The EMA Standard shall consist of threshold criteria and indicators suitable for the African continent. The standard will be designed in such a way that existing standard systems may be bench marked against it and accredited certifiers may use it to certify companies against it. In both cases operations that fulfill the requirements of the EMA standard may use the EMA eco-label.

In order to address the challenge of including the large number of African smallholders into this eco-labelling system, the EMA will furthermore develop incentives and supporting tools to prepare small producers and service providers for the certification process.

The EMA standard will be developed for the agriculture, fisheries, forestry and tourism sectors. At a later stage, the scope of the EMA shall be expanded to additional sectors.

Although the EMA Standard will contain threshold criteria, it will not limit producers' aspirations regarding their sustainability performance. On the contrary, the EMA is committed to empower them to leverage their full environmental, social and economic potential and therefore encourages practices which go beyond the requirements set out by the EMA Standard. Furthermore, through its benchmarking and recognition process, the EMA shall support already certified producers and minimize certification expenditure.

The EMA standard will consist of performance requirements complemented by environmental management system requirements which serve as additional tools for management units to mitigate supply chain risks. The EMA Standard shall reflect the alignment of the three dimensions of sustainability to specifically address the challenges which climate change poses to the African people. Credible claims regarding adaptation or mitigation effects of production methods require life cycle thinking. However, the EMA is committed to account for specific local challenges such as poor record-keeping, weak organisational structures and insufficient verification capacities. Consequently, the EMA should thoroughly assess the risks along the value chains of different products and sectors and configure the EMA Standard so as to tackle product- or sector-specific hotspots which have a high impact on the sustainability performance.

With its certifiable standard...

  • EMA will provide one continent-wide and cross-sectoral label to mark sustainably produced African products.

  • EMA will encourage African producers to access the markets with sustainably produced goods and services.

  • EMA will support in particular Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) to get certified and gain access to niche markets.

Through its recognition system...

  • EMA will encourage standards systems to apply tools of climate change adaptation and mitigation, which often have not yet been used adequately

  • EMA will facilitate regional and sectoral up-scaling activities of existing standards systems in Africa.

  • EMA will foster the cooperation of different voluntary sustainability standards by creating synergies through reduced marketing expenditure and certification costs.

The use of one common African label awarded on the basis of clear threshold criteria will�

  • combine high credibility with the value of African brand recognition,

  • improve the image of sustainable African products and thereby foster their trading and marketing opportunities, and

  • enhance transparency for the consumer while at the same time maintaining the benefits of competition among standards systems.