Sustainable Certifications for the Food Industry


The food industry is one of the most important and complex industries in the world. It’s responsible for producing and delivering food to billions of people each day, but unfortunately, it has a massive environmental impact. That’s why more and more people are choosing to buy only from brands with sustainable food certifications. This article will walk you through some of the most common sustainable certifications that exist for the food industry in order to help you make smart, sustainable eating choices.

Sustainable Food Certifications

While the term “sustainable food” is often used to describe organic or locally-grown foods, sustainable food production actually encompasses a much broader range of practices. Sustainable food certifications are third-party verification programs that help producers meet specific standards for sustainable production. These standards can cover a wide range of topics, from energy and water usage to biodiversity and animal welfare. While each certification program has its own specific requirements, all aim to promote environmentally friendly and socially responsible food production.

As more consumers become interested in sustainable food options, these certifications can help producers market their products to a wider audience. In addition, sustainable food certifications can help encourage producers to adopt more environmentally-friendly practices, ultimately leading to a more sustainable food system.

USDA Organic

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Organic label is a voluntary certification that indicates a farm or product has been produced using sustainable practices. To earn the USDA Organic label, farmers must follow strict guidelines, including using only approved materials, maintaining soil health, and protecting biodiversity.

Farmers must also undergo regular audits to ensure compliance. The USDA Organic label provides consumers with peace of mind that they are supporting sustainable agriculture. It also helps to promote sustainable farming practices that protect our environment and safeguard our food supply.

Regenerative Organic Certification

The Regenerative Organic Certification is a sustainable certification for farmers and ranchers who are committed to improving their land management practices. The certification focuses on three key areas: soil health, animal welfare, and social fairness.

To qualify for the certification, farmers must implement regenerative agriculture practices that build soil health, such as cover crops and rotational grazing. They must also ensure that their animals are treated humanely and have access to pasture. Finally, they must uphold social fairness standards, such as providing fair wages and benefits to workers.

The Regenerative Organic Certification is voluntary but allows farmers to demonstrate to consumers that they are producing food in a way that is good for the environment and the people involved in the food system.

Fair Trade

Fair trade is a sustainable certification that guarantees farmers and workers in developing countries receive a fair price for their products, as well as better working conditions and sustainable production practices. The fair trade movement has grown exponentially in recent years, with an increasing number of businesses and consumers seeking out fair trade products.

In a global market that often exploits the world’s poorest producers, fair trade offers a more ethical and sustainable alternative. When we choose fair trade, we send a powerful message that we care about the people who make our products, and we are willing to pay a little extra to ensure they are treated fairly.

Demeter Biodynamic

Demeter Biodynamic is a sustainable certification that helps farmers produce food in a way that is healthy for the environment. The Demeter Biodynamic certification is based on the principles of sustainable agriculture, which include using renewable resources, minimizing soil erosion, and protecting biodiversity.

In addition, Demeter Biodynamic farmers use special preparations made from manure and plants to increase the fertility of their soils. This helps to create a sustainable system that is healthy for both the environment and the people who consume the food. When you see the Demeter Biodynamic certification on food products, you can be sure that the food has been produced in a way that is good for both the earth and its inhabitants.


The British Retail Consortium Global Standard (BRCGS) is a sustainable certification that helps businesses implement best practices in environmental stewardship, social responsibility, and product safety. The certification is voluntary, but it provides peace of mind to consumers that the products they are buying have been responsibly sourced. In order to become certified, businesses must undergo an independent audit and show that they are compliant with the BRCGS standards.

The certification process is ongoing, and businesses must maintain their compliance in order to retain their certification. Gaining BRCGS certification is one way that businesses can show their commitment to sustainable practices. It is also a way for consumers to make informed choices about the products they purchase.

While not strictly sustainability-related, BRCGS ties in with food safety as it denotes products are free from substances that are toxic to human health and the environment. The certification ensures that plant-based foods are fully vegan, a practice that slows resource depletion and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.


Accountability is one of the essential elements for creating a more sustainable world. Companies in the food industry can choose to comply with viable farming practices while consumers can steer the marketplace in the right direction by doing their due diligence. Looking for sustainable certifications on the food you buy is a way of doing your part to push the food industry down the right path.

Author: Lena Milton
Lena Milton is a freelance writer covering sustainability, health and environmental science. She writes to help consumers understand the environmental and ethical challenges in everyday life so we can find viable solutions for both.
You can read more of her work on Pollution Education and RoHS Education.

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