Infor­mation about the We Care label for con­sumers

What is the We Care label?

We Careis a new, com­pre­hensive sus­taina­bility standard that monitors envi­ron­mental and CSR (cor­porate social respon­si­bility) com­pliance in the food industry. The label proves that a company is com­plying with We Care’s com­pre­hensive sus­taina­bility cri­teria at its own site and across its supply chains. We Care-cer­tified com­panies comply with envi­ron­mental and CSR stan­dards at every stage of a product’s life cycle – from initial cul­ti­vation in its country of origin (whether locally or abroad) right down to the finished product. These com­panies are com­mitted to con­ti­nuous impro­vement and work closely with their partners across their supply chains to produce and market food pro­ducts in a fair and envi­ron­men­tally-fri­endly way.

What are the benefits of the We Care standard?

The We Care standard com­bines rigorous envi­ron­mental and CSR stan­dards across food pro­duction supply chains. It is a pro­fes­sional and inde­pendent standard that verifies whether a company is com­plying with ethical and envi­ron­men­tally-fri­endly food pro­duction stan­dards from cul­ti­vation in the countries of origin through to the finished product. We Care con­firms whether a company is hono­uring its com­mit­ments across all its supply chains. We Care focuses on the sus­taina­bility of a company as a whole. In other words, it does not just focus on indi­vidual (flagship) pro­ducts or iso­lated sus­taina­bility issues but on the company’s entire acti­vities, including all the important envi­ron­mental and CSR issues. This ensures that We Care-cer­tified com­panies operate trans­par­ently for the benefit of people and the envi­ronment.

Which cri­teria does We Care monitor spe­ci­fi­cally?

The We Care cer­ti­fi­cation process involves a com­pre­hensive audit of a company’s sus­tainable business pro­cesses. This covers four key areas of action: cor­porate gover­nance, supply chain management, envi­ron­mental management and employee respon­si­bility. Each area is sub­di­vided into 164 cri­teria / The areas of action are sub­di­vided into 164 cri­teria. Envi­ron­mental management and employee respon­si­bility apply to the company’s own on-site ope­ra­tions. This focuses pri­marily on standard sus­taina­bility issues. For example, GMO-free product ranges, bio­di­versity and animal welfare in the pro­cu­rement of raw mate­rials, reduction of green­house gas emis­sions, bio­di­versity pro­tection and wages that are in line with the minimum wage or coll­ective agree­ments.

Unlike other sus­taina­bility stan­dards, We Care focuses heavily on supply chain management. It sets out in detail how com­panies should take respon­si­bility for their supply chains not only in terms of human rights but also in terms of CSR and envi­ron­mental com­pliance. Com­panies must the­r­efore establish rules for their day-to-day pro­cesses and take imme­diate action if CSR, envi­ron­mental or animal welfare stan­dards are inf­ringed across their supply chains. . To achieve cer­ti­fi­cation, a company must also prove that it has deve­loped long-standing and trusted part­ner­ships with its sup­pliers. Pro­cu­rement also plays a key role, which involves ensuring that fair prices are paid for raw mate­rials. To achieve cer­ti­fi­cation, a company must also prove that it has deve­loped long-standing and trusted part­ner­ships with its sup­pliers. Pro­cu­rement also plays a key role, which involves ensuring that fair prices are paid for raw mate­rials. Sup­pliers must prove that they are We Care com­pliant in order to work with We Care-cer­tified com­panies. To become We Care cer­tified, com­panies must also be able to demons­trate that they oblige their business partners to sign up to a code of conduct in line with CSR stan­dards. They must also check that these com­panies are actually fol­lowing this code of conduct.

Why is there a need for another standard for the food industry?

  • Organic labels
    Organic cer­ti­fi­cation con­firms that a product and/or its ingre­dients have been grown and pro­cessed orga­ni­cally. The We Care standard examines the goals, rules and docu­men­tation that are used to drive sus­taina­bility on a daily basis at company level. It is a management system standard that con­firms whether a company is hono­uring its com­mit­ments at every stage with regard to its supply chains and envi­ron­men­tally-fri­endly working prac­tices. This standard the­r­efore verifies whether com­panies are sys­te­ma­ti­cally ope­rating in a sus­tainable and part­nership-based way across their supply chains. The We Care standard the­r­efore com­ple­ments other organic stan­dards per­fectly.
  • Fair Trade and other sus­taina­bility labels
    The We Care standard goes one step further than other sus­taina­bility stan­dards because it closely examines the way envi­ron­mental and CSR aspects are dealt with across all supply chains. These aspects are also carefully examined at a company’s own sites. Standard Fair Trade systems and sus­taina­bility labels certify indi­vidual pro­ducts; however, they do not cover all aspects, including a company’s pro­cu­rement prac­tices. This is why We Care com­ple­ments other Fair Trade cer­ti­fi­ca­tions per­fectly.

Why is there a need for another label for the food industry?

There is a ple­thora of stan­dards, labels and quality seals in the food sector, whose requi­re­ments and usefulness vary con­siderably. Many of them only focus on a spe­cific company site or indi­vidual aspects of manu­fac­turing or pro­cu­rement. We Care, on the other hand, examines in detail envi­ron­mental and CSR requi­re­ments both at a company and supply chain level.The new We Care label closes any com­pliance gaps by sup­ple­menting and com­ple­menting other rigorous stan­dards.

Which body is behind the We Care standard and what role does it play?

The German division of the Research Institute of Organic Agri­culture e.V. (FiBL Germany) located in Frankfurt am Main is the body respon­sible for the We Care standard and label. The FiBL is an inde­pendent non-profit orga­ni­sation that is active around the globe. The standard is moni­tored and deve­loped by a steering com­mittee that ope­rates under the auspices of the FiBL. The com­mittee is made up of inde­pendent members from sci­en­tific, research and civil society orga­ni­sa­tions as well as members appointed from cer­tified com­panies. The sci­en­tific insti­tu­tions and civil society orga­ni­sa­tions always provide for the Chair and form a majority in the steering com­mittee. This ensures that the com­mittee remains inde­pendent, whilst being able to draw on the prac­tical expe­rience of other members who work within the food sector.

What is a supply chain (in the food industry)?

We Care defines a supply chain as the network of partner com­panies which are involved in food pro­duction and pro­cessing from the cul­ti­vation stage through to the end product. It encom­passes all sup­pliers and their sup­pliers that are involved in the cul­ti­vation, pro­cessing, manu­fac­turing and mar­keting of a food product.

How do people living in the Global South benefit from We Care?

Many people living in the Global South are sub­jected to poor working con­di­tions and are not fairly paid. Envi­ron­mental damage is also common in these regions, par­ti­cu­larly in food pro­ducing areas where natural resources are not used respon­sibly. This can signi­fi­cantly diminish the pro­s­pects of people living in these regions. The rigorous stan­dards that need to be met to become We Carecer­tified can signi­fi­cantly improve the eco­nomic, social and envi­ron­mental con­di­tions for people living in the Global South. A We Care-cer­tified company estab­lishes rules for its day-to-day pro­cesses and takes imme­diate action if CSR, envi­ron­mental or animal welfare stan­dards are inf­ringed in any of its supply chains. It is also com­mitted to deve­loping close and long-standing part­ner­ships with its sup­pliers and is able to provide evi­dence of this.

The pro­cu­rement depart­ments of We Care com­panies also play a cri­tical role. Among other things, they must ensure that fair prices are paid for raw mate­rials. To be able to work with a We Care-cer­tified company, all sup­pliers must prove that they are com­plying with the envi­ron­mental, CSR and con­tractual cri­teria that have been agreed. Com­panies that hold the We Care label must prove to the auditors that their pro­cesses and pro­ce­dures conform with the 164 cri­teria and that they are able to provide com­plete, trans­parent and traceable records of all their dealings with their business partners.

What exactly does We Care certify?

The We Care label is a sus­taina­bility standard which verifies that food com­panies are adopting a sys­te­matic, tar­geted and com­pre­hensive approach to sus­taina­bility and cor­porate social respon­si­bility across all of their supply chains. The audit checks whether the company has defined its own goals, pro­cesses and mea­sures for spe­cified areas of action. It also examines whether employee tasks and respon­si­bi­lities as well as docu­men­tation requi­re­ments have been ade­quately defined. The com­pre­hensive audit involves on-the-spot checks which verify whether the requi­re­ments have been imple­mented as part of day-to-day ope­ra­tions.