The use of the ProTerra Logos and Seals

Labelling is the process of providing consumers with information about the product they are purchasing. It can be used for both business-to-business transactions (B2B) and end-consumer products (business-to-consumer, or B2C).

The information on a label can range from nutritional facts to allergen warnings, and it can also include sustainability-related attributes, such as whether a food is GMO-free or deforestation-free. For many consumers, food labels are a primary source of information about the foods and products they eat. It is therefore important that labels are trustworthy, and that companies are held accountable for the claims made on their products. In general, food and feed labelling are governed by regulations that vary from country to country. These regulations typically specify what information must, or must not, be included on the label, where it must be placed, and how it must be presented.

When it comes to sustainability-related attributes (or claims), there are several certifications and labels that can be used to communicate this information to consumers, including those associated with ProTerra certification. In these cases, the label owners define a set of rules for the use of their label (or logo), including size, colour, and requirements for the accompanying statement among a few others.

It is important to note that not all sustainability-related attributes are regulated or certified, and some labels may be used in a misleading or deceptive way. A study made by the EU Commission[1] indicated that 53.3% of environmental claims examined in the EU were found to be vague, misleading, or unfounded and 40% were unsubstantiated.

Because of the misleading potential of labels, the EU is working on a common criterion to avoid these misleading situations, associated with greenwashing and to ensure that consumers will have more clarity and stronger reassurance that when something is sold with a label, it has the attributes the label claims. This will allow for better quality information to support the consumer´s decision-making process. According to the EU proposal, when companies choose to make a ‘green claim’ about their products or services, they will have to respect minimum norms on how they substantiate and communicate these claims, including the need for claims to be independently verified and proven with scientific evidence.

ProTerra Claims

The ProTerra Foundation has published Guidelines that aim at providing comprehensive rules that govern the use of the ProTerra Logo and Seals in both business-to-business transactions and end-consumer products.

The ProTerra Foundation is the owner of the ProTerra Certification Standards and promotes them globally as a verification and certification system for evidencing social responsibility, sustainability, traceability and non-GMO crop requirements in food and feed supply chains. By sourcing ProTerra-certified products and applying ProTerra Seals, market players are helping consumers make informed choices about the products and services they purchase.

The ProTerra Guidelines and Requirements for the Use of the ProTerra Logos and Seals apply to any business or organisation wishing to use the ProTerra Foundation Logo, the ProTerra Network Member Logo, or the ProTerra Certified Seal.

The following types of ProTerra labels are currently available:

  • ProTerra Foundation Logo: The ProTerra Foundation Logo is the organisational trademark of the ProTerra Foundation and should not be confused with the ProTerra Certified Seal. It can be used by partner organisations that wish to communicate their relationship with the ProTerra Foundation; media professionals, publishers, universities and the public sector may use the logo for illustrative purposes. The ProTerra Foundation Logo is typically used in marketing materials, publications, CSR Reporting, websites and other corporate materials.

  • ProTerra Network Member Logo: The ProTerra Network Member Logo is the network trademark and should not be confused with the ProTerra Foundation Logo, nor the ProTerra Certified Seal. It may only be used in marketing materials, publications, CSR Reporting, websites and other corporate materials of ProTerra Network Members.

  • ProTerra Certification Seals: can be used by economic actors along the food and feed value chain who are members of the ProTerra Network and who have a valid certification against the ProTerra Standards, that is: have been inspected and approved by an independent and qualified third-party (approved meaning that the ProTerra requirements are met as defined in the Standards and Audit Protocol). These seals and can be used on a product, and on product marketing material for certified products, multi-ingredient products as defined in the ProTerra Guidelines.

The ProTerra Certified Seal assures consumers that the certified product originates from raw materials and a production process that respects environmentally and socially responsible practices and does not include genetically modified crops or (alternative) products. To make such claims producers have to successfully pass a certification audit of their operations against the ProTerra Standards. Therefore, the ProTerra Certified Seal is used exclusively to label products that have a valid certificate for responsible non-GMO production and traceability.

Do you have a question about the uses of the ProTerra Logo and Seals? Please contact us