Our frequently asked questions

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How was the ProTerra Standard created and what was are the key criteria?

The basis for the ProTerra Standard is the “Basel Criteria for Responsible Soy Production”, developed in 2004 as a common mandate from Coop, a major Swiss retailer, and WWF Switzerland. The project had two objectives: first to ensure the protection of the Amazon Biome and other Areas of High Conservation Value against further land conversion and, second, to secure the supply of sustainably produced, fully traceable, non-GMO ingredients for feed and food, such as meat and meat products, fish, eggs and dairy products.

Today the ProTerra Standard covers the following areas:

PRINCIPLE 1 – Compliance with law, international accords and the ProTerra Standard
PRINCIPLE 2 – Human Rights and Responsible personnel policies, labour practices
PRINCIPLE 3 – Responsible relations with workers and community
PRINCIPLE 4 – Environmental services, effective environmental management plan
Note: 1994 cut-off date for deforestation or land use change regarding HCVAs, or
compensation measures in place if land use change occurred between 1994 and 2004
PRINCIPLE 5 – Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) not used
PRINCIPLE 6 – Pollution and waste managed effectively
PRINCIPLE 7 – Water managed conservatively
PRINCIPLE 8 – Greenhouse gases and energy managed effectively
PRINCIPLE 9 – Good agricultural practices adopted
PRINCIPLE 10 – Traceable and segregated Chain of Custody

The Standard was revised 2014 in a public and transparent consultation process according to the requirements of ISEAL for Credible Standard Setting. ProTerra is recognised as a credible sustainability standard for soy and other agricultural commodities by the Consumer Goods Forum, WWF, the European Federation of Feed Manufacturers FEFAC, the Retailers’ Soy Group, VLOG – Verband Lebensmittel ohne Gentechnik (Germany), ARGE Gentechnik-frei (Austria), Nourri sans OGM (France) and others..

The ProTerra Standard is applicable to all agricultural commodities – what does this mean?

While the Basel Criteria was directed to soy, the ProTerra Standard was developed to be applicable to all agricultural commodities. Initial application was on soy, followed by sugarcane. Some pilots have taken place for maize and rapeseed is in the pipeline.

  • Auditing and certification of soy against the ProTerra Standard have taken place not only inLatin America but also in Europe, Canada, Russia, India and China since 2006.
  • In 2016, ProTerra certified 3.8 M Tons of Soy (a production table is attached below).
  • ProTerra certification can work anywhere, however in geographies with many smallholders, such as India, a national interpretation needs to be developed give the agricultural and socio-economic context diverse from the West.
  • Obtaining ProTerra Certification normally requires 2-3 months in a country where ProTerra is present and active.
Country
year
BR IN RU CA FR US AR DE IT Total
2013 2,970 25 5 3,000
2014 2,404 10 60 20 5 2,489
2015 3,760 80 20 5 20 3,885
2016 3,470 83 20 5 25 100 150 3,853

all numbers x1000

  • ProTerra Non-GMO production was reduced in 2014 due to the German Poultry Association (GDZ) in Germany deciding to stop producing Non-GMO fed birds. Later, their decision was changed and industry went back into production due to retailer and consumer requirements.
  • The ProTerra standard has been used to verify practices in the sugarcane Industry (so far only internal GAP audits preparing for later certification) started in 2006 and covering over 10 million MT per year.
  • In the last two years, sugar mills like Tongaat Hullet in South Africa and Gardel in Guadeloupe have opted for full certification and we expect this trend to continue in 2017.
What Countries are buying ProTerra certified soybeans and meal today?

Below you have the number or Traceability Certificates of Compliance issued under Cert ID Non-GMO and ProTerra in 2016 for the various countries.

COUNTRIES BUYERS 301
NETHERLANDS 133
TO ORDER – EU COUNTRIES 287
FRANCE 43
BRAZIL 50
AUSTRALIA 18
TO ORDER 17
NORTHERN IRELAND 15
USA 13
RUSSIA 8
OTHERS 30


Note that Netherlands, Safe European Ports, To Order/EU Countries, and Brazil, receive certified products mostly destined to other countries, or to be used in production value chain bound to export. Volume represented by certificates is widely variable.

Why does non-GMO matter?

There are three areas of concern about GMOs with regard to sustainability:

  1. There is still a scientific debate whether genetic engineering is harmless for animal and human health as proponents of GMO claims. In the meantime, there is peer reviewed scientific evidence available that says that there might be risks. Only in January 2015, a manifesto signed by over 300 independent scientist and scholars was published  are non-justified and misleading. (URL: http://www.enveurope.com/content/27/1/4/abstract) pointing out that claims stating that a scientific pointing out that claims stating that a scientific consensus over the safety of GMO exists
  2. With the use of GMO crops a change in farming practices is being observed which leads to more monoculture and less diversity in crops and farming practices. This has led to an increase in herbicide-resistant weeds, and therefore higher use of pesticides with all the related side-effects (pollution of aquifers, detrimental effect of workers’ health, loss of “micro-biodiversity”) – but also increased costs for producers.
  3. Many consumers and producers are concerned about GMO ingredients, knowing where their food comes from, and industrialisation in the feed and food industry. They want to have a more diversified, more resilient, farm-based agriculture – and there is increasing evidence, that food security worldwide is not a technical issue only, but foremost a social and political question on who has access to what kind of resources and food. Consumers and producers want to make informed choices with regard to production systems, which implies the right to know, whether seeds, feed or food contains GMOs.
    Reference: Fagan, J, Antoniou, M, and Robinson, C (2014).
    GMO Myths and Truths: An evidence-based examination of the claims made for the safety and efficacy of genetically modified crops and foods.
    Earth Open Source. http://www.earthopensource.org/index.php/reports/gmo-myths-and-truths
What are the “potentially detrimental impacts” of herbicide-resistant GMO crops?

In 2014, the environmental agencies of Germany, Austria and Switzerland published a literature review on this topic – and concluded that while the promises of higher yields cannot be supported in the field, there is clear evidence of higher pesticide use and detrimental impacts on “micro-biodiversity” and soil fertility. Apparently, there seems to be too little training and support to ensure the safe use of the technology. In the meanwhile, recently published books and studies question the safety of pesticides for human and animal health in general, but specifically of glyphosate. The target of many GMO-modified crops is resistance against glyphosate, the main component of the herbicide Round-up. Recent feeding studies indicate, that residues of glyphosate could lead to ingestion troubles and fertility problems, and as a consequence to a decrease in productivity of pork production. The Danish Government commissioned further research.

References

  1. B. Tappeser, W. Reichenbacher, H. Teichmann (eds.), 2014, Agronomic and environmental aspects of the cultivation of genetically modified herbicide-resistant plants, a joint paper of BfN (Germany), FOEN (Switzerland) and EAA (Austria)
  2. Leu A., 2014, The Myths of Safe Pesticides, Acres USA.
  3. Agrarkoordination und PAN Germany, 2014, Round-up & Co – Unterschätzte Gefahren; für eine grundlegende Umstellung des Pestizid-Zulassungsverfahrens und der Unkrautkontrolle.
  4. Pretty J., 2005, The Pesticide Detox: Towards a More Sustainable Agriculture, Earthscan.
  5. gmwatch.org/gm-reality/13882-gm-soy-linked-to-health-damage-in-pigs-a-danish-dossier.pdf
What does the Brussels Soy Declaration stand for?

In 2013, a host of European retailers and organizations from the food and feed industry declared their full support of the continued and even expanded production of GMO-free soy in Brazil in order to provide European consumers with GMO-free food products.
These signatories of the Brussel Soy Declaration appealed to all interested parties in Brazil (where most of the non-GMO soy comes from) which are, in the widest sense, involved with GMO-free soy production including seed production, farming storage and processing as well as companies associated with the transportation and export of soybeans and soy meal.

The signatories endorse and support the following measures to ensure the co-existence of GMO and non-GMO product flows in both the short and longer term:

  • Ensuring the widespread availability of conventional, GMO-free soybean seed for farmers wishing to produce conventional soy
  • Ensuring fair distribution of the Non-GMO premium to all participants in the supply chain
  • Enabling the widespread availability of segregated storage systems and traceability (identity preservation) system necessary for delivering certified non-GMO soy commodities to international markets
  • Expanding segregated logistics for transportation of non-GMO commodities
Can European Soy replace the imports of Soy from South America?

Europe imports around 12 million MT of soybeans and around 20 million MT of soybean meal each year. Soybeans are mostly imported from Brazil, Paraguay, Canada and the US, whereas the soybean meal comes, to a large extent, from Argentina and Brazil.
The approximately 400,000 hectares of soya grown in Europe today only represents around 3% of what Europe needs to produce for animal feed. Therefore, Europe imports over 30 million tonnes of soy from North and South America each year. But there are concerns about soy from the Americas regarding monoculture, deforestation of tropical rain forests, loss of biodiversity, soil and water pollution and the negative impact on small farmers and the native population. In addition, there is the societal debate on GMO versus non-GMO soybean crops.
Growing these crops in Europe is therefore of great interest to offer more options to the market and less dependency on imports.
European soybean production is predominately grown in Italy, covering about half of European production, but growth potential is mostly seen for Hungary, Romania, Austria, Serbia, Croatia and Ukraine. Soy production has a positive effect both for the climate and for the income situation of farmers in these countries. ProTerra has set up a cooperation with the Danube Soy Association, sharing the same vision of sustainable, fully traceable, non-GMO soy production for the European feed and food industry.

Questions about Governance:

  1. Danube Soy, VLOG and ARGE Gentechnikfrei are board members with voting rights and ProTerra Network members have no voting rights. Do they have a double function?A Member of the Proterra Network can be a Member of the Board of Directors. Members of the Board of Directors of a Foundation have voting rights. The fact that directors may represent a constituency does not characterize double function, but stakeholder representation. Members of the ProTerra Network may be nominated to the Stakeholders Council and appointed to the Board, for a term of 3 years. Directors abstain from voting in any decision that could represent possible conflict of interest.
  2. Must operators be operators additionally certified by VLOG, ARGE or NON-GMO Project to qualify for these consumer labels or is the ProTerra Standard enough? Yes, in order to obtain a consumer label, operators must beoperators to get consumer label must be additionally certified under VLOG, ARGE or NON-GMO Project, although VLOG and ARGE recognize ProTerra in their systems, which facilitates certification greatly, for the Non-MO part of the system has been verified regarding, for example, a feed or food ingredient.NOTE: Conversely, to be certified under the ProTerra Standard, and use the Proterra Seal on consumer product, organisations must operate Non-GMO production/systems. These can be their own systems if proven to be compliant, or certified under Cert ID Non-GMO, VLOG, ARGE or another Standard about Non-GMO. If their own systems show evidence of IP and segregation, ProTerra is enough for them to show equivalence with other standards.
  3. Does the ProTerra Standard have the deadline to meet NON-CORE criteria for operators? For organisations audited annually, this process is described in the Certification Protocol (link): 6.5 Non-conformities and Corrective Actions. This applies to farms certified on their own right, crushing plants, mills, collectors, feed compounders, etc.6.5.1.2 The Other Indicators must be met according to a written timetable and plan agreed with the economic operators being certified. Additionally, all certified organisations shall present a progress report on the implementation status of the action plan yearly, which will be verified during the annual ProTerra audit and then forwarded to the ProTerra Secretariat. These indicators allow for a phased approach where an action plan with a clear and reasonable timeframe for implementation can be accepted.6.5.4 The economic operator shall answer the non-conformity report with the corrective actions to be taken, and send it to the Certification Body within three months.

    6.5.5 The implementation of the corrective actions for non-core non-conformities will be verified at the next annual audit.

    For farms that are not certified independently, but verified under the certification system of a crushing plant or trading company, they must comply at the time of the verification audit with 80% of all indicators, included in the all the core indicators, to be approved in the supply system. If they do not comply with sufficient non-core indicators to reach 80% the above rules apply. If they pass there is no obligation to comply with 20% of the remaining non-core indicators, although the can elect the ones they want to comply with for continuous improvement.

  4. Why does ProTerra not specify a deadline to correct non-conformities? The implementation of non-conformities related to non-core indicators on a farm may demand different time frames, for example, building a shed for the pesticide containers, or a containment barrier for a fuel tank, or posting signs. We consider one year for implementation (next audit) to be the maximum required by an operator, but the approach and rate of compliance with the grower has proven much better and effective. This flexibility has helped growers to engage in the programme.
  5. How does the ProTerra programme determine when 80 percent NON-CORE and 100 percent CORE are fulfilled? Audit result metrics will indicate compliance and approval of audited or verified farms.NOTE: The sampling/statistical models of certification used for verification of farms differs from traditional schemes. The latter usually audit the square root of the number of farms, when doing group certification. ProTerra uses a risk based sampling methodology, that enables one to make informed inferences to assess the agricultural supply system of an organisation.
  6. How Does ProTerra assess that all corrective actions are implemented? For organisations certified in their own right, corrective action plans or re-audits are used to verify implementation.
    Certified organisations central to a given certification programme (sponsor) are responsible for monitoring implementation of corrective actions of their suppliers. Verification of the farms is valid for two years. Every year a percentage of farms are re-audited, but not 100% of farms with non-conformances are re-audited, it is by sampling. This is also used to monitor implementation of corrective actions.NOTE: One limitation any certification scheme faces, is that the population of supplier farms is a moving target, for not all the same farms are supplying the same crushing plant every year, and one must consider the reality of the market. One crushing plant may have 1200 farms supplying it. Under Proterra one audits substantially more than the square root normally used for sampling under other schemes. In some cases, a sample can comprise 200 farms in Brazil.
  7. When was the standard V3 launched? When will there be a revision?V3 was launched in 2014. ProTerra Team is planning for a new revision cycle with stakeholder consultation for 2017.
    How the ProTerra Standard created and what was are the key criteria?

    The basis for the ProTerra Standard is the so-called “Basel Criteria for Responsible Soy Production”, developed in 2004 as a common mandate from WWF Switzerland Coop Switzerland, a major retailer. The project had two objectives: first to ensure the protection of the Amazon Biome and other Areas of High Conservation Value against further land conversion and, second, to secure the supply of sustainably produced, fully traceable, non-GMO feed for meat, eggs and dairy products.

    Today the ProTerra Standard covers the following areas:

    • Procedures for risk assessment and continuous improvement
    • Legal and sustainable land use (no land conversion later than 1994 or compensation)
    • Good agricultural practices
    • Good environmental practices
    • Good labor practices in line with ILO Core conventions
    • Non-GMO and full traceability along the supply-chain

    The Standard was revised 2014 in a public and transparent consultation process according to the requirements of ISEAL for Credible Standard Setting. ProTerra is recognised as a credible sustainability standard for soy by the Consumer Goods Forum, WWF, the European Federation of Feed Manufacturers FEFAC, the Retailers’ Soy Group, VLOG – Verband Lebensmittel ohne Gentechnik (Germany), ARGE Gentechnik-frei (Austria), Nourri sans OGM (France) and others.

    The ProTerra Standard is applicable to all agricultural commodities – what does this mean?

    While the Basel Criteria was directed to soy, the ProTerra Standard was developed to be applicable to all agricultural commodities. Initial application was on soy, followed by sugarcane. Some pilots have taken place for maize and rapeseed is in the pipeline.

    • Auditing and certification of soy against the ProTerra Standard have taken place not only in Latin America but also in Europe, Russia, India since 2006.
    • In 2016, ProTerra certified 3.8 M Tons of Soy (a production table is attached below).
    • The Pro Terra certification can work anywhere however in geographies with many smallholders, namely India, we have certain challenges related to traceability and segregation. We are preparing for another pilot in India in 2017.
    • Obtaining ProTerra Certification normally requires 2-3 months in a country where ProTerra is present and active.
    Country
    year
    BR IN RU CA FR
    2013 2,970 25 5
    2014 2,404 10 60 20 5
    2015 3,760 80 20 5
    2016 3,470 83 20 5
    Country
    year
    US AR DE IT Total
    2013 3,000
    2014 2,489
    2015 20 3,885
    2016 25 100 150 3,853

    all numbers x1000

    • ProTerra Non-GMO production was reduced in 2014 due to the German Poultry Association (GDZ) in Germany deciding to stop producing Non-GMO fed birds. Later on they went back into production due to retailer and consumer pressure.
    • The ProTerra standard has been used to verify practices in the Sugar Cane Industry (so far only internal GAP audits preparing for later certification) started in 2006 and covering over 10 million MT per year.
    • In the last two years, producers like Tongaat Hullet in South Africa and Gardel in Guadaloupe have opted for full certification and we expect this trend to continue in 2017.
    What Countries are buying ProTerra certified soybeans and meal today?

    Below you have the number or Traceability Certificates of Compliance issued under Cert ID Non-GMO and ProTerra in 2016 for the various countries.

    COUNTRIES BUYERS Number of TCCs 1922
    NETHERLANDS 554
    BRAZIL 342
    TO ORDER – EU COUNTRIES 348
    GERMANY 99
    NORWAY 101
    FRANCE 58
    USA 45
    IRELAND 44
    AUSTRALIA 37
    RUSSIA 24
    CANADA 22
    NORTHERN IRELAND 21
    ITALY 18
    SAFE EUROPEAN PORT(S) 17
    ARGENTINA 14
    GREECE 14
    SPAIN 13
    CHINA 8
    SOUTH KOREA 8
    TURKEY 8
    LUXEMBOURG 5
    MEXICO 4
    SWEDEN 4
    UNITED KINGDOM 3
    CHILE 2
    DENMARK 2
    FAROE ISLANDS 2
    MADAGASCAR 2
    UNITED STATES 2
    URUGUAY 2
    INDONESIA 1
    IVORY COAST 1
    JAPAN 1
    NEW ZEALAND 1
    POLAND 1
    SCOTLAND 1
    SINGAPORE 1
    SPANISH AND/OR PORTUGUESE AND/OR ITALIAN PORT(S) 1
    VIETNAM 1

    Note: Please note that Netherlands and Brazil are destinations actually bound to other geographies.
    Only a smaller proportion of those TCCs are for product actually used in the country, some of those being used to make other products for export, for example poultry.

    Why does non-GMO matter?

    There are three areas of concern about GMOs with regard to sustainability:

    1. There is still a scientific debate whether genetic engineering is harmless for animal and human health as proponents of GMO claims. In the meantime, there is peer reviewed scientific evidence available that says that there might be risks. Only in January 2015, a manifesto signed by over 300 independent scientists and scholars was published pointing out that claims stating that a scientific consensus over the safety of GMO exists are non-justified and misleading (URL: http://www.enveurope.com/content/27/1/4/abstract)
    2. With the use of GMO crops a change in farming practices is being observed which leads to more monoculture and less diversity in crops and farming practices. This has led to an increase in herbicide-resistant weeds, and therefore higher use of pesticides with all the related side-effects (pollution of aquifers, detrimental effect of workers’ health, loss of “micro-biodiversity”) – but also increased costs for producers.
    3. Many consumers and producers are concerned about GMO ingredients, knowing where their food comes from, and industrialisation in the feed and food industry. They want to have a more diversified, more resilient, farm-based agriculture – and there is increasing evidence, that food security worldwide is not a technical issue only, but foremost a social and political question on who has access to what kind of resources and food. Consumers and producers want to make informed choices with regard to production systems, which implies the right to know, whether seeds, feed or food contains GMOs.Reference: Fagan, J, Antoniou, M, and Robinson, C (2014).
      GMO Myths and Truths: An evidence-based examination of the claims made for the safety and efficacy of genetically modified crops and foods.
      Earth Open Source. http://www.earthopensource.org/index.php/reports/gmo-myths-and-truths
    What are the “potentially detrimental impacts” of herbicide-resistant GMO crops?

    In 2014, the environmental agencies of Germany, Austria and Switzerland published a literature review on this topic – and concluded that while the promises of higher yields cannot be supported in the field, there is clear evidence of higher pesticide use and detrimental impacts on “micro-biodiversity” and soil fertility. Apparently there seems to be too little training and support to ensure the safe use of the technology. In the meanwhile, recently published books and studies question the safety of pesticides for human and animal health in general, but specifically of glyphosate. The target of many GMO-modified crops is resistance against glyphosate, the main component of the herbicide Round-up. Recent feeding studies indicate, that residues of glyphosate could lead to ingestion troubles and fertility problems, and as a consequence to a decrease in productivity of pork production. The Danish Government commissioned further research.

    References

    1. B. Tappeser, W. Reichenbacher, H. Teichmann (eds.), 2014, Agronomic and environmental aspects of the cultivation of genetically modified herbicide-resistant plants, a joint paper of BfN (Germany), FOEN (Switzerland) and EAA (Austria)
    2. Leu A., 2014, The Myths of Safe Pesticides, Acres USA.
    3. Agrarkoordination und PAN Germany, 2014, Round-up & Co – Unterschätzte Gefahren; für eine grundlegende Umstellung des Pestizid-Zulassungsverfahrens und der Unkrautkontrolle.
    4. Pretty J., 2005, The Pesticide Detox: Towards a More Sustainable Agriculture, Earthscan.
    5. gmwatch.org/gm-reality/13882-gm-soy-linked-to-health-damage-in-pigs-a-danish-dossier.pdf
    What does the Brussels Soy Declaration stand for?

    In 2013, a host of European retailers and organizations from the food and feed industry declared their full support of the continued and even expanded production of GMO-free soy in Brazil in order to provide European consumers with GMO-free food products.
    These signatories of the Brussel Soy Declaration appealed to all interested parties in Brazil (where most of the non-GMO soy comes from) which are, in the widest sense, involved with GMO-free soy production including seed production, farming storage and processing as well as companies associated with the transportation and export of soybeans and soy meal.

    The signatories endorse and support the following measures to ensure the co-existence of GMO and non-GMO product flows in both the short and longer term:

    • Ensuring the widespread availability of conventional, GMO-free soybean seed for farmers wishing to produce conventional soy
    • Ensuring fair distribution of the Non-GMO premium to all participants in the supply chain
    • Enabling the widespread availability of segregated storage systems and traceability (identity preservation) system necessary for delivering certified non-GMO soy commodities to international markets
    • Expanding segregated logistics for transportation of non-GMO commodities
    Can European Soy replace the imports of Soy from South America?

    Europe imports around 12 million MT of soybeans and around 20 million MT of soybean meal each year. Soybeans are mostly imported from Brazil, Paraguay, Canada and the US, whereas the soybean meal comes, to a large extent, from Argentina and Brazil.
    The approximately 400,000 hectares of soya grown in Europe today only represents around 3% of what Europe needs to produce for animal feed. Therefore, Europe imports over 30 million tonnes of soy from North and South America each year. But there are concerns about soy from the Americas regarding monoculture, deforestation of tropical rain forests, loss of biodiversity, soil and water pollution and the negative impact on small farmers and the native population. In addition, there is the societal debate on GMO versus non-GMO soybean crops.
    Growing these crops in Europe is therefore of great interest to offer more options to the market and less dependency on imports.
    European soybean production is predominately grown in Italy, covering about half of European production, but growth potential is mostly seen for Hungary, Romania, Austria, Serbia, Croatia and Ukraine. Soy production has a positive effect both for the climate and for the income situation of farmers in these countries. ProTerra has set up a cooperation with the Danube Soy Association, sharing the same vision of sustainable, fully traceable, non-GMO soy production for the European feed and food industry.

    Questions about Governance:

    1. Danube Soy, VLOG and ARGE Gentechnikfrei are board members with voting rights and ProTerra Network members have no voting rights. Do they have a double function?A Member of the Proterra Network can be a Member of the Board of Directors. Members of the Board of Directors of a Foundation have voting rights. The fact that directors may represent a constituency does not characterize double function, but stakeholder representation. Members of the ProTerra Network may be nominated to the Stakeholders Council and appointed to the Board, for a term of 3 years. Directors abstain from voting in any decision that could represent possible conflict of interest.
    2. Must operators be operators additionally certified by VLOG, ARGE or NON-GMO Project to qualify for these consumer labels or is the ProTerra Standard enough? Yes, in order to obtain a consumer label, operators must beoperators to get consumer label must be additionally certified under VLOG, ARGE or NON-GMO Project, although VLOG and ARGE recognize ProTerra in their systems, which facilitates certification greatly, for the Non-MO part of the system has been verified regarding, for example, a feed or food ingredient.NOTE: Conversely, to be certified under the ProTerra Standard, and use the Proterra Seal on consumer product, organisations must operate Non-GMO production/systems. These can be their own systems if proven to be compliant, or certified under Cert ID Non-GMO, VLOG, ARGE or another Standard about Non-GMO. If their own systems show evidence of IP and segregation, ProTerra is enough for them to show equivalence with other standards.
    3. Does the ProTerra Standard have the deadline to meet NON-CORE criteria for operators? For organisations audited annually, this process is described in the Certification Protocol (link): 6.5 Non-conformities and Corrective Actions. This applies to farms certified on their own right, crushing plants, mills, collectors, feed compounders, etc.6.5.1.2 The Other Indicators must be met according to a written timetable and plan agreed with the economic operators being certified. Additionally, all certified organisations shall present a progress report on the implementation status of the action plan yearly, which will be verified during the annual ProTerra audit and then forwarded to the ProTerra Secretariat. These indicators allow for a phased approach where an action plan with a clear and reasonable timeframe for implementation can be accepted.6.5.4 The economic operator shall answer the non-conformity report with the corrective actions to be taken, and send it to the Certification Body within three months.

      6.5.5 The implementation of the corrective actions for non-core non-conformities will be verified at the next annual audit.

      For farms that are not certified independently, but verified under the certification system of a crushing plant or trading company, they must comply at the time of the verification audit with 80% of all indicators, included in the all the core indicators, to be approved in the supply system. If they do not comply with sufficient non-core indicators to reach 80% the above rules apply. If they pass there is no obligation to comply with 20% of the remaining non-core indicators, although the can elect the ones they want to comply with for continuous improvement.

    4. Why does ProTerra not specify a deadline to correct non-conformities? The implementation of non-conformities related to non-core indicators on a farm may demand different time frames, for example, building a shed for the pesticide containers, or a containment barrier for a fuel tank, or posting signs. We consider one year for implementation (next audit) to be the maximum required by an operator, but the approach and rate of compliance with the grower has proven much better and effective. This flexibility has helped growers to engage in the programme.
    5. How does the ProTerra programme determine when 80 percent NON-CORE and 100 percent CORE are fulfilled? Audit result metrics will indicate compliance and approval of audited or verified farms.NOTE: The sampling/statistical models of certification used for verification of farms differs from traditional schemes. The latter usually audit the square root of the number of farms, when doing group certification. ProTerra uses a risk based sampling methodology, that enables one to make informed inferences to assess the agricultural supply system of an organisation.
    6. How Does ProTerra assess that all corrective actions are implemented? For organisations certified in their own right, corrective action plans or re-audits are used to verify implementation.
      Certified organisations central to a given certification programme (sponsor) are responsible for monitoring implementation of corrective actions of their suppliers. Verification of the farms is valid for two years. Every year a percentage of farms are re-audited, but not 100% of farms with non-conformances are re-audited, it is by sampling. This is also used to monitor implementation of corrective actions.NOTE: One limitation any certification scheme faces, is that the population of supplier farms is a moving target, for not all the same farms are supplying the same crushing plant every year, and one must consider the reality of the market. One crushing plant may have 1200 farms supplying it. Under Proterra one audits substantially more than the square root normally used for sampling under other schemes. In some cases, a sample can comprise 200 farms in Brazil.
    7. When was the standard V3 launched? When will there be a revision?V3 was launched in 2014. ProTerra Team is planning for a new revision cycle with stakeholder consultation for 2017.

        WE ARE INTERESTED IN YOUR QUESTIONS

        Augusto Freire
        Chairman

        Email: augusto.freire@proterrafoundation.org
        Cel: +55 51 9117-8541
        Tel: +31 30 3200228
        Skype: augustocmfreire

        Graham Mitchell
        Executive Director

        Tel: +1-781-312-7812
        Skype: mitchell.graham

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