Glossary

  • agricultural raw materials

    In this report: any raw material originally produced by agriculture and bought by the company either in their original form(wheat, soy, vegetables, etc) or processed (vegetable oil, tomato paste, etc) to manufacture consumer products. Not included: packaging materials, energy for manufacturing and transport, etc.
  • audit

    In this context: an independent check to verify whether the supplier or farmer has complied with procedures as agreed in supply contracts and/or defined in the sustainability standard.
    See also: certification.
  • best practice

    A best practice is a method or technique that has consistently shown results superior to those achieved with other means, and that is used as a benchmark. Here: the method or technique that delivers the highest scores on a pre-defined set of sustainability criteria.
  • certification (of sustainable agriculture)

    Certification is the established and recognised verification procedure that results in a certificate on the sustainability of agriculture in relation to a set of predetermined criteria (the standard), based on an independent (third-party) assessment. Verification takes place through an audit, which can be external or internal. An external audit is carried out by an independent third party. It may be preceded by an internal audit by the organisation itself (first party) in order to ensure that compliance with the requirements set can be successfully verified during the external audit.
  • chain of custody (CoC) certification

    Chain of Custody certification is the mechanism for tracking certified raw material from the field to the final product that ensures that the raw material contained in the product can be traced back to the field.
  • commodity

    Here: an agricultural raw material that is interchangeable with other raw materials of the same type. Palm oil, soy and sugar are typical commodities. Other raw materials, with more local variation in quality and composition, have less commodity character. Commodities can typically be traded on anonymous markets.
  • crop

    All primary outputs from agriculture. Sugarcane is a crop. Sugar is not.
  • direct sourcing

    Directly sourcing an raw material (such as milk or tomatoes) from a farmer or a farmer organisation.
  • external standard

    A standard defined by an organisation outside the company and independent from the company.
  • external verification

    Verification of compliance to a standard by an external organisation.
  • farmer

    The primary producer of a crop. May refer to a farmer organisation as well, such as a cooperative.
  • farming system

    The interlinked system of producing different agricultural outputs, including those raw materials that the food company is not sourcing.
  • GHG emissions

    Greenhouse Gas Emissions (including CO2), often calculated as CO2 equivalents.
  • green certificates

    A certificate that guarantees that a certain quantity of an output X has been produced in compliance with a certain sustainability standard. Certificates are being traded separately from the outputs themselves.
  • iconic ingredients

    Ingredients that have a high value for a company or a brand, independent from the quantity used in the company. For example: cocoa for certain ice cream brands.
  • impact assessment

    In this context: measuring the real sustainability impact of applying a sustainability standard.
  • internal organisation

    The way the company organises its responsibility, tasks and work processes as opposed to the external organisation of the supply chain.
  • internal standard

    A set of (sustainability) criteria and associated indicators defined by the company itself, as opposed to an external standard.
  • labelling

    Here: a label attached to a consumer product with information on the sustainability of the raw materials used. If external standards and external certification systems are in use, the label may refer to the external standard (e.g. ‘organic’) or the external certification organisation (e.g. ‘Rainforest Alliance’).
  • mindset

    In this context: the collection of beliefs and attitudes that either promote or block (the implementation of) a sustainable sourcing strategy in a company.
  • monitoring

    Continuously collecting and evaluating data on the implementation of decisions made. In this context: data that shows to what extent farmers, suppliers and parts of the own organisation are working in line with the sustainability goals set.
  • multi-stakeholder

    In this context used for ‘multi-stakeholder initiatives’, initiatives that are governed by different stakeholder groups, including private sector companies and their associations, civil society organisations (such as environmental and social NGOs) and possibly farmer organisations, government organisations and knowledge providers as well.
  • NGOs

    Non-Governmental Organisations. In this context especially organisations that represent environmental interests and social interests.
  • partnership

    Generally used to indicate the cooperation between different types of players: public-private partnerships, partnerships between the private sector and NGOs.
  • pre-competitive

    Pre-competitive cooperation: cooperation between private sector companies, for example to define shared best practices, that are neither subject to competition nor violating anti-trust rules.
  • roll-out

    Implementing a company decision on a larger scale. For example: rolling-out a sustainability standard for all soy used in the company. Rolling-out is the phase after experimental try-out and small-scale projects.
  • roundtable

    Many multi-stakeholder standard-setting initiatives and the associated certification schemes have been set up as ‘roundtables’. In this context a ‘roundtable’ means a ‘multi-stakeholder sustainability initiative’.
  • segregated supply chain

    A supply chain, in which the certified material is kept physically separated from non-certified material.
  • self-assessment

    A procedure by which farmers or suppliers assess their own efforts and/or results on the basis of a pre-defined scheme or with a pre-defined calculation method. The results are generally shared with the sourcing company. Self-assessment may be a step towards more demanding forms of measuring compliance.
  • smart zone

    The ‘zone’ in which increasing the company’s level of social and environmental performance is also adding to the company’s economic performance.
  • social compliance

    Compliance to social standards, the most relevant being related to labour conditions, health and safety, child labour, freedom of association, etc. The central body of social standards is given by the ILO standards.
  • sourcing

    In general, ‘sourcing’ refers to procurement practices aimed at finding, evaluating and engaging suppliers of goods and services. In this report it refers to finding, evaluating, engaging suppliers of agricultural raw materials. Suppliers may be farmers/farmer organisations (direct sourcing) or suppliers, who source from farmers or other suppliers (different modes of indirect sourcing).
  • sourcing model

    In this report: the different modes of either direct sourcing, sourcing from suppliers or even on anonymous commodity markets, involving different types of transactions, different modes of cooperation, etc.
  • stakeholder

    Generally it means a group or organisation that affects or can be affected by a company’s actions. In this sense, all players in the supply chain (from farmer to consumer) are stakeholders and all players that influence or are influenced by the supply chain are stakeholders as well. Especially important are stakeholders who represent social and environmental interests of those affected by the supply chain.
  • standard

    In general: a standard is a document. It is a set of rules that control how people develop and manage materials, products, services, technologies, processes, and systems. A standard consists of principles and criteria as well as indicators used to measure compliance to these criteria. In this report: sustainability standard. A standard may be company-internal or owned by an external organisation.
    See also: certification.
  • standard organisation

    The organisation that owns the standard and contains the governance structure to define and revise the principles, criteria and indicators. The standard organisation may be involved in certification but not necessarily so.
  • supplier

    In this guide: the organisation that delivers the agricultural raw material to the sourcing company. This guide does not refer to farmers as suppliers. Suppliers may source from farmers or from other suppliers.
  • supplier code

    A supplier code contains standard conditions to be fulfilled by any supplier that wishes to deliver goods (in this guide: agricultural raw materials) to the company. A supplier code may contain standard criteria for sustainability issues. As a rule, the code contains sanctions for suppliers that do not manage to comply.
  • supply chain

    The chain from field to manufacturing company and retailer.
  • supply security

    The certainty that planned supplies will be delivered in time, in the quantity and quality required and at costs foreseen.
  • sustainable agricultural raw materials

    All agricultural raw materials that originate from sustainable agriculture
  • sustainability

    Whatever definition is chosen, sustainability includes the long-term viability of an activity and requires a reconciliation of economic, social and ecological aspects. In this guide, we focus on ecological and social sustainability in the context of profitable business.
  • sustainability issue

    In this guide: a public issue connected to the alleged non-sustainability of a certain raw material (such as child labour for cocoa, rainforest destruction for palm oil or human rights at tea plantations) that creates a reputation risk or may even threaten future supply security.
  • value driver

    Entity that increases the value of a product or service by improving the perception of the item and essentially providing a competitive advantage. Value drivers can come in many forms such as cutting-edge technology, brand recognition, or satisfied customers.
  • verification

    See certification.
Table of Content Terms of use