The first step towards collaboration is the exchange of information. Naturland provides interested producers and processors with detailed information about the basics of the work of Naturland as well as technical and formal aspects of certification.
The interested farm/organisation is then requested to present itself, its work and its operation.
For this, Naturland will forward a basic questionnaire to the interested farm. The questionnaire assists in obtaining basic data about the operation and to evaluate previous cultivation, as well as the preconditions and prospects for conversion towards organic agriculture.
The next step is a pre-evaluation visit of the farm conducted by a Naturland representative. This pre-evaluation follows a detailed agenda. The purpose of the visit is to get an impression of the situation on site and to discuss the steps towards certification with all parties involved. The on-site visit of a farm overseas can be done within a short time after signing the contract.
Assuming a positive decision by the Certification Committee, a contractual part-nership between the farm/organisation and the Naturland Association can be established. At this point, a producer contract between the farm/organisation and Naturland will be effectuated. Therein, the farm/company commits itself to com-ply with the Naturland standards and to regular inspections.
In case an agreement for future cooperation is reached, Naturland will order an inspection of the farm/organisation by an independent and approved inspection body. Before the inspection is scheduled, the operator has to contact the inspection body and close an inspection contract. This usually also includes inspection and certification according to EC-organic-regulation. The operator may demand a cost estimate for the inspection.
A thorough inventory of the operation will be carried out, covering all aspects of farm management, cultivation, input materials, documentation, harvest, pro-cessing, and export. According to size and complexity of operation, inspection may take one to several days.
The inspector will give his assessment of the operation including his recommendations to Naturland as certification body. The findings of the inspection will be documented in writing in the inspection report. The farm/company is given the opportunity to comment on the report.
The inspection report, together with further data and information, is forwarded to the Naturland Certification Committee.
The Certification Committee decides on the Naturland certification of the operator and on the annual renewal of certification after each year’s annual inspection.
The committee’s decision is communicated to the farm/company by the certification letter. In case of violations of the standards requirements the certification letter may also contain the conditions that have to be fulfilled in order to continue certification.
After all formalities have been successfully concluded, Naturland will issue its contractual partner a certification letter and a certificate, confirming the operator’s approval as Naturland certified farm/company.
The farm/company obtains together with the certificate and the certification letter the producer contract signed by Naturland and thus becomes a member of the Naturland Association for Organic Agriculture. Naturland certification in general possible with or without a membership with the Naturland association.
From this moment on organic transaction certificates (OTCs) may be issued for individual shipments/sales upon application by the operator. Such certificates contain specifications of the products, the producer and the buyer, guaranteeing third parties that this specific merchandise is a Naturland certified product.
As part of quality assurance, representatives of Naturland’s specialist departments regularly visit Naturland operations on-site in a risk-oriented manner.
The legal basis for the use of the Naturland trade mark for labeling Naturland certified products is governed by a separate contract, the so called sublicense contract with the Naturland Zeichen GmbH (Naturland trade mark company).
Without this contract with the Naturland Zeichen GmbH it is not possible to label products with the Naturland trade mark or any reference to Naturland.
Users of the Naturland trade mark and name pay a license fee, calculated on the basis of the turn-over of the organic products.