Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, sustainable food and agriculture certification group A Greener World (AGW) said Tuesday it has suspended physical audits until May 26 to help relieve the financial and logistical burden for certified farms and facilities.
Terrebonne, Ore.-based AGW, which is funded by public donations and membership, administers the following labels: Certified Animal Welfare Approved, Certified Grassfed by AGW, Certified Organic by AGW, Certified Non-GMO by AGW and the recently launched Salmon Welfare Certified by AGW.
The nonprofit also announced additional provisions to cope with the impact of the spread of Covid-19, including:
- extended deadlines and remove penalties for compliance documents
- suspended the collection of any audit or late fees
- temporarily renewed expiring certificates while auditing activities are suspended
AGW said it may consider case-by-case exceptions for urgent needs, provided all parties approve and CDC recommendations for disease prevention and social distancing are followed.
The group also said if it becomes aware of standards violations – actual or alleged – it “may take additional action.”
AGW said it is also exploring options for remote or virtual auditing, in concert with review of records and other documentation.
“During this challenging and unprecedented time we recognize that the first priority is keeping people safe and doing everything we can to stop the spread of this deadly disease,” said AGW Executive Director Andrew Gunther. “We also want to make sure vulnerable farms and business survive this–we certainly don’t want a farmer who just lost their market to be worried about how to pay their audit invoice.”