IFOAM Standard


The IFOAM Standard is an internationally applicable organic standard that can be used directly for certification.

It offers a global platform for organic standard setters to discuss standards and create synergies for standard development and harmonization at the global level, thereby taking over the role that the IFOAM Basic Standard (IBS) had in the past in this regard. The IFOAM Standard also functions in the IFOAM Accreditation Program. IFOAM Accreditation Program clients may optionally demonstrate that the standard they are using complies with the IFOAM Standard in addition to satisfying the IFOAM Standards Requirements. 

The IFOAM Standard is part of the IFOAM Norms.


Use the IFOAM Standard to Certify!

Scheme owners and certification bodies can choose to use the IFOAM Standard to directly certify operators globally. The use of the IFOAM Standard for certification is subject to annual fees, according to the fee scheme and regulated under IFOAM Policy 41. See also the application form and the contract template.

For more information, please contact ogs@ifoam.bio.

History of the IFOAM Standard Development

Most recent development (March 2018):

The current version of the IFOAM Standard for Organic Production and Processing was approved by the General Assembly in 2014. Since then, a number of issues have come up which justify opening a new round of revision of the standard. IFOAM-Organics International published its draft Revision Plan for the IFOAM Standard, and invited all interested stakeholders to comment on the revision plan.

The Revision Plan is accessible here and was open for public comments until April 22, 2018. Comments received now will be considered the upcoming revision round (2018-2020).

The IFOAM Standard, version 0.1 was open for a first round of consultation in February-March 2011. You can download it here. The draft IFOAM Standard was developed based on the IBS Version 2005, but has undergone significant changes to turn what was a “standard for standards” into a “certification standard”. These changes are explained in the Introduction and Comment Questions for Members.This standard draft version 0.1 has been developed through the joint effort of the IFOAM staff, IFOAM Standard Committee, IOAS staff and other selected experts. The IFOAM Standard Committee reviewed all comments received and has published responses to these comments in August 2011.

Following this, the committee produced a second draft version (Version 0.2) which was approved by the World Board in early November 2011. This IFOAM Standard Version 0.2 was presented for motions to the IFOAM membership (deadline January 8, 2012). IFOAM members should read the Introduction from the Standard Committee to the membership before submitting motion on the  IFOAM Standard Version 0.2.

Version 0.2 of the IFOAM Standard was published in November 2011 and members were invited to submit motions on that version, prior to the final approval of the standard. IFOAM received a total of 15 motions. All those have been taken into account in the motion reconciliation process, through which motions could either:

  • Be withdrawn by the motion maker, or
  • Be accepted as friendly amendments and thereafter integrated into Version 0.3 of the IFOAM Standard, or
  • Be merged with other motions of related intention, and /or
  • Be put for membership vote.

The motion reconciliation process was led by the IFOAM Standard Committee and the ultimate outcomes are joint agreements between the IFOAM World Board and the motion makers. An overview of the motions submitted and the outcome of the motion reconciliation process is available here. This outcome is what constituted the difference between Version 0.2 and Version 0.3 of the IFOAM Standard. You can access Version 0.3 in a “track changes” format as compared to Version 0.2, as well as in a “cleaned” version.

All of the 15 motions could be resolved through the motion reconciliation process, except for one motion, which the World Board brought to the IFOAM membership for a vote. Members could vote “in favor” or “against” the motion. The motion gathered a total of 97% yes (3% blank votes) and was therefore integrated into the IFOAM Standard Version 1.0, which was the version submitted for a final approval vote (up or down) to the IFOAM membership.

The IFOAM World Board, based on recommendations from the IFOAM Standard Committee, has reviewed the motion and has developed its own position towards the motion which is being put for vote.  The motion put for vote, its rational and the position of the World Board are presented and explained in the Motion Vote Document which has been sent to the IFOAM membership on the 3rd of May 2012. The deadline for vote on the motions was the 19th of June 2012.

On June 22, IFOAM published the result of the motion vote and opened the final voting period on the approval of the IFOAM Standard: the motion on organic plant breeding methods was approved unanimously (3% blank votes, total of 14% participation) and was therefore integrated into the IFOAM Standard Version 1.0, which was the version submitted for a final approval vote (up or down) to the IFOAM membership. The vote was open until August 5, 2012. To access the vote document, click here.

The IFOAM Standard for Organic Production and Processing Version 1.0 was approved as a result of the membership vote. The IFOAM membership has approved with a 93 % of “yes”” (participation of 13%) to the motion “With this membership vote, the World Board proposes to approve the IFOAM Standard for Organic Production and Processing Version 1.0 as the new section in the IFOAM Norms for Organic Production and Processing, in replacement of the former IFOAM Basic Standards.” Following this approval, the new IFOAM Standard was integrated into the IFOAM Norms Version 2012, which was published on the 12th of August 2012.

After publication of the 2012 version, the IFOAM Standard Committee continued its work to further develop and improve the standard. The next version, Version 1.1, was open for consultation in April 2013. This new proposed version particularly addressed concerns expressed by the IFOAM members during the 2011 General Assembly, namely on protected cropping and on social justice. Aquaculture was not included in this round of revision, but the Standard Committee was working on the aquaculture section in parallel to the development of Version 2.0 with a view to bring it to the next round of revision. 

The April-May 2013 consultation document can be downloaded here.

The IFOAM Standard Version 1.1 with proposed changes in track changes can be downloaded here. The clean version can be downloaded here.

The consultation period ended on June,30 2013. Subsequently, the IFOAM Standard Committee worked to produce official responses to the comments submitted and to produce a revised draft, to be presented to the IFOAM members for motions in November-December 2013. This revised draft Version 1.2 was approved by the World Board in October 2013. It can be downloaded in track changes version here and in clean version here. Answers to the comments submitted during the 2013 consultation period can be found here.

On November 25, 2013, IFOAM published the call for motions to both the draft IFOAM Standard version 1.2 and the IFOAM draft Accreditation Criteria version 2.0. The deadline for the submission of motions was January 24, 2013. The call document can be found here. One motion (concerning minimum wages) was submitted. IFOAM members voted on the motion until May 21, 2014. Find the motion vote document here. The motion was accepted and integrated into the final version of the IFOAM Standard 2.0. 

On June 2, 2014, IFOAM launched the final vote on the IFOAM Standard version 2.0. The vote was combine with voting on the final IFOAM Accreditation Requirements version 2.0. Find the voting document here. The deadline for votes was July 15, 2014. The vote results were: 94% yes (approval), 1% No, and 5% abstention. Changes from the 2012 to the 2014 versions of the IFOAM Standard can be found in track changes here.

On June 19, 2017, a new edited version of the IFOAM Norms was published, the 2017 edited version of the IFOAM Norms 2014. There are no significant content changes to the IFOAM Standard, only edits regarding the IFOAM name or other such minor edits. In October 2019, a new edition was published. The main change was the addition of a preamble to the IFOAM Accreditation Requirements. The 2019 Edition is available here.