The herder or processor conduct a self-assessment against the applicable criteria of the SFA standard. This will identify the current level of compliance, identify areas for improvement and determine if they are ready to undergo a third-party audit.
Review of Self-Assessment
The self-assessment documents are reviewed by a second-party such as the SFA, an SFA standards committee, or another party authorised by the SFA to conduct these reviews.
Review and Re-Certification
SFA standard certificates are valid for one year. Before the certification period comes to an end, the user should review their self-assessment to ensure continued compliance against the standard and undergo another third-party audit. Where applicable, CABs will make effort to speak to different people, visit different sites and review different records to the initial audit.
Undergo Third-Party Audit
Standard users are visited by an independent third-party auditor from one of the SFA’s approved Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs). The CAB will conduct on-site verification of compliance against the applicable standard criteria. The CAB will issue a report upon completion of the audit and, if successful, the CAB will issue certification.
CONFORMITY ASSESSMENT BODIES (CABs)
In order to maintain an credible assurance process, the SFA approves a select number of independent Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) to conduct third-party audits for our standard users.
Standard users must register with the SFA before they register with an SFA-approved CAB. CABs that are interested in conducting audits against SFA standards must undergo an approval procedure and sign a contractually-binding CAB Agreement. You can view our full assurance process and CAB approval procedure in the SFA Assurance Manual on the Resources page.
In order to ensure the credibility of our assurance process, we identify and manage the risk level for relationships between supply chain actors and stakeholders that may result in a conflict of interest or pose a threat to impartiality.
The SFA Standard System can be used by other groups, delivery partners and programmes to promote best practice in land management, animal welfare, fibre processing and supply chain transparency.
The SFA helps producers and processors comply with the requirements of our standards through training and capacity building.
Our assurance system was developed with reference to the ISEAL Assurance Code, which defines globally-recognised best practice for effective and credible sustainability systems. The SFA is an ISEAL Community Member and is working towards full code compliance.
The SFA Standard System was developed through comprehensive and transparent consultation with a broad range of stakeholders, which was overseen by a Standard System Improvement Committee. Keep an eye out for future consultations!