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General Interpretation Guide Sustainable Agriculture Standard

© Sustainable Agriculture Network

February 2013 Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN): Fundación Interamericana de Investigación Tropical, Guatemala · Fundación Natura, Colombia · ICADE, Honduras · IMAFLORA, Brazil · Pronatura Sur, Mexico · Rainforest Alliance · SalvaNatura, El Salvador · Nature Conservation Foundation, India · Conservación y Desarrollo, Ecuador

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TABLE OF CONTENTS INTRODUCTION___________________________________________________________________ 4 The Sustainable Agriculture Network ________________________________________________ 4 Function of SAN General Interpretation Guides ________________________________________ 4 Objectives of this Interpretation Guide _______________________________________________ 4 SECTION 1 - INTERPRETATION GUIDE ________________________________________________ 5 Basic Concepts __________________________________________________________________ 5 The term “worker” _______________________________________________________________ 6 The group administrator responsibilities ______________________________________________ 6 SECTION 2- PRINCIPLES AND CRITERIA _______________________________________________ 8 PRINCIPLE 1: Social and Environmental Management System ____________________________ 8 PRINCIPLE 2: Ecosystem Conservation ______________________________________________ 11 PRINCIPLE 3: Wildlife Protection ___________________________________________________ 15 PRINCIPLE 4: Water Conservation__________________________________________________ 17 PRINCIPLE 5: Fair Treatment and good working conditions for workers ____________________ 19 PRINCIPLE 6: Occupational Health and Safety ________________________________________ 25 PRINCIPLE 7: Community Relations ________________________________________________ 28 PRINCIPLE 8: Integrated Crop Management _________________________________________ 29 PRINCIPLE 9: Soil Management and Conservation ____________________________________ 32 PRINCIPLE 10: Integrated Waste Management _______________________________________ 32



Sustainable Agriculture Network INTRODUCTION

The Sustainable Agriculture Network The Sustainable Agriculture Network promotes efficient agriculture, biodiversity conservation and sustainable community development by creating social and environmental standards. The Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) is a coalition of independent non-profit conservation organizations that promote the social and environmental sustainability of agricultural activities by developing standards. Standard and certification policy development and review is coordinated by the SAN secretariat based in San José, Costa Rica. SAN members are: Conservación y Desarrollo (C&D), Ecuador; Fundación Interamericana de Investigación Tropical (FIIT), Guatemala; Fundación Natura, Colombia; ICADE, Honduras; IMAFLORA, Brazil; Nature Conservation Foundation, India; Pronatura Chiapas, Mexico; SalvaNatura, El Salvador; and Rainforest Alliance. Farms and group administrators that comply with SAN standards can apply to use the Rainforest Alliance Certified™ seal for products grown on their certified farms.

Function of SAN General Interpretation Guides SAN General Interpretation Guides explain the sense of the SAN Standard criteria and apply them to particular situations. There are two types of interpretation guides:  General: Primarily for guiding auditors to facilitate the audit; it is also a resource for technical assistance as well as for producers and group administrators on how to implement SAN standards on their farms.  Local: Interprets selected criteria of the standard for local conditions and a specific crop. Local interpretation guidelines are developed by local working groups to consider and reflect best the local conditions in light of the SAN standard. A General Interpretation Guide contains the criteria’s objectives and indicators for correct interpretation of and compliance with the standard. It is also important for implementing good agricultural practices on farms and for providing more detailed orientation during audit processes. The General Interpretation Guide is NOT binding for certification processes. A Local Interpretation Guide is developed by local working groups in coordination with the SAN Secretariat. The meetings of these working groups are organized by the local SAN representative. This process ensures a balance of interests among the various stakeholders that may be affected by this guide. The SAN Secretariat coordinates writing of the interpretation guide drafts and approves its final version. This guide was developed with the participation of the SAN technical teams in Latin America, Asia and Africa, SAN’s Technical Operations Committee and SAN’s International Standards Committee.

Objectives of this Interpretation Guide  

To serve as guide on the basic concepts and general interpretation of the Sustainable Agriculture Standard, version July 2010 and help farmers understand how to implement them. To provide information to auditors on how to evaluate compliance on farms.

We encourage the different users of the standard to read the general interpretation guides and act in accordance with them, as much as feasible. However, the reference documents on binding criteria for farm certification are defined in the SAN Sustainable Agriculture Standard and the SAN Certification Policy.



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SECTION 1 - INTERPRETATION GUIDE In the last four years, the SAN has hosted workshops for local interpretation of the Sustainable Agriculture Standard and three series of training summits in Africa, Asia and Latin America, with SAN technical leaders in audit processes and technical assistance. These activities resulted in the SAN Secretariat taking note of the most frequent comments regarding challenges about the interpretation of the Sustainable Agriculture Standard. To provide a more uniform general interpretation, it was decided to publish this document containing additional information for external audit processes and preparing farms for certification. The SAN Technical Operations Committee approved this document in October 2012. The document contains a summary of the basic concepts that constitute the foundation of the standard and the audit processes, as well as detailed interpretation of the criteria that have caused more discussion in recent years.

Basic Concepts What are the basic concepts on which the Sustainable Agriculture Standard is based?  The Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) defines its concept of sustainable agriculture as the balance between production and environmental conservation, as well as between financial stability and worker wellbeing. The requirements for sustainable agriculture are defined in democratic and transparent public consultation processes in local workshops and through an internet consultation platform that promotes balanced participation of the various stakeholders interested in sustainable agriculture. These processes comply with the ISEAL Alliance codes – the global association for social and environmental standards ( The SAN is a full member of the ISEAL Alliance.  The Sustainable Agriculture Standard includes a series of concepts that constitute the basis for its principles. One of them is “risk analysis and mitigation”. Farms analyze possible environmental, labor and social risks of their agricultural production activities as the basis for defining actions to mitigate or eliminate them. The analyzed risks include application of agrochemicals, planting crops near natural ecosystems, waste management and disposal, use of fire, community harvesting of natural resources, land use rights, waste water treatment and work accidents.  Another concept which is the basis for principle 1 “Environmental and Social Management System” is the varying complexity of operations. There are certified small farmers - organized under the umbrella of a group administration system - without hired labor or pesticide use. On the other hand, there are coffee farms or plantations of single crops for export with hundreds of workers and responsible application of SAN-permitted agrochemicals. SAN external auditors consider these differences in the complexity of operations during the audits, when they decide on the applicability of the nearly 100 criteria and 400 technical elements of the standard to the different production realities of farms.  The concept of local legislation is also considered. SAN auditors evaluate farm compliance with the Sustainable Agriculture Standard and with the environmental and socio-labor legislative framework in each country. The SAN approved certification bodies are familiar with the laws and decrees that apply to the audit process, for example, for wastewater treatment, drinking water quality or minimum age and conditions for hired minors. In many cases, the requirements of the Sustainable Agriculture Standard are more rigorous than the local legislation. In other cases, the parameters for wastewater treatment or drinking water in the national laws are stricter and govern the audit process. In many countries with SAN certification activities, there are processes to define local indicators where the stakeholders decide on the correct interpretation of some standard criteria, in the light of the local legislation.  Continuous improvement is also part of certified farm management. The minimum general score a farm must achieve in order to obtain SAN certification is 80%. This means there is 20% additional room for the continuous improvement process. Farms foster this process through internal inspections and implementation of corrective actions.



Sustainable Agriculture Network 

The standard applies to all crops produced within the limits of the farm. Although the audit emphasis is on the main crop to be marketed as Rainforest Alliance Certified™, the auditor also visits the plots of other crops and interviews workers or farmers that work there to verify compliance with the standard’s critical criteria, including: application or not of prohibited pesticides with personal protection equipment, destruction of high value ecosystems or payment of minimum wages. SAN external auditors are trained to decide on the applicability of the standard’s criteria. Not all criteria of the standard apply every time. For example, a farm may only carry out productive activities using family labor without hired workers. It is also possible that a farmer does not use synthetic pesticides or the production lots are not close to rivers, streams, lakes, forests or other natural ecosystems. For each criterion, auditors also evaluate whether some specific elements apply or not and may adjust the score for each criterion accordingly. Even so, there is a series of criteria in the standard that always apply to any type of farm:  Principle 1: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.5, 1.7, 1.9, 1.10,1.11  Principle 2: 2.2, 2.3, 2.4,2.9  Principle 3: 3.1, 3.3  Principle 4: 4.1, 4.4, 4.8  Principle 5: 5.6, 5.10, 5.15, 5.16, 5.18  Principle 6: 6.1, 6.2, 6.6, 6.7, 6.8, 6.18, 6.19  Principle 7: 7.1, 7.4,7.5, 7.6  Principle 8: 8.1, 8.6  Principle 9: 9.1, 9.2, 9.4  Principle 10: 10.1, 10.2, 10.3,

The term “worker” Does the term “worker” also apply to small farmers? Many Sustainable Agriculture Standard criteria refer to the term worker as a person hired by a farm, that benefits from the application of sustainable practices on the farm or as an actor who implements these practices.  Currently, most farms certified in accordance with SAN standards and policies are small production lots that are part of a group with an internal management system implemented by a group administrator.  It should be noted that many of the standard’s sustainable practices also apply to small farmers, such as the use of protection equipment, drinking water, housing conditions, environmental education, working hours and rest days, medical exams, access to health and education services, as well as actions that foster occupational health, in general. The difference between hired and not hired – because the farmer owns a production lot – may not negatively influence the health and social wellbeing conditions of the rural population. The group administrator responsibilities What is the responsibility of a group administrator with respect to compliance of member farms with the Sustainable Agriculture Standard?  In the SAN certification system, organized small producers occupy more certified land than large plantations. However, the educational level of many small farmers cannot be compared with the technical capacity of the work team in large plantations.  Many activities specified in the standard focus on actions that may be carried out by plantation workers or small farmers in their lots. For example: reforestation, no hunting, creating pesticide-free zones, waste water treatment, use of protection equipment, participation in environmental education activities, pest



Sustainable Agriculture Network

monitoring, measures to reduce soil erosion, as well as waste separation, recycling, reuse and responsible disposal. Other criteria in the standard are more focused on the creation of systems, programs or plans, i.e., for ecosystem conservation, rational water use, occupational health, integrated pest management and waste management. Others require the existence of labor and social policies. Some principles also require analyzing water after treatment, analyses to verify people have not been affected by the application of carbamates or organophosphate pesticides or soil fertility analyses. These systems, programs, plans and analyses are undertaken by plantations, but are beyond the technical capabilities of small producers. For the latter, these elements are within the responsibility of the group administrator. The group administrator builds these documents with the collaboration of the respective member farmers. It is the responsibility of the farmer to know the information and to undertake the activities within his/her possibilities.

The list of criteria that require participation of the group administration, due to the technical level of the programs, is as follows:  Principle 1: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.6, 1.7, 1.9, 1.10,1.11  Principle 2: 2.1,2.9  Principle 4: 4.1, 4.5, 4.6, 4.9  Principle 5: 5.1, 5.18  Principle 6: 6.1, 6.2, 6.4, 6.5, 6.18, 6.20  Principle 7: 7.2, 7.3,7.5  Principle 8: 8.1, 8.5  Principle 9: 9.1, 9.2  Principle 10: 10.1,10.6 This list is not intended to be exhaustive, as each criterion in itself also includes many technical elements. It is intended to serve as a guide for farm and group administrators, as well as for external auditors.



SECTION 2 - PRINCIPLES AND CRITERIA PRINCIPLE 1: Social and Environmental Management System 1.1

The farm must have a social and environmental management system according to its size and complexity of its operations that contains the necessary policies, programs and procedures that prove compliance with this standard and respective national legislation binding for social, labor and environmental aspects on farms – whichever is stricter. To define the policies, programs and procedures necessary to facilitate application of the Sustainable Agriculture Standard and binding Objective local legislation; this in order to prevent or reduce environmental, labor and social impacts caused by agricultural activities. Interpretation Guide

The management system consists of programs with their respective activities that enable implementation of the Standard on aspects such as: conservation of ecosystems and their wild animals and plants; rational water use, no contamination of rivers, streams, lakes and aquifers; compliance with national labor legislation; analysis and mitigation of risks to occupational health; good relations with neighboring communities; integrated pest management and control; reducing erosion and maintaining soil fertility; and rejecting, reducing, reusing or recycling waste and hazardous waste. Local legislation must be observed; when the requirements of the legislation are stricter than the standard’s, the legal requirements shall govern the audit process. For example: if the waste water treatment or drinking water parameters of the national laws are stricter, these shall prevail for the audit; the labor legislation may also dictate some elements different from those in Principles 5 and 6 of the Standard.


The potential social and environmental impacts of new works or activities must be evaluated. These include the expansion of production areas, the construction or installation of new infrastructure, or major changes in production or processing systems. The evaluation must be carried out before the initiation of any changes or new work in accordance with applicable laws or, in their absence, based on technically accepted and recognized methods. Any evaluation must include procedures for monitoring and evaluating the significant impacts identified and not foreseen during the development of new works or activities. To ensure that infrastructure, new production lots or changes in crops do not cause a negative impact on the environment and neighboring Objective rural communities, through an integrated technical evaluation endorsed by the law. Interpretation Guide

  

Refers to infrastructure that produces wastewater or other emissions, generates waste, or to an expansion of the agricultural production area that requires changes to land use – in accordance with the provisions of the respective local law. The requirements of Critical Criterion 9.5 must be considered for changes in crops as well as for new or expanded production areas. Coordination for implementing this criterion is led by the group administrator in collaboration with the small farmers.

Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN): Fundación Interamericana de Investigación Tropical, Guatemala · Fundación Natura, Colombia · ICADE, Honduras · IMAFLORA, Brazil · Pronatura Sur, Mexico · Rainforest Alliance · SalvaNatura, El Salvador · Nature Conservation Foundation, India · Conservación y Desarrollo, Ecuador

Sustainable Agriculture Network 1.8

The farm’s service providers must commit to complying with the environmental, social and labor requirements of this standard, not only while operating on the farm but also for any outside activities related to the services provided. The farm must have mechanisms for evaluating its service providers and checking that they are complying with this standard. The farm must not use the services of suppliers or contractors that do not comply with the social, labor and environmental requirements of this standard. To select service providers with highest environmental and social awareness for activities and products with less risk to the environment, Objective social wellbeing and health of the involved people. Interpretation Guide  The scope of this criterion covers all services and subcontractors hired or acquired by the farm.  In case there is more than one service provider that can supply an activity, such as application of a pesticide, the farm selects the provider that complies with the labor legislation, protects its workers against potential intoxication and trains is employees to conduct specific tasks.  In an ideal case, selection of products is not only based on price, but also on minimum environmental impact and compliance with local legislation. Efforts should first focus on providers or activities with a potentially high risk and concentrate on their compliance with the critical criteria.


Critical criterion. The farm must have a system for avoiding the mixing of certified products with non-certified products in its facilities, including harvesting, handling, processing and packaging of products, as well as transportation. All transactions involving certified products must be recorded Products leaving the farm must be duly identified and accompanied with the relevant documentation indicating a certified farm as origin. To ensure that the process of segregating certified product within the value chain has a correct first step when the certified product leaves Objective the farm and to protect the integrity of the product. Interpretation Guide  Agriculture production data (harvest volumes), coincide with the volume of product leaving the farm during the transportation process to the next point in the value chain.  If a farm processes, packages, stores or manipulates certified products of the farm, other farms, or together with non-certified products, the farm demonstrates separation of the certified product in processing, packaging, storage or any other product handling unit.  In case of risk to the integrity of the certified product, the certification body organizes a Chain of Custody certification audit.  It is the responsibility of the group administrator to establish the system, keep the records and train small farmers on the relevant activities. Further guidance for Group Administrators: o Yield estimates are conducted on all registered producers farms. o Producers are trained to separate certified from uncertified during harvesting and postharvest. o There is clear visual identification on all bags containing certified product. o Certified products are stored separately from non-certified products. o Regular inspection is conducted in order to ensure compliance at all levels.



Sustainable Agriculture Network 1.11

The farm must annually describe its energy sources and the amount of energy used from each source for production processes, transport and domestic use within the farm limits. The farm must have an energy efficiency plan with goals and implementation activities for increased efficiency, for reducing dependency on non-renewable sources and for increasing the use of renewable energy. Where appropriate, the use of on-farm energy sources must be preferred. Objective To promote rational and efficient energy use and minimize the farm’s impact on natural resources.

Interpretation Guide  The farm organizes a plan for rational and efficient energy use. This plan includes the various current energy sources and the amount used of each; measures to promote efficient energy use; renewable energy use and, if possible, on the farm itself. Some examples (not binding):  Small farmers o Many small farmers do not have electricity on the farm and do not use fuel. In this case, one improvement could be substituting cooking stoves with more efficient models. It is also an improvement opportunity for industrial use of fuel wood. o When fuel wood is used for cooking or other purposes, i.e., for drying product, trees are planted for fuel wood. o Farms with electricity, file the bills from the electric power providers throughout the year, as well as receipts from gas stations or cooking gas providers.  For plantations and group administrators o The energy efficiency plan must include the use of efficient devices and equipment such as: low energy bulbs and other efficient lighting devices, energy efficient engines and equipment. The plan must consider preventive maintenance of equipment and devices, adequate training for their use and the person responsible for implementing the plan. o Possible long-term investments consider the acquisition of biodigestors, composting units, wind power stations or solar panels.



Sustainable Agriculture Network PRINCIPLE 2: Ecosystem Conservation 2.1

Critical criterion. All existing natural ecosystems, both aquatic and terrestrial, must be identified, protected and restored through a conservation program. The program must include the restoration of natural ecosystems or the reforestation of areas within the farm that are unsuitable for agriculture. Objective Identify, protect and recover the natural ecosystems on the farm and its borders.

Interpretation Guide  The farm has a written conservation program that identifies patches of forest, savanna, secondary growth, rivers, streams, lakes, lagoons and other wetlands inside the farm dedicated to non-productive activities.  These areas are demarcated and signaled for workers and community members and are designated for protection, natural regeneration or planting of natural vegetation.  Other specific actions for ecosystem conservation and management are specified in other criteria of principles 2 and 3 of the standard. 2.2

Critical criterion. From the date of application for certification onwards, the farm must not destroy any natural ecosystem. Additionally, from November 1, 2005 onwards no high value ecosystems must have been destroyed by or due to purposeful farm management activities. If any natural ecosystems have been destroyed by or due to purposeful farm management activities between November 1, 1999 and November 1, 2005, the farm must implement the following analysis and mitigations: a. Conduct an analysis of the ecosystem destruction to document the scope and ecological impact of the destruction. b. Develop a mitigation plan with advice from a competent professional that is consistent with applicable legislation and that compensates for the negative impact. c. Implement the activities of this mitigation plan, including for example the set aside of a significant percentage of the farm area for conservation purposes. To protect all high value ecosystems within the limits of the farm and to compensate for their possible destruction – prior to November 1, Objective 2005 – through reforestation, regeneration or designation of an area for conservation inside the farm. Interpretation Guide  Starting with the issuance of the first Rainforest Alliance Certified™ certificate, the farm does not conduct the following activities in natural ecosystems: (The examples in the following paragraphs are not permitted in farms that carried out this type of activities after November 1, 2005 either). o Does not produce crops in natural ecosystems, for example, growing coffee or cocoa replacing the understory of secondary forests, or other crops in dried wetlands or in mature secondary growth of significant value to local biodiversity o Does not practice substitution of entire ecosystem areas with crops, for example, the destruction of forests, natural savannas or wetlands. o Does not practice tree felling, plant extraction, use of fire, and application of herbicides or pesticides, artificial changes to river or streambeds, construction of landfills or introduction of invasive exotic species.  Farms do locate on a map the natural ecosystems and the high value ecosystems on and around the farm.  The only scenario of flexibility SAN offers in this regard is when these scenarios of destruction occurred before November 1, 2005, but after November 1, 1999. The farms have to demonstrate they are conducting activities to foster natural regeneration, planting trees or other native species to recover these ecosystems.  Certification bodies have baseline information available on land use changes for some regions of their countries and auditors review this evidence, including aerial photographs, satellite images, old photographs of the ecosystems, interviews with workers and community members.  Local SAN representatives are defining the local interpretation of high value ecosystems for their countries. SAN-G-20-1


Sustainable Agriculture Network 2.3

Production areas must not be located in places that could provoke negative effects on national parks, wildlife refuges, biological corridors, forestry reserves, buffer zones or other public or private biological conservation areas. To ensure that the farms respect local laws regarding permitted and prohibited activities in protected areas, thus avoiding the negative Objective impact of productive activities on these areas. Interpretation Guide  The farm must respect national legislation related to the activities permitted in protected areas.  In areas with high levels of protection, such as national parks, no production activities are permitted. On the other hand, in areas with other categories of protection, such as biological corridors, sustainable agriculture activities are permitted, if national legislation allows so.  The farms do not produce crops inside natural ecosystems for example, growing coffee or cocoa replacing the understory of secondary forests, or other crops in dried wetlands or in mature secondary growth of significant value to local biodiversity.  The farm ensures that no invasive species are introduced into natural ecosystems through farm management activities. 2.5

There must be a minimum separation of production areas from natural terrestrial ecosystems where chemical products are not used. A vegetated protection zone must be established by planting or by natural regeneration between different permanent or semi-permanent crop production areas or systems. The separation between production areas and ecosystems as defined in Annex 1 [of the Sustainable Agriculture Standard] must be respected. To decrease the impact of application and possible drift of pesticides on animals, plants and other organisms in natural terrestrial Objective ecosystems. Interpretation Guide  Application of pesticides is not permitted in the buffer strip of the ecosystem, of the width indicated in Annex 1 of the Standard.  Fertilization in flat land near these ecosystems is not subject to the distances table or this criterion, as long as there is no possible drift of fertilizers toward these natural areas.


The farm must establish and maintain vegetation barriers between the crop and areas of human activity, as well as between production areas and on the edges of public or frequently traveled roads passing through or around the farm. These barriers must consist of permanent native vegetation with trees, bushes or other types of plants, in order to promote biodiversity, minimize any negative visual impacts and reduce the drift of agrochemicals, dust and other substances coming from agricultural or processing activities. The distance between the crop plants and areas of human activity as defined in Annex 1 [of the Sustainable Agriculture Standard] must be respected. Objective To avoid acute or chronic effects to the health of human populations - living near the farm - from the application of agrochemicals. Interpretation Guide  The farm must respect minimum distances for no application buffer strips between the crop and human use areas, as indicated in Annex 1 of the Standard. If national law establishes a distance greater than indicated in Annex 1 of the Standard, the distance indicated in the law applies.  The plants for barriers to decrease drift toward human activity areas are selected based on the following parameters: native species, plants that can create a dense barrier, barrier maintenance cost and no affectation of product health/safety in the case of barriers near processing infrastructure.



Sustainable Agriculture Network 2.6

Aquatic ecosystems must be protected from erosion and agrochemical drift and runoff by establishing protected zones on the banks of rivers, permanent or temporary streams, creeks, springs, lakes, wetlands and around the edges of other natural water bodies. Distances between crop plants and aquatic ecosystems as indicated in Annex 1 [of the Sustainable Agriculture Standard] must be respected. Farms must not alter natural water channels to create new drainage or irrigation canals. Previously converted water channels must maintain their natural vegetative cover or, in its absence, this cover must be restored. The farm must use and expand vegetative ground covers on the banks and bottoms of drainage canals. To decrease the impact of application and possible drift of agrochemicals on animals, plants and other organisms in natural aquatic Objective ecosystems, as well as contamination of these natural water bodies from sediments resulting from erosion. Interpretation Guide  Within the concept of aquatic ecosystems, it is important that the farm also considers aquifers, where application of pesticides or chemical fertilizers may affect underground water in the long term, since they are located near the surface or in sandy soils.  Application of pesticides and fertilizers is not permitted in the buffer strip of the ecosystem, of the width indicated in Annex 1 of the Standard. If national law establishes a distance greater than indicated in Annex 1 of the Standard, the distance indicated in the law applies.  Riparian forests affected in the above mentioned strips are recovered by the farm through natural regeneration activities and planting trees or other native species.  In some countries, agriculture production activities in these buffer strips of natural water bodies are permitted, as long as no agrochemicals are applied. It is also preferable to produce these crops in agroforestry systems with less erosion.  In the case of cattle present inside a farm – where another main crop is or will be certified, but the cattle products will not be marketed as Rainforest Alliance Certified™– it may be that these animals are on the margins of rivers, streams, lakes or other aquatic ecosystems. For this scenario, the auditor does not score this event as non-conformity against critical criterion 4.7, but as non-conformity against criterion 2.6 of the Sustainable Agriculture Standard.


Farms with agroforestry crops located in areas where the original natural vegetative cover is forest must establish and maintain a permanent agroforestry system distributed homogenously throughout the plantations. The agroforestry system’s structure must meet the following requirements: a. The tree community on the cultivated land consists of minimum 12 native species per hectare on average. b. The tree canopy comprises at least two strata or stories. c. The overall canopy density on the cultivated land is at least 40%. Farms in areas where the original natural vegetation is not forest – such as grasslands, savannas, scrublands or shrublands - must dedicate at least 30% of the farm area for conservation or recovery of the area’s typical ecosystems. These farms must implement a plan to establis h or recover natural vegetation within ten years. To promote an agroforestry system for crops that originally were understory plants in tropical regions (cocoa, coffee, macadamia, pepper, Objective vanilla, cardamom, cinnamon). Interpretation Guide  To establish the forestry component in the crop, the farm considers the following: o Combining tall trees with low canopies and short trees with high canopies. o Combining trees that lose their leaves at different times. o In the case of coffee as an agroforestry crop, the tree component may have different spatial arrangements such as cultivation in strips, contours or mixed in with the crop. SAN-G-20-1


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Fruit trees may be counted among the 12 species of item a. of the criterion. The requirement of 40% density of the canopy is optimal for some areas, but not for all; optimum shade levels are established according to climate conditions and research carried out. Local interpretation guidelines will provide further recommendations on adequate shade levels. When classifying shade density, phyto-technical and climate aspects (life zones) are considered. The recommended shade levels should also consider and promote sustainable production levels of the crop and thus the sustainable farm economics


The farm must implement a plan to maintain or restore the connectivity of natural ecosystems, within its boundaries, considering the connectivity of habitats at the landscape level; e.g. through elements such as native vegetation on roadsides and along watercourses or riverbanks, shade trees, live fences and live barriers. Objective To corridors for movement of animal and plant species and to connect the natural resources of the farm with landscape ecosystems.

Interpretation Guide  Applies to large plantations, as well as to a group of small or medium-size farms.  Corridors may be created using grasses, shrubs and other low-rise plants, as well as taking advantage of live barriers or drainage channels with shrubs or trees for this purpose. Large mammals and raptors are considered, as well as insects, amphibians, reptiles, insect-eating birds and small mammals. This does not only apply to the connection of two forest reserves with a strip of riparian forest, for example.



Sustainable Agriculture Network PRINCIPLE 3: Wildlife Protection 3.1

An inventory of wildlife and wildlife habitats found on the farm must be created and maintained.


To create awareness of wild animals and plants present on the farm, their role in the agroecosystem and where they live.

Interpretation Guide  It is important to create a list with the names and plants present on the farm, to raise awareness among workers and farmers about the wild animals and plants and where they live on the farm.  Wild animals play an important role in pollinizing many plants, insect and controlling rodent pests and wild plants provide food, shelter and reproduction sites.  This requirements may be filled, for example, by a hand-written list of the common names of animals and plants prepared by the farmer and based on observations or the knowledge of workers that spend long hours in the field. A complete list of all the wildlife present on the farm with scientific names is not required.  The list must be specific for the farm or community and developed jointly by the farmers and group administrator. The intent of the criterion is not to copy a generic list from the Internet or other information source. If the group of farmers is scattered in different landscapes, there should be different lists to reflect the variety of species found in these environments. 3.2

Ecosystems that provide habitats for wildlife living on the farm, or that pass through the farm during migration, must be protected and restored. The farm takes special measures to protect threatened or endangered species. To enrich the ecosystem conservation program with the wildlife component, with special emphasis on threatened and endangered Objective animals; to highlight the importance of the farm’s agroecosystems for local and migratory animals. Interpretation Guide  The farm’s ecosystems are important habitats for local and migratory animals, since they play and essential role in maintaining the balance of the farm’s agro-ecosystems and surrounding areas.  If endangered or threatened animals live on the farm, they should be given especial attention. Their habitats must be protected and, if necessary, experts from universities, state institutions or non-governmental organizations may help enhance the habitat and create special protection strategies.  Definition of endangered and threatened animals is governed by the lists published by IUCN ( ) and local state entities.



Sustainable Agriculture Network 3.3

Critical Criterion. Hunting, capturing, extracting and trafficking wild animals must be prohibited on the farm. Cultural or ethnic groups are allowed to hunt or collect fauna in a controlled manner and in areas designated for those purposes under the following conditions: a. The activities do not involve species in danger of or threatened with extinction b. There are established laws that recognize the rights of these groups to hunt or collect wildlife. c. Hunting and collection activities do not have negative impacts on the ecological processes or functions important for agricultural and local ecosystem sustainability d. The long-term viability of the species’ populations is not affected. e. These activities are not for commercial purposes. Objective To prohibit hunting of wild animals on the farm, with the exception of species not protected that are considered pests for the crop.

Interpretation Guide  Farms and farmers do not allow hunting of wild animals in their land by workers, families, neighbors and external people.  This activity is only permitted by exception to indigenous peoples, if allowed under the law.  The other exception is for animals not threatened or not listed as endangered that have become a significant pest for the crop. Control of this type of animals is only permitted if allowed by the national laws.  Reducing local stocks of an animal species to a point that may affect reproduction is not permitted.  In the cases mentioned where some hunting is permitted, it shall never be for commercial purposes.  The use of dynamite or toxic substances is not permitted for hunting or fishing.  This criterion focuses specifically on the use and extraction of fauna – not flora.  Fishing is allowed, even if not by indigenous groups, as long as it is not for commercial purpose and not extracting threatened species.



Sustainable Agriculture Network PRINCIPLE 4: Water Conservation 4.1

The farm must have a water conservation program that ensures the rational use of water resources. The program activities must make use of the best available technology and resources. It must consider water re-circulation and reuse, maintenance of the water distribution network and the minimizing of water use. The farm must keep an inventory and indicate on a map the surface and underground water sources found on the property. The farm must record the annual water volume provided by these sources and the amount of water consumed by the farm. To save water – one of the natural resources that will be most scarce in the future – and to provide for minimal use per activity as a Objective responsible element inside the water basin. Interpretation Guide  All farm activities that use water – irrigation, mixing of agrochemical products, washing of tools and equipment in general, processing and washing plants, rest rooms, laundry and housing – exercise rational use and minimize use with efficient technology.  Water waste is avoided by repairing leaks and a pipe maintenance plan.  Monthly and yearly water use is measured or estimated using public service receipts or estimates. When water is not supplied by a public aqueduct, consumption is estimated with own measures, for example, for micro-milling of coffee on the farm. 4.2

All surface or underground water exploited by the farm for agricultural, domestic or processing purposes must have the respective concessions and permits from the corresponding legal or environmental To ensure that the amount of water used by the farm does not contribute to exhausting the volume of surface or underground water or Objective to affecting the water balance. Interpretation Guide  The farm complies with state decrees on water use and actively seeks to obtain the respective water extraction permits.  Maximum extraction volumes defined by the state entity are respected by the farm. 4.4

The farm must have appropriate treatment systems for all wastewaters it generates. The treatment systems must comply with applicable national and local laws and have the respective operating permits. There must be operating procedures for industrial wastewater treatment systems. All packing plants must have waste traps that prevent the discharge of solids from washing and packing into canals and water bodies. Objective To effectively treat wastewaters from the various production processes and housing using procedures authorized by law.

Interpretation Guide  The farm’s wastewater may originate from washing products, equipment and infrastructure, product processing including post-harvest, laundry and washing of cooking utensils, as well as from rest rooms. Each different type of waste water must be treated in a system designed for the type of waste water. Discharging wastewaters into holes in the ground is not considered to be a treatment system.  The systems are in good state of operation and maintenance, without leaks of untreated waste water or organic or inorganic waste into the environment.  Waste waters from wet coffee milling may be used for irrigation, as long as the irrigated lots are located at sufficient distance from bodies of water. Annex 1 of the Standard provides guidelines for required distances.



Sustainable Agriculture Network 4.5

Critical criterion. The farm must not discharge or deposit industrial or domestic wastewater into natural water bodies without demonstrating that the discharged water complies with the respective legal requirements, and that the wastewater’s physical and biochemical characteristics do not degrade the receiving water body. If legal requirements do not exist, the discharged wastewater must comply with the following minimum parameters. Water Quality Parameter Biochemical Oxygen Demand (DBO5, 20) Total suspended solids pH Grease and oils Fecal coliforms

Value Less than 50 mg/L Between 6.0 - 9.0 Less than 30 mg/L Absent

The mixing of wastewater with uncontaminated water for discharge into the environment is prohibited. To verify that treated wastewater discharged into natural water bodies will not cause degradation because it complies with the Objective parameters defined by law or if no provisions in the local legislation are made – with the ones specified in this standard. Interpretation Guide  Analyses of wastewater – treated or untreated – are conducted by accredited laboratories independent from the farm.  Water discharged into natural water bodies meet the parameters of the national laws or in their absence, those provided in the standard. In the case of group administrators, a representative analysis by type of treatment system is accepted, rather than one test for each member farm.  This criterion is only applicable if the farm releases waste water into natural water bodies. 4.6

Farms that discharge wastewater continuously or periodically into the environment must establish a water-quality monitoring and analysis program that takes into account potential contaminants and applicable laws. The program must indicate the wastewater sampling points and frequency and the analyses to be carried out. A legally accredited laboratory must conduct all analyses. Laboratory results must be kept on the farm for at least three years. The program must comply with the following minimum requirements for analysis and sampling:

Water Quality Parameter Biochemical Oxygen Demand (DBO5, 20) Total suspended solids pH Grease and oils Fecal Coliforms

Wastewater discharge rate (cubic meters/day) Less than 50 50 to 100 More than 100 Sampling Frequency Annual Half-yearly Every three months Monthly






To ensure that the monitoring frequency of wastewater matches the volume of wastewater generated to minimize the risk contamination. Interpretation Guide  In the case of group administrators, a representative monitoring program per type of treatment system is accepted, instead of one analysis for each member farm. Objective



Sustainable Agriculture Network PRINCIPLE 5: Fair Treatment and good working conditions for workers 5.2

Critical criterion. The farm must not discriminate in its labor and hiring policies and procedures along the lines of race, color, gender, age, religion, social class, political tendencies, nationality, union membership, sexual orientation, civil status or any other motive as indicated by applicable laws, ILO Conventions 100 and 111, and this standard. The farm must offer equal pay, training and promotion opportunities and benefits to all workers for the same type of work. The farm must not influence the political, religious, social or cultural convictions of workers. Objective To treat all workers, employees, suppliers and other actors involved in the farm’s production activities equally.

Interpretation Guide  The farm gives equal treatment to all actors involved in the production activities of the farm. There is no distinction, exclusion or preference based on any condition or characteristic of the people that has the effect of voiding or harming equal opportunity in employment, working or hiring conditions (based on the concepts of the International Labor Organization).  Discriminatory activities include – among other actions – not hiring or firing, unequal hourly payment for the same task or verbal harassment. Examples of human conditions that should NOT be subject to discriminatory activities include: homosexuality, gender, membership in unions or other worker organizations, disability, family conditions (pregnant women, parents with children, among others) and the conditions indicated in the criterion itself. 5.3

The farm must directly hire its workforce, except when a contractor is able to provide specialized or temporary services under the same environmental, social and labor conditions required by this standard. The farm must not establish relations or contracts with third parties, form or directly participate in employee-owned companies, or use other mechanisms to avoid the direct hiring of workers and the obligations normally associated with labor contracts. Employment of foreign workers must be subject to a work permit issued by the competent government agency. The farm must not ask for money from workers in return for employment. Objective To provide a stable and fair contractual framework for any worker, including temporary and immigrant workers.

Interpretation Guide  The farm protects temporary workers with legal labor benefits similar to those of permanent workers regarding working conditions, compensation, and access to medical services, schedule and provided infrastructure.  The formation of structures for workers hired for professional services is not permitted if they do not provide the labor benefits provided by law.  Hiring foreign immigrant workers without work permits is not allowed, since this invites non-compliance with the corresponding labor legislation and operates to the detriment of labor benefits for these foreigners.  A hire-fire situation is not permitted (hiring for the period that allows firing without payment of benefits and then re-hiring). 5.5

Critical criterion. Workers must receive pay in legal remuneration greater than or equal to the regional average or the legally established minimum wage, whichever is greater, according to their specific job. In cases where the salary is negotiated through collective bargaining or other pact, the worker must have access to a copy of this document during the hiring process. For production, quota or piecework, the established pay rate must allow workers to earn a minimum wage based on an eight-hour workday under average working conditions, or in cases where these conditions cannot be met. To guarantee the income endorsed by the labor law to the farm worker or, in the absence of an up to date state definition, to ensure Objective payment as defined by the stakeholders in the respective local interpretation guidelines. Interpretation Guide



Sustainable Agriculture Network  

A minimum salary established by the local labor authority is in force in most countries with SAN certified farms, which may be paid by month, day or hour, as defined by the mode of hiring. Some countries allow in kind payment of 30% of the salary or a minimum of 70% in cash. The valuation of the in kind payments needs to be on fair terms reflecting realistically the market prices of items. Unless legislation makes in kind payments mandatory for employers, it remains the worker’s right to be fully paid in cash and reject in kind payment. In countries where there is no definition of a minimum salary by the local government, a process is conducted to find consensus on a salary scenario that could be acceptable to the SAN, with the local stakeholders and including local and international authorities. Until publication of the agreed scenario, certification audits are conducted based on the mean for the region.


When applicable laws permit, minors between 12 and 14 years old may work part-time on family farms, only if they are family members or neighbors in a community where minors have traditionally helped with agricultural work. The schedule for these minors including school, transportation and work must not exceed ten hours on school days or eight hours on non-school days, and must not interfere with educational opportunities. The following conditions must be fulfilled: a. These workers must have the right to one rest day for every six days worked and rest breaks during the workday the same as or more frequently than contracted workers. b. They must not form part of the farm’s contracted workforce. c. They must not work at night. d. They must not handle or apply agrochemicals or be in areas where they are being applied. e. They must not carry heavy loads nor do work that requires physical exertion unsuitable for their age. f. They must not work on steep slopes (more than 50% incline) or in high places (ladders, trees, roofs, towers or similar places). g. They must not operate or be near heavy machinery. h. They must not do any type of work that may affect their health or safety. i. They must get periodical training for the work they do. j. They must be under the supervision of a responsible adult in order to guarantee that they understand how to do their work safely. k. Transportation must be provided to and from home if workers have to travel in the dark or in conditions that put their personal safety at risk. Objective To guarantee protection of minors in working conditions and their right to education, safety and health. Interpretation Guide  This criterion does relate to minors helping for limited hours on family and neighboring farms – this scenario needs to be strictly separated from the employment of minors as described in criterion 5.8.  When permitted by national law, minors between 12 and 14 years old may work part-time on family farms, only if they are family members or neighbors in a community where minors have traditionally helped with light agricultural work, as long as these tasks are not harmful and do not impede or interfere with school attendance and achievements.  Dangerous or unhealthy work is prohibited for minors in all circumstances including, for example, exposure to hazardous chemicals, dangerous machinery and tools such as machetes and scythes.  Working hours for these minors should not exceed 2 hours per day on school days and the maximum number of working hours per week shall not exceed 14. Transport time to and from the farm needs to be included in the time allowance provided here.  At all times, farm management and parents or guardians of the minors must consider school as the top priority and support it.



Sustainable Agriculture Network 5.10

Critical Criterion. Any type of forced labor is prohibited, including working under the regimen of imprisonment, in agreement with International Labor Organization (ILO) Conventions 29 and 105 and national labor laws. The farm does not withhold any part or all of workers’ salaries, benefits or any rights acquired or stipulated by law, or any of the workers’ documents, in order to force them to work or stay on the farm, or as a disciplinary action. The farm does not use extortion, debt, threats or sexual abuse or harassment, or any other physical or psychological measure to force workers to work or stay on the farm, or as a disciplinary measure. Objective To ensure the individual right of people to select their work site without the farm exerting any kind of pressure.

Interpretation Guide  This criterion includes prohibition of workers from rehabilitation programs that carry out agricultural activities within a state regime of punishment for crimes committed.  SAN does not permit work by prisoners on certified farms. 5.12

Workers must have the right to freely organize and voluntarily negotiate their working conditions in a collective manner as established in ILO Conventions 87 and 98. The farm must have and divulge a policy guaranteeing this right and must not impede workers from forming or joining unions, collective bargaining or organizing for ideological, religious, political, economic, social, cultural or any other reasons. The farm must periodically provide opportunities for workers to make decisions regarding their rights and alternatives to form any type of organization for negotiating their working conditions. Objective The right of workers to free organization is supported in order to defend their rights.

Interpretation Guide  Any farm worker may freely select an organization to defend his labor rights as member or affiliate, whether a union, permanent committee or other figure that serves this purpose. This organization makes decisions with full independence from the farm’s management or administration.  The farm does not prevent the activities of these organizations and guarantees free access to the farm or related infrastructure to its representatives. 5.13

The farm must inform permanent and regular seasonal workers - and the workers organizations that represent them - of any plans for changes in farm management activities or organizational structure with potentially significant social, environmental and economic effects. a. Workers who will be replaced by the use of machines or for any other reason due to significant changes in farm management activities or organizational structure must be given priority consideration for opportunities to be contracted in other labors on the farm and must be trained for those new tasks. b. In confirmed cases of job loss and lack of employment opportunities, the farm must provide economic compensation for workers according to national labor legislation. In the absence of national legislation, the labor contract for permanent or seasonal workers must include a severance provision. To mitigate the effects on employment or economic wellbeing of workers caused by the introduction of farming machinery, other Objective agricultural practices or changes to the organization of the farm. Interpretation Guide  This criterion applies to plantations and farms with hired workers, including sugar cane and banana plantations, flower and coffee farms.  This criterion does not apply to small farmers without hired workers.  Mitigation measures exist within the frame of reference provided by the local labor legislation.



Sustainable Agriculture Network 5.14

Housing provided by the farm for permanent or temporary workers living there must be well-designed, built and maintained to foster good hygienic, health and safety conditions. Living quarters must be separated from production areas. The farm must seek alternatives for relocating housing or camps that are currently within production areas. Workers and their families living on the farm must have access to recreation areas according to the composition of inhabitants. The design, size and construction of dormitories, barracks and other housing, type and quantity of furniture, and number and location of sanitary facilities, showers, and washing and cooking areas must comply with applicable laws. In absence of applicable laws the following elements and characteristics apply: a. The dormitories must be constructed with wooden floors above the ground or floors made from asphalt or concrete, roofs in good condition without leaks, and with appropriate ventilation and lighting. b. The ceiling must not be lower than 2.5 meters at any point. c. Five square meters of space per person in sleeping areas. d. Heating for cold climates. e. Bed, hammock or other dignified infrastructure for sleeping according to the workers’ cultural needs, at least 20 centimeters above the ground. The space in between bunk beds is greater than or equal to 120 centimeters and 90 centimeters between each bed. f. Basic furniture for storing personal belongings. g. The sanitary facilities must comply with the following characteristics: one toilet for every 15 persons; one urinal for every 25 men; sufficient supply of toilet paper; a minimum distance of 30 meters from dormitories, eating areas and kitchens; one washbasin for every six persons, or per family. h. One shower per ten persons, separated by gender. i. One large laundry sink for every 30 persons. j. In the absence of a kitchen service (kitchen and dining hall provided by the farm), there must be installations outside the living areas for preparing and eating food and for washing kitchen utensils. There must be one cooking installation per 10 persons or for every two families. Objective To provide dignified housing for workers in the farms, with good sanitary and safety conditions and protection against the weather.

Interpretation Guide  Items a-j only serve as additional guidance and are not binding.  Where available, guidelines and regulations of local laws shall be considered.  Local interpretation guidelines provide further guidance as per country.



Sustainable Agriculture Network 5.15

All workers of the farm and persons living on the farm must have access to potable water. Sufficient supply of potable water must be provided to all workers and must be available at the work site. The farm must be able to demonstrate that the water provided complies with the physical and chemical parameters and other characteristics established in applicable laws or in their absence, with the following critical parameters defined by the World Health Organization (WHO): Parameter Fecal Coliforms Chlorine residue or residue from other treatment disinfectants Nitrates pH Sodium Sulphates Turbidity

Value Zero 0.2 to 0.5 mg/L 10 mg/L as nitrates 6.5 to 8.5 20 mg/L 250 mg/L Less than or equal to 5 NTU

Non-family farms that obtain water from their own sources - water not supplied by aqueducts managed by other entities - must have a periodic drinking water monitoring and analysis program that includes: a. Identification of water sources on a map and on the farm. b. Policies and procedures for guaranteeing the protection of water sources. c. Sampling procedures and sampling locations and frequency. d. Analyses conducted by a legally recognized laboratory (certified or authorized). e. A record of the results for the last three years or since the certification process was initiated. Additional analysis may be requested in order to ensure quality when evidence of direct or indirect contamination (such as erosion) of surface or underground water exists. To provide sufficient hydration to farm workers and inhabitants with water that does not have acute or chronic effects over the health of Objective these people. Interpretation Guide  Boiling, filtering and/or chlorinating are considered appropriate methods for water treatment or purification.  The different treatments are effective for eliminating fecal coliform bacteria, chlorine residues, nitrates, sodium, sulphates or other contaminants and provide appropriate pH and color for consumption. This fact is verified by independent laboratory analyses, such as from state-run labs, or in the case of private systems through a sample of representative analyses that cover the different treatment systems or regions.



Sustainable Agriculture Network 5.19

In those regions or countries where families traditionally harvest specific crops and where national laws do permit it, minors can participate in harvesting under the following conditions: a. The farm must have identified and monitor those harvest working conditions that have impacts on the health and physical and mental well-being of minors, and must take special measures to eliminate or mitigate those impacts. b. Harvest activities must not interfere with the minors’ education obligations. c. Minors must not carry large or heavy (no more than 20% of a minor’s body weight) loads. d. Minors must not work on pronounced slopes (no more than 50%), near steep cliffs or drop-offs, or on high surfaces. e. Minors must always be accompanied by one of their parents, a legal guardian, or an adult authorized by a parent or guardian. In the latter case, the farm must have written authorization from the minor’s parents or legal guardian. Minors must not walk alone through the plantation. f. Minors must be remunerated in cash for their labors. g. The farm must take measures to reduce the participation of minors in agricultural activities. These measures must include the installation and maintenance of schools, nurseries or day care, or paying parents or other audits to care for children instead of harvesting. h. The farmer must ensure that everyone who participates in the harvest knows the conditions set forth in this criterion and must take the necessary measures to guarantee compliance. To respect the tradition of family harvesting of coffee and cocoa crops with the help of minors while safeguarding education and health Objective priorities for minors. Interpretation Guide  The help of minors does not go against their attending school and does not place their health at risk.  Minors are accompanied in the farm by their parents or guardians.



Sustainable Agriculture Network PRINCIPLE 6: Occupational Health and Safety 6.1

The farm must have an occupational health and safety program with the principal objective being to identify and minimize or eliminate workers’ occupational risks. The program must have the policies, procedures, personnel and the resources necessary for reaching its objectives. It must also comply with applicable national laws and with this standard and be known and understood by the workers. The workers must be involved with reviewing the policies, procedures and other activities indicated in the program to ensure compliance. An occupational health committee must be established on farms with ten or more permanent production and processing workers. A written procedure is required for selecting committee members, and records must be kept for committee meetings and actions taken. To analyze the risks to the health and safety of workers, residents and visitors present on the farm associated to production activities and Objective to implement actions to minimize or eliminate them. Interpretation Guide  This analysis is requested from plantation managers or group administrators. Small farmers are not capable of conducting this type of technical analysis.


Workers that carry out activities identified as being dangerous or a health risk in the occupational health and safety program, or those that require special skills such as the handling and application of agrochemicals, carrying heavy loads, harvesting manually or using agricultural machinery or equipment, must receive a medical check-up at least annually to assure their physical and mental capacities for such work. Workers must have access to the results of their medical examinations. Those workers who either express or are observed having medical or mental health issues, must have the timely attention of and, as indicated, treatment by medical personnel - with the authority to find that a worker is unfit for the specific job he/she is doing and he/she needs job reassignment. Farm management must implement actions to avoid medical disorders of farm workers caused by harvest and other labor practices. Adequate rehydration must be provided at all times. To promote the physical integrity of workers through medical exams and treatment applicable to the working conditions that requires Objective great physical effort or expose workers to toxic substances. Interpretation Guide  Compliance with this criterion is the responsibility of the farm or group administrator, but not of the small holder.  This criterion applies to harvesting activities on farms and plantations, for example, sugar cane, banana and pineapple plantations and flower nurseries.  Medical examinations and treatment are provided firstly by state institutions and, in the absence of these services, by the farm’s administration. If there is no occupational risk, the medical examination is not required.  The requirements apply to workers according to the risk for each task. The main risks include carrying heavy weights and applying pesticides. 6.5

Personnel who apply or handle agrochemicals must have examinations necessary to determine the potential effects of the agrochemicals they handle before initiating such activities on the farm. These workers must not suffer from chronic diseases, hepatitis or renal diseases, or respiratory diseases nor have been declared mentally challenged. Only males between the ages of 18 and 60 are permitted to apply agrochemicals. On farms where organophosphates and carbamates are applied, cholinesterase examinations must be carried out every six months or as stipulated by law, whichever is more frequent. The examination results must be documented in a manner in which the following information is easily found: name of examined worker, examination date and results, and any recommendations regarding the worker’s capacity to apply agrochemicals. Workers must have access to the examination results and must be assigned to other activities if the recommendations indicate that they are unfit to apply these products. Objective To monitor the health of workers that are trained to apply synthetic pesticides.



Sustainable Agriculture Network Interpretation Guide  Cholinesterase examinations are only necessary on farms that apply carbamates and organophosphate products and the examinations focus on the staff that handles these products.  On farms where workers are exposed to organophosphates or carbamate pesticides, the farm implements a cholinesterase monitoring program and establishes control measures.  Application of fertilizers by women is permitted as long as the appropriate protection equipment is used. Application of pesticides by women is not permitted, as it generates high risks to their health in general and may affect their reproductive organs, as well as their descendants (embryo, fetus, newborn). 6.10

The farm must store agrochemicals in a manner that minimizes potential negative impacts on human health and on the environment. The farm must store only the amount of agrochemicals necessary to meet short-term needs. These products must be separated according to their biocide, toxicity and chemical formula. They must not be stored on the floor nor come within contact with absorbent materials. A Material Safety Data Sheet must be kept in the storage facility for each chemical product stored. All agrochemical containers must be washed three times before being stored for disposal or return to supplier. All agrochemical containers must maintain their original labels. The farm must take actions to return to the supplier agrochemicals that are prohibited, expired, or not legally registered, or agrochemicals that have had their licenses canceled. If the supplier will not accept them, the farm must seek safe alternatives for eliminating them. Objective To require storage of agrochemicals without risk to the environment and the people inside the farm and in neighboring areas.

Interpretation Guide  This criterion addresses the safe storage of agrochemicals and must not be confused with critical criterion 8.4 that addresses prohibition of use of certain substances.  In case of expired products, risks to humans, surface and ground water must be avoided. In case the supplier of the product does not accept returns or there is no other means for disposal, the product must remain in its container in safe storage. 6.13

Critical criterion. All workers that come into contact with agrochemicals, including those who clean or wash clothes or equipment that has been exposed to agrochemicals, must use personal protection equipment. The farm must provide this equipment in good condition, and must provide incentives to workers to use the equipment. The equipment must reduce contact with the agrochemicals and the possibility of acute or chronic poisoning, and must comply with the strictest of the following requirements: a) the requirements indicated on the products’ Material Safety Data Sheet, b) any applicable laws; or c) the equipment indicated in Annex 2 of this standard [Sustainable Agriculture Standard]. To minimize exposure of workers to chemical substances through the use of personal protection equipment in accordance with product Objective toxicity. Interpretation Guide  In the case of application of pesticides by tractors with closed cabins with air conditioning and filters that prevent the entry of drift substances, no protection equipment is needed. Once the operator leaves the cabin, he needs to wear protection equipment.  The most common scenario is a small farmer that only applies chemical fertilizers. In this case, the use of gloves and closed-toe shoes is indicated to avoid contact of the fertilizer with the skin.  The Manufacturer’s Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) in many cases describe the newest protection equipment and in this case, it may replace the specifications in Annex 2 of the Sustainable Agriculture Standard. However, the applicable national legislation needs to be observed.



Sustainable Agriculture Network 6.20

Farms must implement documented procedures for protecting workers in the event of an extreme weather event. When harvesting at night, farms must provide constant lighting in the entire radius of harvest worker activities. Only in the case of monoculture crops with an average plant height lower than two meters, farms must provide shelter for shade and protection from extreme weather conditions, such as heavy rain and lightning. Objective To protect farm workers against specific environmental conditions, such as sunlight, storms and lighting.

Interpretation Guide  The first phase of the criterion applies to any crop (“Farms must implement documented procedures for protecting workers in the event of an extreme weather event”).  In any crop that, on average is less than 2 meters high, the farm must provide infrastructure to protect people from extreme weather conditions, such as lighting and storms. In the case of small farmers, a house can serve this purpose if located in the field.



Sustainable Agriculture Network PRINCIPLE 7: Community Relations 7.2

Critical Criterion. The farm management must implement policies and procedures for identifying and considering the interests of local populations and community interest groups regarding farm activities or changes that could have an impact on their health, employment or local natural resources. The farm must document and make available for public view all complaints and comments it receives related to its activities and its replies to them. Objective To identify and consider the opinions of local communities about farm activities that may possibly impact community resources.

Interpretation Guide  Does not apply to small holders but does apply to group administrators.  The farm administration actively seeks the opinion and comments of community representatives before developing activities with possible impact on community resources, in order to minimize these impacts.  An efficient communication mechanism with the community exists.  Any legal requirements with regard to new farm activities and their impact on nearby communities are respected.  The procedure to handle opinions and complaints from the community contains at least the following elements: o Information on complaints and opinions, as well as the responses are available to any stakeholder, for example, external auditors, public officials, community or union representatives. A file of all complaints and responses accessible to the public must exist. o The farm administration responds to all complaints submitted by persons or groups. 7.5

The farm must help with local environmental education efforts and must support and collaborate with local research in areas related to this standard. Objective To disseminate the environmental awareness of the farm administration and workers to the neighboring communities.

Interpretation Guide  Group administrators’ actions and projects are accepted as part of environmental education efforts.  Examples of evidence of the environmental education activities conducted include visitor registration or photographs. 7.6

The farm must have a legitimate right to land use and tenure, demonstrated by presenting the appropriate official documentation. If there is no such documentation the farm must show either: a. The absence of significant disputes on land use, tenure and access, or; b. The consent of local communities, regarding the land, natural and agricultural resources. To avoid disputes between land owners and communities regarding land use rights and to safeguard the rights of communities to use Objective their lands. Interpretation Guide  The farms use the land in accordance with the law and demonstrate the absence of dispute to auditors either by official documentation or in its absence through documentation by community committees or traditional committees.  In the case of inherited land, the legal process is demonstrated.



Sustainable Agriculture Network PRINCIPLE 8: Integrated Crop Management 8.1

The farm must have an integrated pest-management program based on ecological principles for the control of harmful pests (insects, plants, animals and microbes). The program must give priority to the use of physical, mechanical, cultural and biological control methods, and the least possible use of agrochemicals. The program must include activities for monitoring pest populations, training personnel that monitor these populations, and integrated pest management techniques. As part of the program, the farm must collect and record the following information about pest infestations: infestation dates, duration, area and location; type of pest; the control mechanisms employed; environmental factors during the infestation; and damage caused and estimated costs of damage and control. To promote integrated pest management of the farm’s crops through pest monitoring, priority use of biological controls and only focused Objective use of synthetic pesticides when the damage rises above the economic threshold. Interpretation Guide  The requirements for integrated pest management apply to all crops on the farm, not only the crop within the scope of certified product.  The farm respects the re-entry intervals of the pesticide and applies all other information in the product information data sheet. 8.4

Critical criterion. The following chemical or biological substances cannot be used on certified farms: a. Biological or organic substances that are not legally registered in the country for commercial use. b. Agrochemicals that are not registered officially in the country. c. Agrochemicals that are mentioned in the List of Banned and Severely Restricted Pesticides in the U.S. by its Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or pesticides banned or severely restricted in the European Union. d. Substances that have been banned globally under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). e. Substances listed in Annex III of the Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent (PIC), in relation to national bans or severe restrictions for documented health or environmental reasons in at least two regions of the World. f. All Pesticide Action Network Dirty Dozen substances. List of Prohibited Pesticides – Sustainable Agriculture Network is binding for the inserts 8.4.c, 8.4.d, 8.4.e and 8.4.f of this criterion. To prohibit the application or mixing of pest control substances that pose risk to human, aquatic and terrestrial animal health or that is Objective not officially registered for agricultural use in the country. Interpretation Guide  “Use” is defined as the application or mixing of a chemical or biological substance in order to control crop pests.  At the level of a group administrator, the situation may arise where a commercial establishment also sells prohibited substances. However, if these substances are not for sale and distribution to certified farms, this is not scored as non-conformity.  Item 8.4.a does not apply to organic fertilizers.  Annex 3 of the Sustainable Agriculture Standard only mentions the active ingredients of Class Ia, Ib & II of WHO for information purposes and orientation for compliance with criterion 8.5.  The respective national list of prohibited pesticides and the SAN List of Prohibited Pesticides are complementary to each other. None of the substances mentioned in any of those lists must be used on certified farms in any of its operations (one exclusion exists for veterinary uses and details are provided in the SAN List of Prohibited Pesticides).  Regarding the prohibition of hazardous substances included in this critical criterion 8.4, the SAN List of Prohibited Pesticides prevails. The following active ingredients of Class Ia, Ib & II of WHO are prohibited by the SAN or are subject to gradual elimination (the SAN List of Prohibited Pesticides is periodically updated): SAN-G-20-1


Sustainable Agriculture Network o o o

Ia: aldicarb, captafol, disulfoton, EPN, hexachlorobenzene, mercuric chloride, mevinphos, parathion, parathion-methyl, phenylmercury acetate, phosphamidon. Ib: cadusafos, calcium arsenate, carbofuran, dinoterb, DNOC, lead arsenate, mercuric oxide, methamidophos, monocrotophos, oxydemetonmethyl, paris green (copper-arsenic complex), pentachlorophenol, sodium arsenite, thallium sulfate, triazophos. II: DDT, endosulfan, ethion, fenthion, fentin acetate, fentin hydroxide, fenvalerate, fipronil, gamma-hch, haloxyfop, HCH, mercurous chloride, paraquat, phosalone, pyrazophos, thiodicarb, trichlorfon, xylylcarb.


Critical Criterion. The farm must take steps to avoid introducing, cultivating or processing transgenic crops. When nearby transgenic materials are accidentally introduced into a certified farm’s crop, the farm must develop and execute a plan to isolate the crops and provide follow-up in order to comply with the requirements of this criterion. Objective To avoid the presence of transgenic crops on the farm to minimize associated potential risks to human beings and for pest control.

Interpretation Guide  Transgenic organisms are not permitted on the farm, while crops with hybrids or created using other classic genetic techniques are permitted, for example, tomatoes. 8.8

Critical Criterion. APPLIES FOR SUGAR CANE CULTIVATION ONLY Farms that harvest sugarcane with machines are not allowed to use fire for harvest preparation. All other farms – employing manual rather than mechanized harvesting - must eliminate fire for harvest preparation within a maximum period of three years and must implement the following rules: a. Explain their fire-elimination plan to workers, suppliers and surrounding communities. b. Comply with local legislation about the use of fire for farm management. c. Conduct burning in a way that minimizes the impact on workers, surrounding communities and natural resources. Fire must not be allowed to spread to conservation areas. The workers in charge of burning must be adequately trained in fire management, control and suppression. Minimize the negative impacts that fire in the sugar cane productive areas, has on people´s safety and health and on the conservation of Objective biodiversity and ecosystems. Interpretation Guide   

The use of fire for harvest preparation is prohibited on those farms using machinery for this activity. Other farms that harvest sugarcane manually eliminate progressively the use of fire to prepare the harvest. The deadline for elimination is three years. These farms implement a phase out plan for burning, prepared by a technically competent professional. The plan has at least the following elements: a) measures to comply with local laws on burning; b) a training program for workers and service providers about the risks of fire and safe handling; c) the measures to reduce the impact of burning until it reaches total elimination, for example, management according to the direction and wind speed, presence of people and distance to protected areas. The plan is based on a cost-benefit analysis, which eliminates burning as soon as possible within the available resources.



Sustainable Agriculture Network 8.9

The use of fire for pest and disease management must only be used if it is the option of less environmental impact in comparison with other pest control measures. This option must be approved by competent authorities must reflect technical considerations and focus on problematic areas only. To limit and regulate the use of fire and only permit it in case manual and/or chemical options would not be available or show more Objective environmental impact. Interpretation Guide  Local government regulations regarding the use of fire are observed by the administration of the farm and its workers. In the case of a group of farms, the group administrator trains member farmers on the contents of this legislation.  Fire is only used in case of localized pest infestations such as attacks of ants or other insects, if the environmental impact of fire is less than the impact caused by an insecticide.  Fire may be used to control moko disease in banana crops or basal stem rot in oil palm.



Sustainable Agriculture Network PRINCIPLE 9: Soil Management and Conservation 9.2

The farm must have a soil or crop fertilization program based on soil characteristics and properties, periodic soil or foliage sampling and analysis, and advice from a competent and impartial professional or authority. The number of soil or foliage samples must correspond with the size of the production area, types of soil, and variations in its properties, as well as results of previous analyses. The producer must keep the results of these analyses on the farm for a two-year period. Organic and non-organic fertilizers must be applied so as to avoid any potential negative impacts on the environment. The farm must give priority to organic fertilization using residues generated by the farm. Objective To promote fertilization in accordance with the nutritional requirements of the plants and with soil conditions.

Interpretation Guide  In the case of group administrators, it is not necessary to conduct soil analyses in all member farms. A representative sample of soil analyses covering the various soil conditions is sufficient. The last analysis is no more than two years old.  Zoning studies of regional soils may fulfill this requirement.  Farm workers observe crop plant health to detect nutritional deficiencies. For oil palm and flowers, a foliar analysis is indicated.  Frequency of analysis is established as deemed necessary by crop advisors, who consider nutrient requirement curves according to the maturity status of the crop.  Excessive fertilization is avoided for flowers and other crops to reduce nutrient runoff caused by rain toward natural surface water bodies or infiltration of nitrates into aquifers.  The program promotes practices that facilitate the efficient use of fertilizers, such as the application in proper time (related to crop calendar), adequate quantity, inside the soil, and the proper type of fertilizer accordingly with the soil analysis or zoning and crop’s needs.

PRINCIPLE 10: Integrated Waste Management 10.6

The farm must implement practices to diminish its emissions of greenhouse gases and increase carbon dioxide sequestration. Such practices include soil cover management, planting trees and other perennial vegetation, proper sourcing and management of fertilizers and fuels, management of effluent ponds and manure, proper waste management, use of clean technologies, improvement of energy efficiency, reduction in tillage, and participation in local or regional initiatives aimed at greenhouse gas reduction and carbon dioxide sequestration. Objective To reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase carbon dioxide sequestration.

Interpretation Guide  In addition to the requirements of the Sustainable Agriculture Standard already met, the farm analyzes and implements other actions to reduce the farm’s carbon footprint. For example, improving waste water treatment to emit less methane (i.e., oxidation ponds) or using more efficient wood stoves.  Elements not met in this criterion are scored by SAN auditors as minor non-conformities.



San g 20 1 agriculture standard guide(1)