Markets working to support sustainable development

Soil Association Certification

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). 

The Soil Association standards have the EU guidelines as their baseline, however there are often additional requirements. Soil Association claims that “no system of farming has higher levels of animal welfare standards than organic farms working to our standards”.

Market coverage: 

Soil Association Certification is the UK's largest organic certification body, responsible for certifying over 70% of all organic products sold in the country. It is one of ten accredited certification bodies in the UK. Apart from certifying up to 4500 farms around the world.


Background information: 

UK organic market size in 2013 was £1.64 billion. There has been a steady fall in sales of Organic products since a peak of over £2 billion before the ecnomic crisis.

Soil Association Certification Ltd: approx 2,500 certified producers and approx 2,000 certified processors. 

Funding source: 

Statutory sources (for the food for life programme), National Lottery funding, Charitable donations (companies, individuals), licensing fees (almost 40% at £4,606,929), other charitable activities.

Notable information: 

The Soil Association developed the world's first organic certification scheme in 1967.