechanism: 
Certification scheme

The Soil Association Organic Certification scheme certifies a range of products as organic, according to the EU standards. Accordingly, every step of the production chain must be certified as organic in order to achieve accreditation. The range of organic products now being offered extends from farming, catering, food & drink, textiles & health and beauty. The Soil Association also runs a separate wood certification scheme in conjunction with the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC). 

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IFOAM Organic

The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) is an umbrella organisation that seeks to harmonise organic standards worldwide.

The IFOAM Organic Guarantee System (OGS)

  • The IFOAM Basic Standard – the so-called standard for standards
  • The IFOAM Accreditation Criteria, which establishes requirements for certification bodies to be IFOAM accredited
  • The IFOAM Accreditation Program

The Basic Standard Main Principles:

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Climatop

Using Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) products are carbon footprinted from production through to disposal. Carbon footprinting is undertaken and audited by an independent third party organisation to ISO14040 standards.

Products can display the climatop label if their carbon footprint is relatively (at least 20%) lower than ones of a representative reference group, as well as complying with a set of environmental, social and ethical requirements. Products are allowed to display the label for 2 years before they are reassessed.

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The Carbon Trust Carbon Reduction Label

The Carbon Reduction Label uses carbon foot printing to measure and display the total greenhouse emissions of a product. Products are labelled with a gram/CO2 figure. This is designed to increase the availability of information about the product to consumers and aid their purchasing decisions.

Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC)

FSC Certified products are verified from the forest of origin through the supply chain. Products are from responsibly harvested and verified sources, and certification is designed to link sustainable production with concerned consumers.

Principles and Criteria (Version 5, 2012)

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