Private voluntary standards and certifications: the importance of a comprehensive Internal Management System
Certifications are becoming a pre-requisite to access European markets. In order to be eligible for most certification schemes, companies will need to have a specific Internal Management System (IMS), which sets a standard quality of operations and working procedures. As companies often aim at acquiring multiple certifications, adopting an IMS for each can become a real headache…
The International Trade Centre under MARKUP has developed an IMS model that complies with most certification schemes, as it draws on the management requirements across different voluntary standards. Since 2019, ITC has been training and coaching SMEs in the coffee sector across the East African Community (EAC) on ways to adopt an IMS and to facilitate their application to private voluntary standards.
In February 2021, 16 Ugandan SMEs and cooperatives received training about the components of an IMS, as well as on the key voluntary sustainability standards related to business growth and market access. Key topics of discussion included the rationale for a centralised IMS and the importance of essential and complete documentation. Participants also visited two enterprises in Central Uganda, respectively in Nsangi, Wakiso District and Njeru, Buikwe District to witness how different IMS work and compare processes in a company that is certified and one that is not.
Participants appreciated the experience of the field visits, stating that they were useful and appropriate. In the next few months, a group of selected companies will receive individual coachingon the design and adoption of an IMS system.