An assurance system that has similar intended outcomes may request to be recognised as equivalent to LEAF Marque. This may be to reduce or consolidate the certification expectations of producers where there may be duplication or similarities in requirements of assurance systems. To be considered for equivalence against LEAF Marque, the prospective Standard, assurance system and its outcomes must be concerned with sustainability principles of on-farm production resulting in value chain products.
To apply for equivalence between the system owner and LEAF Marque, please contact [email protected] to request an application form.
The LEAF Marque benchmarking for equivalence application process is comprised of four stages, outlined as follows:
1. Submit an application form to be considered for equivalence.
2. If the assurance system is deemed suitable for equivalence scoping, LEAF Marque will provide confirmation, and require further details on the system owner’s processes and normative requirements, such as auditing and certification practices. The scheme owner will be required to submit their Standard formatted in a spreadsheet for benchmarking against the LEAF Marque Standard.
3. If the assurance system’s requirements satisfy the equivalence criteria, and the benchmarking of the system’s Standard doesn’t identify any risks, a recommendation will be submitted to the LEAF Marque Board of Trustees. There are three outcomes that can be recommended:
4. The LEAF Marque Board of Trustees will vote/agree on the equivalence decision, and the applicant system is informed of the outcome.
If the outcome is successful, and the assurance system is recognised as equivalent, the LEAF Marque team will work with the system owner to ensure the robustness of the equivalence program, and its associated claims.
If the system owner would like to pursue scoping for benchmarking and equivalence, where the prior outcome was unsuccessful, the system owner is subject to completing the full process and fee structure.
Please note: Where producers are certified against equivalent systems, they will be required to be LEAF charity members, and to complete the LEAF Sustainable Farming Review. These measures are in place to ensure that LEAF Marque can continue to gather data, to accurately report on the system’s performance, and measure against the intended outcomes of LEAF Marque.
Where an assurance system is successful, and recognised as equivalent, LEAF Marque team collaborate with the system owner to ensure appropriate governance. Systems recognised as equivalent will attend bi-annual governance meetings to maintain the integrity of the agreement.
To maintain the robustness of LEAF Marque’s assurance system, LEAF Marque ensures oversight of the system owner’s assurance processes (applicable only to areas recognised as equivalent to LEAF Marque). The following workstreams are subject to governance:
|a) Benchmarking for equivalence, and equivalence scoping process
|b) Equivalence granted with bolt-on modules required
|c) New versions and iterations to schemes approved for equivalence
*If the benchmarked system is approved and the outcome achieved is ‘equivalence with bolt-ons’, this fee will be required to implement equivalence.
**For a system to remain recognised as equivalent to LEAF Marque, a fee will be charged for scoping and benchmarking against the new versions of the system owner’s Standard.
A system owner may appeal the outcome by contacting:
They must submit justification for the appeal and associated evidence to rebut the equivalence decision and its findings.
If justification is insufficient or further scoping is required, system owners are subject to associated costs (outlined in fee a).