Demand for sustainably grown food and fiber products has never been stronger. Innovations by commodity crops, specialty crops, and horticulture growers have led to major improvements in energy efficiency, waste management, air and water quality protection, carbon sequestration, work conditions, and community relations.
Our Sustainably Grown standard supports growers and supply chain handlers committed to sustainable agricultural production over the long-term. Certification under this program helps you identify practical steps on the path to sustainability, adds visibility to your market claims, and satisfies retailer, manufacturer and food service supply chain specifications.
Growers involved in the production of any food or fiber crop are eligible to apply for certification. Supply chain handlers, including packers, distributors, and transportation services, may also apply for handler certification.
Certification reinforces your position as a leader in efforts to minimize environmental impacts, provide a safe and healthy work environment, and protect product integrity.
Operations are evaluated under the following criteria categories:
Certification is issued at two tiers of performance. The basic certification, Tier 1, is based on conformance with all prerequisites, and 90% of the Tier 1 requirements. The second, higher level (Tier 2) requires conformance with 80% of Tier 2 requirements.
SCS Global Services provides a full suite of certification, auditing and testing services for the agricultural production sector that can complement your sustainability certification objectives. For the most cost-effective service options, ask about our food safety, organic, flavor, antioxidant superfood, and pesticide residue free program options.
Apply for Certification
Submit your application. You receive the SCS Assessment Services Agreement. Complete, sign, and return.
Authorize a Work Order
We prepare a work order that includes the scope, costs and details of the audit. Once you authorize the work order, we schedule your evaluation audit. This scope may be expanded based on findings in step 3.
You complete a Self-Assessment Checklist (SAC). We review your checklist and supporting documentation to help you identify gaps in conformance and areas for improvement.
The audit includes an on-site inspection, document review, evidence gathering, and interviews with office and management staff, and employees. Typically 1 to 1.5 days per site.
SCS sends you the final audit report within 15-20 business days. The timeframe for responding to the audit findings begins on the date the report is sent.
Corrective Action Plan
You develop a corrective action plan (CAP) to respond to any non-conformities, listing corrective and preventative actions and evidence of implementation.
SCS reviews the audit report, your CAP and evidence submitted and renders a certification decision. Successful applicants receive the applicable Sustainably Grown certification mark, a certificate valid for three years, and logo use guidelines.
Annual surveillance audits are required to maintain certification status.
SCS Global Services has helped to drive current efforts to develop an American National standard for sustainable agriculture (LEO 4000). We are closely tracking its progress, and will ensure that all growers participating in our Sustainably Grown program will meet or exceed this standard once it is finalized in order to provide you with even greater recognition opportunities.
The published aims of the proposed American National Sustainable Agriculture Standard are:
Participants who pursue recognition under the SCS Sustainably Grown certification program can benefit in several ways:
What is SCS Sustainably Grown?
SCS Sustainably Grown is a sustainable agriculture certification program for fresh food and plant-based ingredient producers.
What are the basic procedures and processes affected by certification?
The Sustainably Grown certification program delivers products backed by true agricultural sustainability, with producers required to put practices in place throughout the production, management, and distribution processes in order to guarantee the highest level of:
What crops can become certified to Sustainably Grown?
Fruits, vegetables, grains, herbs, flowers, and other fresh food crops.
How much does it cost to become certified?
Fees are determined based upon size and complexity of the operation. Auditor fees are calculated on a per diem basis, plus travel time and expenses; administrative fees are determined by the number of sites audited.
How long is my certification good for?
Certification is granted for a three-year period, with annual surveillance audits to confirm continued compliance with requirements.
What supporting documentation is required of the grower?
Growers must provide the following documentation (and others) prior to certification, and then again annually in support of their surveillance audits: Crop production area and annual yield, by product; Agrochemical use; Water use; Energy use; Waste disposal and recycling records; Agrochemical use; and Composting records.
What types of producers will benefit from Sustainably Grown certification?
Sustainably Grown certification is a good fit for producers who wish to incorporate the highest level of sustainable agriculture practices and to have those practices validated and recognized by retailers, buyers, or consumers. The SCS Sustainably Grown Kingfisher mark supports certified clients' efforts to convey their sustainability practices with on-product labeling.
What makes Sustainably Grown different from other sustainable agriculture certifications?
The Sustainably Grown standard requires that the growers incorporate environmentally beneficial practices at all levels of production, maintain a high level of product quality, as well as provide worker and community benefits. It is one of the highest levels of sustainability certification a grower can achieve, as confirmed by independent evaluations.
What are the top reasons growers give for pursuing Sustainably Grown certification?