Archive: Endorsement Procedure of IOBC


  1. Steps of the Endorsement Procedure
  2. List of Organisations endorsed by IOBC in 2009
  3. Information Package for Endorsement Applications
  4. Required documents for the endorsement application
  5. Contract between IP-Organisations and individual Members

Regional organizations practicing sustainable agricultural production systems, certifying products of their members and seeking international recognition of the quality of their work can apply for IOBC endorsement. The basic IOBC document on Integrated Production: Principles and Technical Guidelines (3rd edition 2004,) provides an overview of the concepts of integrated production and the standards required by IOBC for endorsement. Before explaining the different steps to get an endorsement we first give some answers to frequently asked questions.

Does IOBC endorse and certify individual farms?
IOBC does not endorse nor certify individual farmers practicing IP, but their organizations. Exceptions are made for individual

Which organisations can apply for IOBC Endorsement?
IP-organizations operating IP-programs according to IOBC principles and standards for Integrated Production with farmers as members, certifying the products of the members with their own label, operating an adequate inspection system and showing a successful operational history of at least 2 years in farm sectors covered by IOBC guidelines and endorsement can submit their application for IOBC Endorsement. Before submitting an application it is highly recommended to carry out a self-evaluation by means of the document "Admission Criteria for Organizations seeking IOBC Endorsement" and to request the most recent Information Package from the secretariat.

How do I check if my organization complies with the IOBC standards and guidelines?
Organizations interested in evaluating their documents with respect to conformity with IOBC standards can use the internal evaluation schemes used by the Commission in the endorsement process. They are available as PDF for all interested parties.  
We recommend to start with the "Admission Criteria for Organizations seeking IOBC Endorsement" applicable to all crops and then to select the evaluation scheme for the respective crop specific guideline III. Whereas in the Admission Criteria list all questions must be answered with yes, the following rules apply in the crop specific schemes: no unacceptable points, chapters with negative score must be improved; chapters with positive but low points indicate that the respective chapter is weak and should be improved in due course,

If the analysis of the documents indicates good conformity, and if the organization considers an application for IOBC endorsement it should not submit the application to the secretariat of the Commission without prior contact and not before having received the official application forms.

What is the benefit of an IOBC Endorsement?
IOBC endorsed organizations receive the right to use the IOBC Endorsement in their PR activities and to add a defined term to their trade mark, label, logo etc. indicating "Integrated Production endorsed by IOBC". The Endorsement is annually renewed. The "List of IOBC endorsed Organizations" can be found at the end of this section. IOBC - endorsed label-organizations produce at highest quality standards.

Can a national guideline be endorsed by IOBC-WPRS?
No, if only the guideline is submitted. IOBC does not issue Declarations of Conformity for guidelines only. Endorsement can be considered, if the governmental or regional body has a full operational system, including an independent inspection system.

Can an organization outside the geographic region of IOBC-WPRS be endorsed?

Steps of the Endorsement Procedure

Go to the top

1. Steps of the Endorsement Procedure

Of the following steps, 1-3 are considered the orientation phase, as from step 4 on the organization that seeks endorsement signs a contract with the commission for the further intake and evaluation and improvement procedure (step 4 and 5) eventually resulting in an endorsement that requires a yearly update (step 6)

(1) Assessment of Conformity with IOBC standards
Interested  organization are invited to study the "Admission Criteria for Organizations seeking IOBC Endorsement“ It is a useful instrument to assess the conformity of the organization’s structure, objectives and programs. If all questions in the can be answered with yes we recommend to contact the secretariat and request the Commission’s technical "Information package on endorsement procedures". The document serves as first and general evaluation scheme of the Commission to decide whether an application can be accepted, can be accepted with certain minor improvements or has to be rejected.

(2) Document Preparation
It is most convenient to organise the required documents in two physically separated sets of documents.

(3) Application
Upon receipt of the application the Commission’s secretariat will make a check of completeness of the submitted documents and carry out a first general evaluation of conformity of the submitted documents with general IOBC standards (Concepts, Technical Guidelines I and II).
Based on these results achieved mainly by means of this evaluation scheme the secretariat will propose to the Commission acceptance, acceptance with minor improvements or rejection of the application. Following this decision the Commission will sign a contract with the applying organization and open the endorsement procedure. The contract regulates the intake procedure.

(4) Evaluation of the IP schemes proposed
The submitted documents will then be analyzed in depth by 1 Commission member and 2 independent IOBC experts using the crop specific evaluation scheme (included in the Information Package). The results of this evaluation will be discussed with the organization during the inspection on site of the organization’s headquarters and randomly selected member farms whereby a list of requested and/or recommended improvements, when necessary, will be established.

(5) Endorsement
The Endorsement Certificate is given when the requested improvements have been made and documented. All applications and submitted documents will be subjected to a mutual consent of confidentiality until the final endorsement documents can be signed. The respective decisions are usually taken by the Commission by end March of each year and the IOBC list of endorsed organizations is up-dated and published on internet during the first week of April.

(6) Annual update and required documents
After endorsement the organizations must ask for an annual renewal of the endorsement during a period of 3 years. At the end of this first 3-year-period the organizations will be re-inspected and evaluated with respect to their ability and motivation to improve the weaker points in their IP-program and organizational structure. The positive result of this re-evaluation will reflect the determination of an endorsed organization to enter or maintain a dynamic process to foster the motivation of its members and to improve the program by adapting new scientific and conceptual developments. Having passed successfully this re-inspection the endorsement will continue. The organizations have to submit annually certain documents and information in fulfillment of the annual renewal and will be re-inspected on site every 5 years.

Go to the top

2. List of Organisations endorsed by IOBC in 2009

The following organisations have passed successfully the IOBC evaluation process and have been endorsed by IOBC:

Organisation and

e-mail, fax, Internet Label
Year of IOBC Endorsement Endorsed production
c/Segre 1
E-25173 Sudanell-Lleida, 
Fax: (++34) - 973 -258 148
Pome fruits
Association TYFLO
2, rue de Rothau
F-67120 Obernai,
Fax: (++33) - 388 95 51 56 
TYFLO 1998 - 2006
Grapes & wine
LIVE, Low Input Viticulture & Enology, Inc.
P.O.Box 5185
Salem, Oregon 97304, USA
Fax: (001) – 503 – 935 – 4333
LIVE 1998 - 2006
Grapes & wine

Go to the top

3. Information Package for Endorsement Applications

After having carried out successfully a self-evaluation by means of the document "Admission Criteria for Organizations seeking IOBC Endorsement",  IP-organizations can request the most recent technical documents. This "Information Package for Endorsement Applications (EURO 95.-) contains:

The costs of this information package can be deducted later from the endorsement fee if an application is submitted. The content of the information package is available in English only.

Go to the top

4. Required documents for the endorsement application

(a) The basic documentation
This folder contains usually an administrative and a technical part. In many cases the first page of this basic document is devoted to a general presentation of the organization’s philosophy and objectives with respect to Integrated Production and mentions the normative documents considered such as national guidelines, governmental regulations, and basic IOBC documents (e.g. Integrated Production: Principles and Technical Guidelines, 3d edition 2004; crop specific guidelines III of the crop(s) concerned).

(b) Annual documents
This set of documents serves as practical working tool for the grower and provides the key documents for the inspection system. The quality of these documents is an important yardstick for the overall quality of the entire IP-program and ultimately of the commercial label. These documents have to be updated each year (they show visibly the specific date of validity) and consist basically of the checklist, the inspection protocol and the green and yellow pesticide lists. Both items are further described here:

The check-list (= inspection protocol)
Suggestions for the structure of check-lists can be found in Appendix 1 of the basic IOBC document "Integrated Production: Principles and Technical Guidelines", 3rd edition 2004 or, in greater detail, in the IOBC document "Integrated Production in Europe: 20 years after the declaration of Ovronaz" 1998 (Chapter 3.1 Guideline structures).
The list can be established by tabulating the individual mandatory rules/prohibitions and recommendations of the individual chapters of the technical document. The individual aspects or problems listed should be numbered and worded as clear and concise as possible in order to facilitate the decision of the grower and the evaluation of the advisers and inspectors. Elaborate check-lists can therefore contain up-to 40 or more individual positions.
To the right side of the list of aspects/problems are positioned and clearly separated the 2 categories of strict rules/prohibitions and recommendations. Whereas simpler check-lists of more static nature just list recommendations as possible options, more dynamic check-lists give recommended options with different ecological (or social, economic) weight in order to indicate the impact of the decision taken by the grower and to emphasize the desirable direction of the developments on the farm. This most flexible approach stimulates experimentation and has been adopted by various organizations as "bonus-malus-system". An example of such a bonus-malus checklist developed for viticulture in Switzerland has been published in the IOBC document "Integrated Production in Europe: 20 years after the declaration of Ovronnaz" 1998).
Well designed check-lists provide also valuable information for internal assessments of the organization with respect to the performance of their individual members and to the overall evolution of the IP-program ("radar").

The green and yellow pesticide lists.
These lists, in fact the integrated crop protection strategy, define for the farmers the approach towards crop protection and give him the necessary information. The proper selection of the active ingredients and commercial products for the green and yellow list and the compilation of the necessary information (e.g. restrictions of use in the yellow lists, tabulation of product characteristics such as persistence, leaching and evaporation potential, toxicological and eco-tox profiles) requires the help of crop protection specialists usually located at governmental agencies, universities and extension services.
Although important information can be obtained on Internet, found in relevant reference books or in compilations of public or private companies, we do not ignore a certain lack of synoptic publications easily accessible to IP-organizations. IOBC is in the process of preparing better technical documents to facilitate this job but cannot and does not intend to replace the local expertise necessary to cope with the specific situation in the individual countries. Certain new and highly interesting products might be authorized in one country but not be available in others.
There is a tendency to establish lists that are too long or that contain suboptimal products in order to cover all possible eventualities and not to impose too many restrictions on the growers. Whereas a certain amount of different active ingredients and modes of action is desirable to operate a sensitive resistance management the organization has to decide to what degree its pesticide range used in the IP-program should deviate significantly from mere good agricultural practice. The discussion of the content of the pesticide list remains one of the important items during the evaluation and eventual endorsement of submitted documents.

Go to the top

5. Contract between IP-Organisations and individual Members

Each organization endorsed by IOBC has developed its own contract to satisfy specific needs. Some contracts show farm statistics of various nature (e.g. surfaces of each crop), specific administrative details (e.g. annual renewal of the contract or validly period of contract with obligation to report specified changes in the farm characteristics), conformity requirements with national or international regulations etc. However, each contract of an organization endorsed by IOBC must contain all items listed in point 18 of the "Admission Criteria for Organisations seeking IOBC Endorsement".

Go to the top