Core Ethical Commitments
Environment and Resources
- Production, distribution, and waste management methods minimize greenhouse gas emissions, sequester carbon, and/or offset climate impacts.
Conservation & Regeneration
- Practices are in place to conserve natural resources.
- Practices are in place to improve soil quality and management.
Water, Water Footprint and Stress
- Practices are in place to manage and conserve water and to prevent water pollution, especially under conditions of water stress and scarcity.
- Practices are in place to avoid contributing to air pollution through food production, processing, and distribution activities.
Environmental Degradation and Agricultural Inputs
- Use of inputs, such as fertilizers and pesticides, is appropriate and judicious.
- Practices are in place to ensure optimal nutrient cycling within the agrifood system and to prevent waste from polluting or leaching into surrounding ecosystems.
- Practices are in place to enhance biodiversity of species and genetics, both wild and cultivated.
Food Chain Labor
Legal Status, Human Rights & Protections
- Conditions of work honor the inherent dignity and equal, inalienable rights of all people, consonant with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
- Workers are afforded legal status in the jurisdictions where they live and work adequate for the exercise of fundamental rights and access to justice. Where this is not practicable, protections that support human liberty, security, access to justice, and realization of fundamental human rights are provided, including provisions for communication about these protections in the worker’s native language.
- Workers have the right to organize and the ability to assert their interests individually or collectively to influence the conditions under which they work without being subjected to retaliation.
- Forced labor, including enslaved and involuntarily trafficked individuals of all ages, is never employed, and robust systems are in place to screen for and protect against its use.
- Child labor is not employed, and robust systems are in place to screen for and protect against its use.
- Workers are protected against marginalization, harassment, assault, violations of bodily integrity and traumatization, and from the increased incidence of crime and victimization that flows from such conditions.
- Workers have safe working conditions. These conditions include regular access to sufficient food, water, and facilities for hygienic needs; open, accessible channels for communication and reporting; attention to occupational health and safety; and protection against exposure to chemicals, pathogens, and the elements.
Compensation & Benefits
- Workers are ensured just compensation and benefits, regardless of nationality, race, color, gender, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity.
Standards of Living & Well-being
- Work duties and conditions of employment, as well as the production and processing of food do not compromise the well-being of workers and their families. Employment and work practices provide opportunities for housing, education and community.
- Workers have access to health care that is equivalent to comparable labor in other industries and in adjacent communities, and that is commensurate with occupational hazards.
Farmers, Ranchers, and Fishers
- The long-term economic viability of farming, ranching and fishing enterprises is not unfairly threatened by vertically related players in the food system with significantly greater power.
- Contractual relations between farmers, ranchers, and fishers and integrators are fundamentally fair, involve equitable sharing of risk, and support the preservation of agricultural land, water, and seedstocks.
- Owner-operators are not compelled or required by downstream players in the food system to use unethical business, land management, production, labor, and husbandry practices.
- To prevent upstream players from having to choose between ethical conduct and long-term economic viability, downstream players in the food system favor more ethical products or producers.
Land Access & Tenure
- Independent, smallholder, peasant, and qualified beginning producers have fair and adequate access to land and land tenure.
Public Health & Community Well-being
Health Risks from Consumption
- Foods do not pose unacceptable risks to public health, given population-level dietary patterns and individual health needs.
- Practices are in place to ensure acceptable risk levels for chemical and microbiological food contamination. Adequate hygienic conditions are ensured through each step of the value chain.
- Food packaging enhances food safety and does not pose unacceptable risks to public health.
Food Fraud & Economic Adulteration
- Food is not adulterated for economic reasons, and traceability of ingredients is sufficient to guard against adulteration.
Product Information and Marketing
- Labels are truthful, informative, transparent, easy to understand and not misleading.
- Food marketing provides consumers with information about the food product, storage conditions, and shelf life in ways that increase the likelihood that consumers can have an accurate understanding of the food, including its ingredients, nutritional properties, health and environmental impact, and production, labor, and animal welfare practices.
- Inappropriate marketing practices, especially those targeting children or containing misleading messaging, are absent.
Animal Production and Waste Management
- To minimize the risk of novel pathogens (including antibiotic-resistant bacteria) to public health, antibiotics and antimicrobials are only used to treat disease at therapeutic levels for the time necessary to treat the animal, with few exceptions. Antibiotics are not routinely used at subtherapeutic levels.
- Practices are in place to minimize the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria and other pathogens, on and off farm.
- Waste products from animal production are handled in ways that minimize the likelihood that the health and well-being of adjacent communities will be affected.
Excess Food, Waste and Disposal
- Excess food is directed and used in ways that conserve embedded resources, always cycling nutrients, water, and energy back into the food system.
- Practices are in place to minimize negative health effects for animals (domesticated and wild) and humans that might occur as a result of crop and animal production (including the use of agricultural inputs) and distribution (including concentrated pollution around distribution hubs).
Access to Nutritionally and Culturally Important Foods
- The product is produced, distributed, marketed and sold in ways that do not threaten access to and the continued availability of nutritionally and culturally important foods.
- Corporate practices are designed to improve public health and the well-being of workers, producers, and communities.
Biological and Psychological Nature
- Animals are free to express behaviors that are normal and typical for their species and sufficient to reduce stress and enable coping.
- Breeding and genetics do not adversely affect the animal’s well-being and, where possible, improve it.
- Living environments are respectful of the animal’s health and well-being.
- Feed is appropriate in quantity and type.
Pain and Distress
- Pain and distress are avoided. Where possible, animals are free of discomfort.
- Surgical procedures are designed to minimize pain and to support animal welfare.
- The conditions and practices of animal transfers are designed to minimize pain and fear. Transport and transition conditions are humane and conducive to coping.
- Animal injury and disease are minimized. If injury or disease occurs, prompt, effective, humane and judicious treatment is administered.
- The conditions and practices of slaughter function to minimize pain and distress.
- Workers interact with and handle animals in ways that minimize pain and fear and support coping.