SCS Global Services (SCS), a long-time GLOBALG.A.P. member, has taken significant steps to streamline its auditing services for customers seeking certification under both the SCS Sustainably Grown V2.1 and GLOBALG.A.P. IFA V5 programs. Agricultural production operations can now more efficiently obtain both certificates from a single audit, saving time and money.

“Our mutual interest is in putting the needs of producers first,” said Lesley Sykes, SCS Sustainably Grown Program Manager. “To the extent that the requirements of the two programs overlap, we have been able to create more efficient audit tools, simplifying the process for producers and auditors alike.”

In 2016, Ms. Sykes led an effort to benchmark the two standards, identifying overlap in roughly 25% of the field and post-harvest requirements, including soil and water resources, energy use, ecosystem protection, pest and disease management, and workplace health and safety. SCS is now focused on cross-training auditors and staff involved in coordinating audit projects, and developing tools to eliminate redundancies, including combined audit plans, auditor training materials and guidance documents, and audit checklists.

“SCS’s proactive efforts to streamline the audit process for customers seeking both GLOBALG.A.P. and Sustainably Grown recognition is a very positive development,” said Kristian Moeller, CEO of GLOBALG.A.P. “This kind of cooperation among standard owners is exactly what is needed to expand the adoption of sustainable agriculture practices worldwide.”

Nevada-based onion grower-shipper, Peri & Sons Farms, has benefited from combined auditing services since 2015. Sara Brinkley, Director of Food Safety, said, “By undergoing the combined GLOBALG.A.P. and Sustainably Grown audit, Peri & Sons is able to complete two audits in one visit, and avoid the duplication of having an auditor verify overlapping requirements. This gives us more time to focus on our core business.”  

Vermont-based auditor Pablo Elliott added, “I have already seen first-hand the efficiencies gained from reducing redundancies in the document review process, visits to fields and facilities, and interviewing workers. These new tools will help me be even more efficient during the onsite audit.”

Sustainably Grown contains labor provisions that are complementary to GLOBALG.A.P. IFA. Late last year, Sustainably Grown completed the Equivalence Process for the Global Social Compliance Program (GSCP), representing international best practice in sustainable supply chains and social auditing. Sustainably Grown is the first U.S.-based sustainable agriculture certification to be benchmarked to GSCP and is among the approved responsible sourcing standards for IDH’s fruit and vegetables program, SIFAV (Sustainability Initiative Fruit & Vegetables). It is also accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) as conformant with international ecolabeling standards, ISO 14020 and ISO 14024.

“GLOBALG.A.P. has been a true pioneer in driving sustainable practices around the world,” said Ms. Sykes. “We are happy to be able to work collaboratively with GLOBALG.A.P. and other leaders in the sustainability standards arena.”

For more information, visit the Sustainably Grown webpage, or contact Lesley Sykes, Sustainably Grown Program Manager, at +1 520-452-6823 or lsykes@scsglobalservices.com