In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, GLOBALG.A.P. has implemented a new remote auditing procedure. The new procedure allows certification bodies and producers to continue working together safely. As of 31 December 2020, there are about 3,800 certified producers and 1,000 certificate holders across 77 different countries certified by 63 different certification bodies. The sheer scale shows how essential the implementation of a remote procedure was for ensuring that producers could still meet the certification requirements of their customers.
Keeping producers in business
Zlatan Zlatanov, general manager of the Bulgarian producer group FRUKTALINA OOD, said, “the opportunity for a remote inspection was crucial for our business success, as we were able to complete our due surveillance inspections and also include a GRASP assessment, which was a mandatory request from our customer. Without this option, we risked not being able to comply with our client’s expectations – something we could not accept.”
Ensuring full accountability
The GLOBALG.A.P. Remote procedure builds on the current rules for the standards and add-ons. It was first launched on 15 May 2020, and its documents are available for download in English, Italian, Spanish, German, Portuguese, and French. All inspections, audits, and assessments pertaining to initial certification, re-certification, certificate scope extension or transfer, etc. can now be performed remotely. Initial certifications based solely on GLOBALG.A.P. Remote still require an on-site follow-up inspection/audit in order to be fully accredited.
Excellent feedback from users
According to a survey among 47 certification bodies, lack of GFSI recognition is an issue; nevertheless, a full 100% of certification bodies using GLOBALG.A.P. Remote considered it helpful. Producers also benefit from lower fees thanks to savings in travel cost, although depending on producer preparation, the remote audits themselves can take 20–40% more time than traditional on-site procedures. All in all, the new procedure has helped many producers continue trading their products while protecting the health and safety of producers and auditors.