The Critical Path to Verification
UEBT’s verification system is built on verifying the effectiveness of a management system and continuous improvement for prospective Trading Members, in five major steps called the Critical Path.
Steps I to III are more detailed within the application process. For more information, please refer to the Membership Section.
In the first step, an organisation may conduct a self-evaluation to see if it meets the UEBT’s Minimum requirements and, where necessary, make adjustments to comply with them. At this stage, organisations also submit their membership application either as a signed hardcopy or a signed electronic version. By doing so, they are formally committing to the conditions of UEBT, including the process leading to Ethical BioTrade verification. The Membership Committee shall then review the application. If this evaluation is positive, then the organisation will be granted the status of Approved Candidate.
Within 6 months, the Approved Candidate will hire an independent Verification Body qualified by UEBT to verify the fulfillment of the Minimum Indicators, and create a baseline analysing the gaps between the prospective Trading Members’ activities and the UEBT Standard.
Seven (7) days after the audit, the qualified Verification Body submits the attestation of conformity with the Minimum Indicators to the UEBT Secretariat. Upon reception and validation of this conformity, the status of Provisional Member is granted.
Within the objective of continuous improvement, the Provisional Member will develop its own work-plan describing the sequence of measures and the timeframe by which it will fill the identified gaps.
Within 4 months after the audit, this work-plan and the audit report will then be sent to UEBT for evaluation and, if accepted, Provisional Member status will be upgraded to membership.
After the membership application process, there are 2 more steps:
The fourth step is the implementation of the work-plan. The maximum timeframe given for implementation is five years, although Trading Members are encouraged to move ahead faster. Once a year, the Trading Member will evaluate and report its progress to ensure it is in line with the previously defined work-plan. The results of these audits will need to be reported to UEBT. Major non-compliance with the work-plan will normally disqualify the organisation from membership.
On the 3rd year after membership status has been granted, a qualified Verification Body will assess progress and verify that previous reports were accurate. This allows for refining the work-plan and minimizing the risk of final non-compliance. If this audit identifies voluntarily misleading self-reports, the Trading Member will be expelled from UEBT.
In the 6th year, the final verification of the Critical Path will be conducted by a UEBT qualified Verification Body. The Trading Member should be in compliance with the Ethical BioTrade Standard. This audit aims amongst others, to verify the implementation of an effective management system that allows for full compliance with the UEBT Standard for native species along the supply chain.
Once in compliance, UEBT membership will be conditional upon continuous compliance with the UEBT Standard. A third-party audit should verify this every 3 years, while the organisation will report annually in the intervening years.
Trading Members will also be expected to show continuous improvement, which they will be able to measure using a set of impact indicators.