Thursday, May 2, 2024

Global Organic Certification Standard (GOCS) Charter of Responsibilities

Global Organic Certification Standard (GOCS) Charter of Responsibilities

Preamble

The Global Organic Certification Standard (GOCS) is dedicated to establishing a unified benchmark for organic agriculture practices. This charter outlines the core principles, responsibilities, and global organic policy that define the GOCS standard. It is our mission to:

  • Promote and protect the integrity of organic agriculture.
  • Foster trust and transparency for consumers.
  • Ensure environmental sustainability and biodiversity.
  • Guarantee the well-being of animals in organic production.
  • Contribute to a fair and equitable global food system.

GOCS Core Principles

The GOCS standard adheres to the following core principles:

  • Ecological Balance: Organic agriculture respects the natural balance of ecosystems and promotes biodiversity.
  • Health: Organic practices promote the health of soil, plants, animals, and humans.
  • Fairness: Organic agriculture ensures fair treatment for all participants in the food chain, including farmers, workers, and consumers.
  • Precaution: The GOCS prioritizes a precautionary approach, avoiding practices with potential risks to human health and the environment.
  • Transparency: Openness and traceability are fundamental aspects of the GOCS.

Global Organic Policy

The following policy elements apply to all GOCS certified operations, regardless of location:

1. Land Management:

  • Conversion Period: A minimum conversion period is mandatory for transitioning conventional land to certified organic status.
  • Soil Fertility and Health: Practices that enhance soil fertility and organic matter content are required. Synthetic fertilizers and sewage sludge are prohibited.
  • Biodiversity: Practices that promote biodiversity within the agricultural ecosystem are encouraged, including habitat creation for beneficial insects and wildlife.

2. Crop Production:

  • Synthetic Inputs Prohibited: The use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is strictly forbidden.
  • Natural Pest and Disease Management: Organic pest and disease control methods are prioritized, such as crop rotation, cover cropping, and biological controls.
  • Weed Management: Mechanical and manual weed control methods are preferred.

3. Livestock Production:

  • Animal Welfare: High standards of animal welfare are mandatory, ensuring animals have access to appropriate living space, exercise, and natural behaviors.
  • Organic Feed: Animals must be fed organic feed free from synthetic growth hormones and antibiotics.
  • Preventative Healthcare: Practices focus on preventative healthcare for animals, minimizing the need for antibiotics and other medications.

4. Processing and Handling:

  • Minimal Processing: Organic products should undergo minimal processing to retain their integrity.
  • Additives and Preservatives: The use of synthetic additives, preservatives, and artificial colors or flavors is prohibited.
  • Segregation and Traceability: GOCS certified products must be clearly segregated from non-organic products throughout the processing and handling chain. Traceability systems must be implemented to track the origin of ingredients.

5. Social Responsibility:

  • Fair Labor Practices: GOCS certified operations must uphold fair labor practices, ensuring safe working conditions and fair wages for workers.
  • Community Development: The GOCS encourages practices that contribute to the development and well-being of local communities.

6. Certification and Verification:

  • Independent Certification: GOCS certification will be conducted by independent and accredited certification bodies.
  • Regular Inspections: Regular inspections will be carried out to ensure compliance with GOCS standards.
  • Transparency and Information Sharing: GOCS certified operations will be transparent and readily share information regarding their practices with consumers and certification bodies.

Continuous Improvement

The GOCS is committed to continuous improvement through ongoing research, stakeholder engagement, and scientific evaluation. This charter is a living document and may be subject to revision based on new knowledge and evolving best practices in organic agriculture.

Conclusion

The GOCS Charter of Responsibilities serves as a roadmap for achieving a unified and robust standard for organic agriculture. By adhering to these principles and policies, we can work together to cultivate a more sustainable, equitable, and healthy future for our planet.

Inspired by:

  • International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM)
  • USDA National Organic Program (NOP)
  • EU Organic Farming Regulation

Note:

  • While space-based agriculture is still in its early stages, the GOCS acknowledges the potential for future organic production in space. The GOCS will adapt its policies to address the unique challenges and opportunities presented by space agriculture, ensuring its principles of sustainability and environmental responsibility are upheld in all settings.

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