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Interview with Mr. Anil Jadhav, CEO, ECOCERT

Certification agencies like Ecocert help make it easier for you to ensure that the food you buy is really Organic. Here's a conversation with Mr Anil Jadhav, CEO of Ecocert (India), one of the leading international certification agencies

What is ECOCERT’s mission?

ECOCERT’s mission is – “To provide quality environmental certification services which encourages adoption of organic lifestyles by consumers and enables them to reduce their carbon footprint.” We aim to promote organic lifestyles for consumers through organic and fair trade certification programs encompassing food, cosmetics and textiles.

What are the advantages of obtaining the certification from ECOCERT?

Ecocert is the world’s largest company for Organic certification, with presence in more than 22 countries. We offer public & private, national & international certification services; like EC, NOP (US market), NPOP, JAS (Japanese Market), BioSuisse etc. We have our own private standards for Cosmetics, and we also certify textiles/ cotton. We are the only company to offer certification as per organic fair trade standards.

What are the aims of your certification?

a) Accurate inspection and certification of a given facility i.e. farm, processing unit etc. as per the applicable standards.
b) Offer maximum certification services to the most products which constitute a lifestyle, e.g. food (perishable, nonperishable, processed, nutraceutical), textiles, cosmetics, ecological detergents etc; and thereby enable a person to lead an organic lifestyle.

What are the various steps involved in applying for the certification?

After the Client decides the certification standard he desires, the following steps are involved:
a) Client makes self-assessment of the project.
b) Submits application to CB (certification body)
c) CB prepares Cost estimation and Inspection contract
d) Advance payment to CB
e) Inspection at site
f) Certification decision – List of improvements which needs to be complied
g) Compliance to certification decision
h) Issuance of certificates
i) Transaction certificate
j) Renewal of certification on annual basis.

Before granting certification, ECOCERT checks compliance to applicable standards, documentation to verify these standards, and the audit trail justifying the organic product flow.

Do you think organic agriculture has taken deep roots in India? If not, do you have any suggestions to make it more successful?

Organic agriculture still has to go a long way in India. At present only financially sound traders are venturing into the organic agri-business, and some of this business is aimed at the export markets. When small farmers in India are willing to get certified for organic, then we can say that organic agriculture is taking deep roots in India. However, to make that happen, the Indian consumers should be motivated to consume organic goods and have easy access to it.

What according to you is the necessity to monitor and certify organic agriculture?

Organic agriculture should offer chemical free goods to consumers, safety to farm workers, freedom from the exposure to hazardous agrochemicals & conservation of natural resources. However since consumers can’t be sure about the veracity of organic commodities, or be aware of organic standards/ auditing techniques/ etc, third parties like ECOCERT do this job.

What is the approximate cost for getting ECOCERT certification?

Cost of certification depends on scope of work assigned, based on total area, number of units, location, unit description etc. ECOCERT has some attractive low-priced schemes for small/ individual farmers too.

Since 2013, ECOCERT also offers certification for carbon trading projects. Ecocert’s new and revised fair trade standards now offer third party guarantee for CSR initiatives and handicraft projects. Another interesting service is of formalized training programs. ECOCERT is organizing Certificate Training Programs (CTPs) in every region to impart information about certification procedures and regulatory requirements to interested stakeholders.

To contact ECOCERT, or for more details on ECOCERT, please go to www.ecocert.in or email office.india@ecocert.com.

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