IFOAM Accreditation is primarily a means of ensuring fair and orderly trade of organic products. It is in this sense a service for the trade and producers as well as for certifiers. IFOAM Accreditation facilitates equivalency of organic certification bodies worldwide by confirming whether they meet IFOAM's international norms.
A list of certification bodies currently accredited under one of the IFOAM Accreditation Programs can be found here.
IFOAM offers the two following Accreditations Programs to certification bodies:
The IFOAM Accreditation Program was launched in 1992. It has been operating on the basis of the IFOAM Norms, composed, up to 2011, of the IFOAM Basic Standards (IBS), and the IFOAM Accreditation Criteria (IAC). IFOAM accreditation was awarded to certification bodies that complied with the IAC and that used certification standards that meet the IBS. In the 2012 edition of the IFOAM Norms, the IAC have been renamed “IFOAM Accreditation Requirements” (IAR) and the IBS has been replaced by the IFOAM Standard and the IFOAM Standards Requirements (COROS). Starting from August 2012, IFOAM-Accredited certification bodies have a 2-year period to bring their standard in compliance with the IFOAM Standard.
IFOAM Global Organic System Accreditation (IGOSA)
This accreditation program has been launched in 2010, called the IFOAM Global Organic System Accreditation (IGOSA). To obtain the IGOSA, certification bodies must also demonstrate compliance with the IAR, but can use any private standard or regulation approved in the IFOAM Family of Standards. This means certification bodies choosing this service can benefit from all the quality improvement measures inherent in the IFOAM Accreditation Requirements but can apply it to a much broader range of organic standard or regulations.
Hence the IFOAM Global Organic System Accreditation, unlike the IFOAM Accreditation, is not based on the concept of compliance with a particular production standard, but on the concept of equivalence, which is at the core of the IFOAM Family of Standards. The concept of full compliance remains however applied with regards to the control requirements (full compliance with the IFOAM Accreditation Requirements is required).
For more information on IFOAM norms that are the basis of these two accreditation program, click here.
IFOAM Accreditation and the IGOSA are the only fully international accreditation programs for certification bodies active in organic agriculture. Both accreditations are carried out by the International Organic Accreditation Service (IOAS) under an Agreement with IFOAM. The IOAS also administers the IFOAM Seal, in accordance with IFOAM’s policy on the use of the IFOAM Seal.
IFOAM advocates for recognition of its accreditation programs by governments.
Recommendations on how governments can regulate the import of organic products based on the concept of equivalence, using these accreditation programs, is explained under the IFOAM Policy Brief on Imports.