Successful revision of the CSE Standard by the working group “Active Sustainability”

At the fair BioFach 2013 the CSE Certified Sustainable Economics Standard has been upgraded successfully. Criteria have been specified, production by processing contractors has been considered and the Economy of Common Good as a further element has been integrated.

The task group „Active Sustainability“ which consists of pioneer companies, the certification body Ecocontrol and the GfaW – Society for Applied Economic Ethics – met one year after the launch of the CSE Standard at BioFach to discuss improvements of the CSE Standard. The CSE Standard is an innovative and process-driven certification standard of sustainable management.

18 months ago, the pioneers of sustainable economy met the first time within the frame of a pilot project. The companies (Aries Umweltprodukte, Börlind GmbH, Farfalla Essentials AG, Logocos AG, oceanBASIS GmbH and Botanica GmbH), the certification body Ecocontrol and the GfaW developed an entirely new certification standard. The outstanding contribution of the CSE Standard consists in a declarde consensus about a “modicum of sustainable management”. Through minimum specifications for the certification, the CSE Standard offers the foundation for “best practice” definitions of a sustainable management.

In contrast to other certifications, the CSE Standard requires a predefinition of at least three sustainability targets. The progressive goal achievements are evaluated in an annual audit by the application of indicators. According to their own priorities, the sustainability targets are picked out of a catalogue by the companies. In this way the CSE Standard challenges and promotes continuous development and learning processes of the certified companies. By now, five corporations have been certified and further are currently in the process of certification.

The discussions of the working group „Active Sustainability“ have shown, that a lively debate about the realistic capacities of a sustainable management and societal values gives fresh impetus to the CSE Standard. Through the revision of the standard, new solution approaches had been described and hence the valuable pioneering had been continued.

One important discussion topic was the production by processing contractors. It has been clarified that in any case manufacturing facilities have to be included into the validation. Due to considerations of fairness and the credibility for the CSE logo, desk-job companies can not receive the CSE label.

A further important topic was the palm oil issue. Now it can be distinguished between palm oil as crude material and palm oil based crude materials, e.g. emulsifiers, glycerin or consistency regulators. Palm oil as crude material, from now on has to begin with controlled organic cultivation (kbA), according to a priority list. Palm oil based crude materials are currently not always available in kbA, or at least in RSPO quality. Companies wishing to substitute palm oil based materials by palm oil free materials, can now challenge this target within the CSE certification.

The concept of the Economy of Common Good (ECG) have been appreciated as an favourable complement. The CSE Standard proposes to generate ECG balance sheets within the frame of certification as a feasible target. Beyond that, from now on the CSE Standard offers the active involvement in the ECG movement as an emphasis for profiling.

The working group „Active Sustainability“ declares itself satisfied with the additions and specifications. There is still a long way to go, however the pioneers of the “Active Sustainability” agree in being on the right track.

English Version 2.0 of CSE Standard will be published soon.