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Responsibly Managed Peatlands

A Veriflora® Certification for Responsible Horticultural Peat Moss Production
Jennifer Watters, Client Services Manager, Sustainability phone icon510.452.8054 Email
peat moss

Meet rising industry and consumer expectations for transparency regarding your peat moss production practices. SCS’ Responsibly Managed Peatlands program is the world’s leading differentiator of peat moss products. Certification strengthens your position in the marketplace, providing assurance to your customers that producers of this valuable resource are working to preserve it for future generations. Certified companies operate in a way that reduces stress on the environment and improves the welfare of workers and nearby communities.

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Program Details

Program Goals

The goals of the Responsibly Managed Peatlands program are to:

  • To encourage a growing segment of the peat moss production sector to implement best management practices in terms of environmental, social and quality performance;
  • To stimulate innovation and promote continuing improvement over time;
  • To provide a uniform standard and assessment matrix that can be applied when evaluating the performance of a diverse array of responsible peatland management approaches;
  • To promote sound and responsible working conditions and ensure adequate health and safety measures for workers protection;
  • To encourage peat moss producers to be good neighbors in their engagement with the surrounding community;
  • To raise public awareness about the issues and solutions associated with peat moss production; and
  • To stimulate consumer purchases that reinforce responsible peatland management.

Eligibility and Program Scope:

The certification program applies to all processes and inputs under the certified operation’s management related to the harvesting and handling of peat moss, including facilities involved in the screening of peat materials and creation of peat mixes. The program assesses responsible peatland management practices that span bog opening, harvesting, and restoration or rehabilitation activities that occur after bog closing. Peat moss production systems of all sizes, located around the globe, are eligible.

Background and Conformance Requirements:

The requirements of the Responsibly Managed Peatlands program have been developed in accordance with SCS’ Standards Development Procedure, which emphasizes stakeholder input and transparency. The Responsibly Managed Peatlands program was developed in 2012, in collaboration with the CSPMA and APTHQ* in Canada, U.S. and Canadian government representatives, university experts and peat moss producers and blenders. Four years later, SCS initiated a standard revision process to update the standard and incorporate the latest science and industry best practices.

On August 7, 2017 SCS published a new version of the Responsibly Managed Peatlands requirements, in the form of a standalone standard, the Responsibly Managed Peatlands Standard Version 1.0. Operations have the option of conforming under this new version or the previous version, the Veriflora® Responsible Horticultural Peat Moss Production Annex, until January 1, 2018, after which conformance to the Responsibly Managed Peatlands Standard Version 1.0 is required. Certified operations may communicate their commitment to responsible peatland management directly on product through use of the SCS Kingfisher Mark.

*Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association (CSPMA) and L’Association des producteurs de tourbe horticole du Québec (APTHQ)

Complementary Services

SCS provides additional services to peat moss operations, including carbon footprint certification and Life Cycle Assessment. Veriflora® Sustainably Grown certification is available for responsibly produced cut flowers and ornamental plant operations and presents an opportunity for stakeholders to demonstrate commitment to the entire horticultural supply chain through support of both the Veriflora® Sustainably Grown and Responsibly Managed Peatlands programs.

Certification Process

The certification process involves detailed on-site inspections, document and record review, worker and management interviews, and annual follow-up. Certificates are issued for three years.

  1. Apply for Certification
  2. Authorize a Proposal
    • SCS will review your application and prepare a proposal for your approval with scope of work, timeline and quote summarized in a Work Order. To initiate the certification process, sign and return the Work Order.
  3. Schedule and Prepare for Audit
    • Upon receipt of the signed Work Order, SCS will work with you to schedule the audit. SCS will provide an audit plan and request documents in advance of the onsite audit. You complete a Self-Assessment Checklist to help prepare for the audit.
  4. Undergo Audit
    • The SCS auditor conducts an on-site audit which includes document review, worker interviews, and field observations. The draft findings are communicated in a closing meeting. The Audit Report is sent to you within 20 business days.
  5. Corrective Actions
    • Any issues cited in the Non-Conformity Report (NCR) are addressed by your Corrective Action Plans (CAPs) within 30 days. CAPs provide clear evidence that implementation occurred.
  6. Decision
    • SCS issues a certification decision based on your CAPs.
  7. Certification
    • Upon successful certification, SCS issues a certificate with unique registration number. SCS also provides the Kingfisher Certification Mark with the corresponding Sustainably Grown Kingfisher Certification Mark Labeling and Language Guide. Certificates are valid for 3 years and surveillance audits are conducted annually.

For immediate service:

Jennifer Watters, Client Services Manager, Sustainability phone icon 510.452.8054 Email Jennifer