Tag Archives: Certification Standard

SAN analyzes exceptions for the restricted use of FAO/WHO HHP pesticides

SAN analyzes exceptions for the restricted use of FAO/WHO HHP pesticides

When The Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN)  published its new 2017 Sustainable Agriculture Standard in September 2016, it was accompanied with a completely updated set of SAN prohibited pesticides containing 125 active ingredients classified as Highly Hazardous Pesticides by the FAO/WHO, additional to 25 obsolete substances. These SAN lists will be binding for audits that take place on or after July 1, 2017.


During a special round of public consultation in 2015/16, stakeholders in North and South explained the challenge to eliminate at least one eighth of these 150 active ingredients on the short run. As a consequence, in September 2016 SAN issued a procedure for exceptional pesticide use and invited stakeholders to send applications for exceptional use. This reception period of applications was closed by March 31, 2017.

From a total of 69 applications received over the last six months, 75% complied with the published SAN information requirements for the potential use of 15 active ingredients in 28 countries and 35 crops.

Some of the applications include Fungicide carbendazim for the flower sector in Colombia; Nematicide ethoprophos for the pineapple sector in Costa Rica; and Herbicide glufosinate ammonium for the banana sector in the Philippines.

The SAN pesticide expert group will analyze the requests during its May meeting in Costa Rica and decide about which active ingredients may be used under strict SAN risk mitigation requirements until June 2020.

SAN will publish an updated policy by June 15, 2017 that will reflect the results of the expert group decisions.

For more information, please contact s&p@san.ag

SAN technical community getting ready for the 2017 Standard

SAN technical community getting ready for the 2017 Standard

The in person training activities for the 2017 SAN Standard are progressing successfully with five regional workshops so far this year.

In January a workshop was held in Indonesia with a total of 24 trainers and auditors from the Rainforest Alliance and RA-Cert. The in person training will culminate with two more regional workshops: one in Colombia in April and the last one in Guatemala in May.

Watch in this video what the trainers told SAN about the new Standard and their work for sustainability:

In person training activities for the 2017 SAN Standard continue successfully

In person training activities for the 2017 SAN Standard continue successfully

The in person training activities for the 2017 SAN Standard are progressing successfully with five regional workshops so far this year.


In January the workshops were held in Indonesia and Ivory Coast; in February in Kenya; and in March one in India and one in Brazil.

An average of 20 people participated in each activity.  Rainforest Alliance and RA-Cert technicians participated in the workshop in Indonesia; In Ivory Coast staff from the Rainforest Alliance, RA-Cert, CEFCA and AfriCert; In Kenya from the Rainforest Alliance, RA-Cert and Africert; In India technicians from Rainforest Alliance, RA-Cert, IMO and INDOCERT; And finally in Brazil staff from Imaflora and IBD Certifications.

The regional workshops bring together the member organizations of the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) and the certification bodies working in these particular regions. The objective is to address the specific needs of these actors in their working regions, with particular attention to the implementation and auditing of the 2017 SAN Standard.


According to SAN’s Learning & Support Manager, Silvia Rioja, the regional workshops have allowed “harmonization of the interpretation of the standard between different organizations and optimization of the techniques to implement the requirements and evaluate them, which will allow the technical teams carry out their work efficiently”.

The in person training will culminate with two more regional workshops: one in Colombia in April and the last one in Guatemala in May.

Subsequently, Continuous Training will be conducted through SAN’s e-Learning Center.

2017 SAN Standard supports compliance with the 2015 UK Modern Slavery Act

2017 SAN Standard supports compliance with the 2015 UK Modern Slavery Act

The Modern Slavery Act, passed into UK law in March 2015, is the first of its kind in Europe and one of the first in the world to address forced labor and human trafficking in the 21st century.

Rainforest Alliance Certification, which requires compliance with the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) standards, has long held the protection of human rights as a central tenet and objective. As such, the SAN and Rainforest Alliance welcome the UK Modern Slavery Act as a positive step toward mainstreaming rights-protection norms, good practices, and supply chain transparency, which our certification program has long promoted.


Sourcing products from Rainforest Alliance CertifiedTM farms helps companies meet requirements of the 2015 UK Modern Slavery Act in the following ways:

  • Strict human rights policies and risk reduction procedures at farm level: The 2017 SAN Sustainable Agriculture Standard aligns with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, national laws, and the International Labour Organization (ILO) Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.
  • A strong assurance mechanism: Certified farms receive third-party on-site audits to detect whether or not human rights violations have occurred, and to determine that procedures to protect human rights are operating effectively.
  • Traceability and transparency: Companies using the Rainforest Alliance CertifiedTM seal source ingredients that are traceable back to certified farms that comply with the SAN standards.

If you want to know more about the specific criteria of the SAN 2017 Sustainable Agriculture Standard that support compliance with the 2015 UK Modern Slavery Act, you can read a special report with the details in our library.


WWF/ISEAL report: How credible standards can help companies deliver the 2030 agenda

WWF/ISEAL report: How credible standards can help companies deliver the 2030 agenda

A new report by WWF and ISEAL Alliance explores how businesses can use credible voluntary sustainability standards to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The report shows how sustainability standards can help ‘scale up’ efforts to achieve the SDGs: “Credible sustainability standards and certification schemes are a key tool in market transformation and its contribution to SDGs. Credible standards provide guidance on what better production or sustainability for the mainstream, look like in a concrete and practical way, focused on a specific process, sector or industry. This helps businesses to address the biggest impacts in a specific sector. In doing so, a standard typically contributes across a number of SDGs.”


Specific point oh how standards can help businesses in moving towards the SDGs mentioned in the reports include: “standards pioneer innovative solutions such as HCVs, traceability, living wage and others”; “standards provide a scalable solution, allowing companies to be a part of a broader movement toward greater sustainability in their sector”; and “standards can provide incentives to businesses that improve their sustainability practices, for example through more stable business relations between suppliers and buyers, by offering market access or in some cases through price premiums.”

Also, the report showcases “Good Example Practices”, where the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) is highlighted: “SAN has published a ‘how-to’ guide on addressing sexual harassment and gender-based violence against farm workers. It aims to help certified farms deal with these sensitive issues in order to remain compliant with their standard. The guide explains how to create policies, procedures and programmes to tackle workplace sexual harassment. It also covers educating workers on the issue and how a farm enterprise can monitor if what they have put in place is working. The guide is clearly linked to the SAN principles and criteria that call for a safe, harassment-free and non-discriminatory workplace.”

For more evidence how the adoption of sustainability standards can directly contribute towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), check out ISEAL’s three infographics on this here.

To read the WWF/ISEAL full report, click here.

In person training for the 2017 SAN Standard starts on February

In person training for the 2017 SAN Standard starts on February

In order to implement the new 2017 SAN Standard efficiently and generate positive impacts on farms, the SAN Learning & Support team will be starting the In person training on February in Indonesia and Ivory Coast.

The In person training is part of the learning strategy created to develop the skills needed for the technical staff, auditors and consultants of the SAN technical community.

This strategy was articulated in three parts: Self-learning with SAN support; In person activities; and Continuous training.


According to SAN’s Learning and Support Specialist, Catalina Mora, the Self-learning and Continuous training processes “allowed us to have a better idea of the needs of Certification Bodies (CB’s) and technical teams. The interaction generated is going to allow the In person training to be personalized and respond not only to the general aspects of the Standard, but also to issues in specific regions and contexts.”

The In person activities consists of an introductory section to the 2017 Standard and its new concepts. Subsequently a field visit and a full session of analysis of findings. Finally, some time to address emerging issues and the main implementation and evaluation challenges in each region.

The activities are only for the SAN technical community: auditors, advisers and technical team of CB’s and SAN members. This community is made up of about 600 people, they all have been provided with the information and materials needed to implement the new Standard.

The first In person trainings are going to take place in Indonesia and Ivory Coast from February 6 to 11. For the Indonesia training 24 people from Phillippines, China, Vietnam and Indonesia will attend; and for the Ivory Coast training 25 people from Costa Rica, United Kingdom, Ghana and Ivory Coast will attend.

The next In person training event will be held on Nairobi, Kenya in March.

SAN complies with ISEAL’s Standard-Setting Code

SAN complies with ISEAL’s Standard-Setting Code

The Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) has succesfully demonstrated compliance against ISEAL’s Code of Good Practice for Setting Social and Environmental Standards, through succesful completion of ISEAL’s independent evaluation mechanism (IEM).

ISEAL Alliance Member Logo (CMYK)

The Standard-Setting Code applies to all standards that aim to have positive social or environmental impacts. It focuses on the standards development process, as well as on the structure and content of the standard. It captures the good practices that should be followed in standards development for any sector or product to ensure the standard is credible, effective and achieves its objectives.

“As SAN, we are very pleased knowing that our system complies with the good practices to set standards of social and environmental sustainability. We’ve come a long way since our standard was made by just two or three people, sat around the only computer on the office. The ISEAL codes has help us to improve our processes, in a more consistent and systematic manner”, explained Conrado Guinea, SAN Policy Coordinator.

The ISEAL Codes of Good Practice are effective screens for assessing the credibility of sustainability standards. Institutions and companies make reference to and use the Codes in a variety of ways for purchasing and policy.

For more information on ISEAL Codes of Good Practice go to this link. You can also check the SAN organizational profile on ISEAL’s site here.

Flower Power

Flower Power

By Rainforest Alliance on The Frog Blog

Every morning at Finca Santa María, a 211-acre Rainforest Alliance Certified™flower farm in Costa Rica, 35 male workers go to the field and harvest bright orange heliconias, pink, red and white gingers, mini-pineapples, maracas, and ferns. The men cut the stems, bunch them, and place them in containers that hang from a simple monorail system—then send the fresh cut flowers and foliage off to the packing facility.


There at the facility, women take over: 28 female workers receive the stems, wash them, classify them, make bunches and bouquets, and pack them for shipping. On an average day, Finca Santa María ships 1,200 boxes of stems to North America and Europe, and during holidays periods like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Easter and Christmas, the farm ships closer to 3,000 boxes per day.

“It is true that women are better for this job, because they are more careful,” explained Gustavo Arroyo, Finca Santa María farm manager. “But the main reason we hire only women for the packing facility and for our offices is because women in this area need more and better job opportunities.”

Women in Costa Rica’s rural areas, such as the Caribbean region where this farm is located, face an unemployment rate that is five percent higher than the rate men face; women are also more likely to work informal jobs, receive cheaper labor wages and no social benefits. But at Finca Santa María, women receive legal wages, have social security, paid vacations, maternity and sick leave. The farm also promotes a family-supportive work environment, which is key in a region where 35 percent of the homes are led by single women. The work schedule—6:00 am to 2:00 pm—allows women to be home for their children in the afternoons, and to attend classes themselves; the women also have flexibility to rearrange their schedules for special school events, or to take relatives to medical appointments.

Kayleen Súarez

“I feel lucky to have a job, especially one as good as this. Our bosses and coworkers are understanding and supportive. We all help each other so that we can attend classes, parent meetings, appointments, or tend to an emergency,” said Kayleen Suárez, the packing plant supervisor and mother of two kids.

In cooperation with a local NGO, the farm supports a training and development program for its female workers and for women from neighbor communities, which helps women to expand their skills so they can grow within the company or start projects to generate additional income.

The company also supports seven local primary and secondary schools where farm workers send their children. It provides financial assistance to the schools for infrastructure repairs and donates furniture, didactic materials, teaching equipment, and school uniforms and supplies.

Finca Santa María is part of Plantas y Flores, a company that owns three additional Rainforest Alliance Certified flower farms in other parts of Costa Rica. Plantas y Flores promotes these favorable conditions for female workers on all their farms, and helps replicate the training program in the rural communities where these farms are located. So far, the program has benefited 100 women.

“Investing in women is one of the best social investments we can make,” Arroyo remarked. “If our female workers are better, their families thrive and the communities improve.”