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Balancing and integrating basic values in the development of organic regulations and standards: proposal for a procedure using case studies of conflicting areas

Padel, Susanne; Röcklinsberg, Helena; Verhoog, Henk; Fjelsted Alrøe, Hugo; de Wit, Jan; Kjeldsen, Chris and Schmid, Otto (2007) Balancing and integrating basic values in the development of organic regulations and standards: proposal for a procedure using case studies of conflicting areas. EEC 2092/91 (0rganic Revision Project Report), no. D 2.3. Danish Research Centre for Organic Food and Farming (DARCOF), Tjele, and University of Wales, Aberystwyth (UWA), Aberystwyth.

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Summary

The basic aim of the report is to develop a procedure for the integration of the ethical value base of organic farming into standards and regulations. For this it is necessary to identify the core ethical value of organic production, consider their coherence and relate them to existing practice of organic food and farming. Ethical values are per se in need of interpretation. It is therefore also necessary to consider the process of decision-making, when aiming to achieve a coherent integration of such values in the structure of a standard or regulation.
In line with the European Action Plan for organic food and farming from 2004 the Project EEC 2092/91 (Organic) Revision supports the idea that delegating a larger role to values and basic principles will help to harmonise the rules, provide room for flexibility in implementation and to simplify the European Regulation for organic production.
It is important to include basic values in standards and regulations, because organic farming is value based and all actors/stakeholders have value expectations, including consumers who the regulation wants to protect. Standards and regulations form the basis of a virtual contract between the consumer and the producers. By following the practices set out in the standards, producers give a promise to the consumer to deliver on additional ethical values, beyond the legal minimum standards for conventional agriculture and food.
The growing and globalised organic market and the involvement of large companies have resulted in renewed interest in the values and principles of organic farming. There has been concern that the organic food and farming sector is becoming more conventionalised, and has lost touch with its basic values. Thus it will no longer function effectively as a real alternative to general agriculture for consumers, producers and also for policy makers.
The report analyses what core ethical value are associated with organic agriculture and should therefore be considered for inclusion in a regulation. This value base is contrasted with the existing Regulation (EEC) 2092/91 and with examples of current practice of organic agriculture in Europe. The implications of including ethical values in the structure of a regulation for decisionmaking are considered. Following on from the European Action Plan a process of total revision of the EU regulation on organic production is underway. A new European Regulation for organic production was adopted by the European Council of Ministers in June 2006 and will come into force in Jan 2009. The text of the near final proposal from December 2006 has been considered
in several sections of the report. The report finishes with some conclusions and recommendations for the EU Commission and other standard setting bodies regarding the choice and roles of values in organic standard, the rules for decision-making processes in relation to integrating values, and regarding the ongoing revision of the organic regulation in Europe.


EPrint Type:Report
Subjects: Values, standards and certification > Regulation
Values, standards and certification
Research affiliation: European Union > Organic Revision
UK > Univ. Aberystwyth > Institute for Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS)
Denmark > ICROFS - International Centre for Research in Organic Food Systems
Related Links:http://ww.organic-revision.org
Deposited By: Padel, Dr Susanne
ID Code:10940
Deposited On:04 Jul 2007
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:35
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Not peer-reviewed

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