The public consultation on the revision of ProTerra V4.1 was open from 30/11/2022 to 28/02/2023. During this period, 151 comments/ suggestions were received.
Of the 151 pieces of feedback received, 46% were internal feedback (from webinars, ProTerra courses, the outcome of benchmarking assessments, meetings with stakeholders and internal staff). Figures 1 and 2 show the distribution of the comments, while Table 1 shows the number of comments received per type of organisation.
Table 1.0 – Summary of external organizations participating in the public consultation process
A wide range of themes were suggested, and no single topic dominated during the public consultation. The ProTerra Principle that received the most comments (18 in total) was PRINCIPLE 1: Compliance with the law, international conventions, with topics such as incorporating a risk approach and additional management system monitoring. This was followed by the number of comments received for PRINCIPLE 2: Human rights and responsible labour policies and practices (17), including items on minimum wages. PRINCIPLE 9: Adoption of good agricultural practices, was the third in terms of the number of comments received (15), with regenerative agricultural practices being a recurring topic.
Finally, several questions were placed in relation to PRINCIPLE 5: No use of Genetically Modified Organisms (10 questions), specifically concerning the future of Crisp and Cas technologies and their approach within ProTerra. The new EU regulations on deforestation-free commodities also featured in the public consultation, particularly in relation to the need for geo-referencing of farms.
New topics were also suggested for consideration in the next version of the ProTerra Standard, including animal welfare, food safety and anti-corruption. Clarification was requested on a number of definitions and on the certification cycle.
In relation to the public consultation process and the revision of the ProTerra Standard, the next steps are as follows:
- The ProTerra Certification and Standard Committee will discuss all the comments received, the potential responses to each stakeholder and the associated changes to the ProTerra Standard.
- The Board approves or recommends changes to the responses to the stakeholder responses and relevant changes to the Standard;
- ProTerra Foundation will send the responses to each of the stakeholders that participated in the public consultation;
- ProTerra Foundation will publish a summary of all suggestions and the respective final answers.
- Version 5 of the ProTerra Standard will be prepared and made available with a summary of the changes.
This process is expected to be completed by the beginning of December 2023.