The SRP Assurance Scheme 2.0

About the SRP Assurance Scheme 2.0

“We are proud to announce the launch of the SRP Assurance Scheme 2.0 which will take effect on 1 January 2024. The revision is the result of months of consultation with members, Verification Bodies and users, and will internalize the oversight function within the SRP Secretariat, and manage data directly on SRP’s new Chainpoint-powered Assurance Platform. Thanks to everyone for sharing your insights, critique and recommendations, which we have done our best to accommodate.

Key changes were introduced via a public webinar held on 14 December, which you can rewatch here. For a summary of key changes, click here .

A cost-effective tool to verify and de-risk rice supply chains

The SRP Assurance Scheme is the world’s first and only rice sustainability management system. It defines rules for proving compliance with the SRP Standard for Sustainable Rice Cultivation – an established, science-based benchmark co-developed through broad stakeholder collaboration. The system offers rice industry actors a robust, cost-effective method to verify and communicate sustainability claims. We ensure that each claim is earned.

Independent third-party assessment provides supply chain actors with a robust and credible framework to de-risk their supply chains, while the on-pack SRP-Verified Label empowers consumers to choose products that directly support efforts to boost farmer livelihoods while reducing the social and environmental impact of rice farming.

Why did SRP create this system?

Action and accountability lead to impact. Transforming the global rice sector towards sustainability requires that farmers shift to proven, climate-smart best practices. Buyers need a way to verify these changes in order to support a sustainable sourcing claim. And by purchasing verified sustainable rice, consumers are empowered to improve the livelihoods of small farmers and protect the environment.

Key Benefits

Key Benefits

  • A robust, cost-effective, and transparent path to procure sustainable rice
  • Empowers consumers to improve the livelihoods of small farmers
  • Focuses on verification rather than certification, which is cost-beneficial for lower-income producers
  • Enables actors across the rice industry to de-risk supply chains
  • Allows companies to make measurable contributions toward their sustainability commitments
  • Encourages producer groups to self-manage and follow internal control mechanisms using the SRP Internal Management System (IMS) Standard
  • Drives wide-scale shift to sustainable practices by aiding small farmers, boosting their incomes and contributing to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

How does the SRP Assurance Scheme work?

The SRP Assurance Scheme provides demonstrable evidence that specific requirements for a product, process, system, person, or body have been fulfilled. This scheme serves as a validation of compliance with specified criteria. This enables rice farmers and producer groups to show proof of compliance with the SRP Standards. SRP recognize three possible assessments:

  • Internal assessment, assessment of compliance with the SRP Standard for Sustainable Rice Cultivation which peers, members of an IMS Team or an appointed external party (other than an approved Conformity Assessment Body (CAB)) conducts on behalf of the producer.
  • Second-party assessment, assessment activity that is performed by an entity or a person that is linked to the producer or producer group being assessed.
  • Third-party assessment¸ assessment activity that is performed by an approved CAB that is independent of the producer or producer group being assessed.

The Assurance Scheme 2.0 uses third-party assessment as its basis for compliance. Internal assessment will remain as part of the process for the third-party assessment, on which a claim and label use are based. Producers conducting internal assessments alone without engaging a CAB shall not make any SRP claim or use the SRP-Verified Label. The provisions for second-party assessment are covered by additional rules that will be set out in a separate document currently under development.

From 1 January 2024, third-party assessments will be registered directly on the SRP Assurance Platform. Producers or producer group and participating operators verified through third-party assessments are eligible to use SRP claims and the SRP-Verified Label in accordance with the SRP Assurance Scheme 2.0 and the SRP Brand Manual & Claim Guidelines.

The SRP Assurance Platform is a portal and database to enter and store audit data and is based on the ChainPoint framework. The SRP Assurance Platform will be hosted and managed directly by the SRP Secretariat and will also support overall oversight of Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) and registered participants in the SRP Assurance Scheme.

How the Assurance Scheme fits into SRP’s suite of tools

Create a global standard for sustainable rice

Create a global standard for sustainable rice

Our first step was to create a global standard to define and measure sustainability in the rice farming sector. Together with the International Rice Research Institute and stakeholders from across the spectrum, we launched the SRP Standard for Sustainable Rice Cultivation v 1.0 in 2015.
Develop a system for measuring compliance

Develop a system for measuring compliance

The next challenge was to link farmers to global markets. The SRP Assurance Scheme was designed to be inclusive and smallholder-friendly. The Assurance Scheme was launched in 2020. It focuses on verification, established through a rigorous internal assessment process, and grants registration when producers are prepared for third-party evaluation. Internal and self-assessment options are also provided as performance and improvement tools for individuals who may not be proceeding directly to third-party verification.
Ensure accountability through traceability

Ensure accountability through traceability

The SRP Assurance Scheme is complemented by the SRP Chain of Custody Standard introduced in 2020. The SRP Chain of Custody Standard enables any supply chain actor to communicate SRP-based sustainability claims on product packaging.

Key roles in the Assurance Scheme

Producers and Producer Groups: Individuals or groups of farmers responsible for production of rice, who are eligible to apply for third-party assessment under the SRP Assurance Scheme. Within a Producer Group all members are required to sign an agreement to comply with the SRP Standard for Sustainable Rice Cultivation and the group’s Internal Management System (IMS).  Producer groups can be legally or informally constituted. If legally structured, they may be known as ‘Farmer Organizations’.

Farmer Organization (FO): Legal entity responsible for commissioning and paying for SRP third-party assessments. They must be SRP members, and SRP membership and farmer registration dues are payable by the farmer organizations. A FO is a group of producers/farmers that want to commission a third-party assessment at their own cost without any sponsor organization.

To achieve verification, producer groups without a legal entity are expected to follow the same processes as if they were a legal entity, in particular with regard to governance structures to implement an Internal Management System (IMS). If informally structured, in order to commission a third-party assessment, they need to engage with a Sponsor Organization (as Producer Groups without legal form cannot be SRP members).

Sponsor Organization: Sponsoring organization commissioning a third-party assessment and contracting with a CAB. The sponsor organization may be a private sector, not-for profit or other organization, including producer groups constituted as legal entities or individual producers, and must be a member of SRP. They will be responsible for payment of assessment fee and other fees as contracted with the CAB, SRP registration fee, etc..

Conformity Assessment Body (CAB): CABs approved by SRP are responsible for planning and carrying out audits, making verification decisions (including suspension and withdrawal decisions), and providing reports and updating the SRP platform accordingly. CABs are also responsible for maintenance and oversight of competence as well as impartiality, conflict-of-interest and complaints and appeals management.

 

 

The SRP Chain of Custody

The SRP Chain of Custody

The SRP Chain of Custody Policy and Standard is used in conjunction with the SRP Assurance Scheme. A Chain of Custody verification audit is required for all participating actors in the supply chain in order to use SRP claims and the on-pack SRP-Verified Label.

The SRP Assurance Scheme recognizes three types of Chain of Custody models:

  • Identity Preservation: A type of CoC model that assures that the SRP‐Verified rice product delivered to the end‐user is uniquely identifiable to its verified supply base and includes the details of farmer or producer group.
  • Segregation: A type of CoC model which assures that the SRP‐Verified rice products delivered to the end‐user come only from SRP‐verified source.
  • Mass Balance: A type of CoC model which is an overarching term for various, slightly different, types of Chain of Custody which involve balancing volume reconciliation.

If you are a supply chain organization looking to communicate results on product, you must be audited and certified against the SRP Chain of Custody Standard by an approved CAB.

The SRP-Verified on-pack label
SRP-Verified rice represents a dedicated and unique product category, enabling differentiation in the market and enabling measurable contributions to corporate sustainability commitments.
SRP-Verified rice also aligns with the rapidly growing trends towards sustainably produced food among consumers and regulators alike.

The SRP Internal Management System (IMS)
In order to ensure compliance among its members, the producer group must establish an IMS to provide transparent oversight and ensure with confidence that individual producers within the group meet the requirements of the SRP Standard. At the same time, the IMS plays a vital role in supporting learning for individual producers.
The IMS Standard comprises 14 requirements under the responsibility of the IMS Team/Manager. It allows for stepwise compliance to encourage and reward progress toward full compliance. The following conditions help to build external confidence that a producer group conforms to agreed standards:

  • Documentation and records: How well documented are the group structures and individual group member practices? How accurate and complete are the production,
    chain of custody and management records?
  • Group governance: How effective is the governing mechanism to define and implement necessary procedures? How are decisions made? Who should decide on approval or removal of members?
  • Risk assessment: How well are key risks identified at the group member and management levels? To what extent are they integrated into training and communication (continuous improvement)?
  • Knowledge and understanding: How well do individual producers understand what is expected of them as part of the producer group? How well does the group management and all of its individual members understand the full SRP Standard requirements? Training is an important tool to achieve this understanding.
  • Continuous improvement: How effective are the internal checks on performance and how strong are the repercussions for non-conformance?

Your guide to the SRP Assurance Scheme

Steps to get SRP-Verified

SRP Assurance Scheme Fee

SRP Assurance Scheme Fee

All producers / producer group or participating operators should be registered in the SRP Assurance Platform when they go through the third-party assessment. The registration fee structure comprises two components: 1) Auditing services of SRP Standard for Sustainable Rice Cultivation and 2) Auditing services for the SRP Chain of Custody Standard. It will cost as below:

 

Description Fee Annual fee per unit
Farm registration fee EUR 2.00 per ha
Site registration fee EUR 250 per site

While the fee for the Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) to join the SRP Assurance Program shows in below table:

Description Fee Annual fee per unit
Evaluation of CAB Application EUR 500 One-time upon application
Evaluation of Scope Extension EUR 500 One-time upon application
Evaluation of in-house trainer EUR 250 One-time upon application
CAB License Fee EUR 2000 Annually*
Auditor Fee per service EUR 50 Annually**
Farm registration fee EUR 100 Annually**

* prorated from joining date.
** fee based on number of registered auditors in the system

Conformity Assessment Bodies contact information:

Name Head quarters Contact person Contact details
Control Union Certifications B.V Meeuwenlaan 4-6
Zwolle 8011 BZ
The Netherlands
Mr. Stephan Moreels Mr. Stephan Moreels smoreels@controlunion.com
+66 (0)2 361 1960 – 9
Ecocert Granier Guillaume guillaume.granier@ecocert.com
Preferred by Nature OÜ Filosoofi 31, Tartu
50108, Estonia – Baltics
Nga Nguyen Thi rice@preferredbynature.org;
+84 36 541 6299 (Vietnam)
+91 9111133990 (India)
+66863875671 (Thailand)
+45 31552548 (Europe)
+1 503-857-2990 (USA)
+54 9 3624170135 (LATAM)
https://www.preferredbynature.org/

Key documents

  • Rewatch the Live Webinar: Introducing SRP Assurance Scheme 2.0 – Key Changes here.

  • For Frequently Asked Questions, please visit our FAQ page.

     

  • For more SRP Resources, please visit our Resources page.

     

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