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Frequently Asked Questions

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  • The Friend of the Earth Project
    • Friend of the Earth is a certification scheme for products from sustainable agriculture and farming. Friend of the Earth is one of the projects developed by the World Sustainability Organization, based in Milan, Italy.
    • Friend of the Earth is the result of the important long-term experience with Friend of the Sea project. Over 400 companies in 50 countries around the world rely on Friend of the Sea (www.friendofthesea.org) to ensure the sustainability of their products. Managed by the World Sustainability Organization, Friend of the Earth was founded in 2013 as an initiative to provide consumers with a way to recognize the products of sustainable agriculture and motivate companies to produce in a more respectful way towards the environment.
    • Friend of the Earth has a slim structure to avoid administration costs overload. It takes advantage of new communication technologies to accelerate the development of projects and reduce travel costs.
    • The purpose of Friend of the Earth is to direct the agricultural practices towards a perspective of sustainability. The sustainability is addressed not only to safeguard the environment but also the society and the economy.
    • Sustainable development is configured as " development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs", in addition "far from being a final state of harmony, it is rather a process of change in which the exploitation of resources, the direction of investments, the orientation of technological development and the institutional change are made consistent with the needs of the future and the present” (WCDE, 1987).
    • According with FAO definition, sustainability in agriculture is achieved with “the management and conservation of the natural resource, the orientation of technological and institutional change in such a manner as to ensure the attainment and continued satisfaction of human needs for present and future generations. Such development aims to conserve land, water, plant, and animal genetic resources, is environmentally non-degrading, technically appropriate, economically viable and socially acceptable”.
    • The certification standard has been developed based on FAO's SAFA’s (Sustainability Assessment of Food and Agriculture systems) guidelines. It consists of several performance indicators, to be complied with by the operators in order to be certified. The criteria can be summarized as follows: - Site development respectful of pre-existing habitat. - Integrated pest management methods. - Optimization of resources and waste management. - Improved energy efficiency. - Compliance with regulations. - Social Responsability.
    • Friend of the Earth certification is directed to all farms who want to demonstrate their sustainable production practices. Affordable audit costs allow for involvement also of small-scale producers.
  • The Audit Process
    • In order to apply for certification, please contact Friend of the Earth (info@friendoftheearth.org). You will be requested to fill out the Preliminary Information Form (PIF), which you can find also in the Download area of Friend of the Earth website. The PIF will be reviewed by Friend of the Earth. Friend of the Earth will send you a quotation proposal for the audit - the Audit and License Agreement (ALA), which your company will have to fill in and sign.
    • The audit is organized and conducted by third party certification bodies. Only certification bodies accredited to ISO are accredited to carry out the Friend of the Earth's audit.
    • Once received the signed contract (ALA), the selected Certification Body will contact your company in order to organize audit dates.
    • Audit requires a minimum of one day at the production site, to carry out all the required controls, and a maximum of 2 weeks for the review and realization of audit’s Report.
    • Two certificates are produced: one from the certification body, certifying the inspection. One from Friend of the Earth, authorizing the use of the logo.
    • The certification has three years validity, during which the company is subject to at least one surveillance audit for Chain of Custody traceability and further monitoring.
Friend of the Earth - C.so Buenos Aires 37, 20124 Milan Italy - HQ +39 0287075166 - Italy +39 3485650306 - Skype: friend.of.the.earth - Elastico Comunicazione