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Economic analysis of certification systems for organic food and farming


CERTCOST is a European research project on certification of organic food.

With the ongoing growth of the organic sector and the spread of organic production across the EU, the field of organic certification has become a maze of competing labels and logos, involving different private and public standards - in addition to European law. This diversity reflects the specific conditions for organic operators in countries or regions but can also lead to confusion for both consumers and producers and may ultimately create a variety of costs.

Purpose of CERTCOST

The overall objective of the project is to provide recommendations to improve the organic food certification systems in Europe in terms of efficiency, transparency, and cost effectiveness. The reason for this is the need for a strenthened competiteveness of the European organic food sector by means of reducing incidence of non-compliance and thereby increase consumers' trust.
In other words, the project partners willl generate research based knowledge on how to improve the organic food certification system in terms of efficiency, transparency and cost effectiveness.


The CERTCOST project will conduct a necessary comprehensive economic analysis of the variety of existing certification systems and their impact on the internal market for organic goods. By combining the experience and knowledge of both researchers and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), the project seeks to fulfil the following objectives

  1. To provide baseline information on the organic certification systems.
  2. To analyze the implementation of organic certification systems and to assess all relevant expenditure and transaction costs.
  3. To investigate the main benefits of certification systems for consumers.
  4. To develop and apply economic models that improve risk-based certification systems and allow costs of certification systems to be related to the benefits gained.
  5. To develop recommendations from the research for different groups of stakeholders.
  6. To include stakeholders' views into the project work and to share the project results with them and the public.

Financial support to CERTCOST

This project is supported by the European Commission under the SEVENTH FRAMEWORK PROGRAMME, Collaborative project, Small or medium-scale focused research project.

Financing/ Donor


(Research) Program
  • European Union: 7th Research Framework Programme
Project partners
  • Universität Hohenheim (UHOH)
  • Universitá Politecnica delle Marche (UNIPM)
  • Universität Kassel (UKS)
  • Institut für Marktökologie (IMO)
  • Ege Üniversitesi (EGE)
  • Danish Research Centre for Organic Food and Farming, University of Aarhus (DARCOF-AU)
  • Ceská zemedelská univerzita Praha (CULS)
  • Istituto per la Certificazione Etica ed Ambientale (ICEA)
  • Aberystwyth University (UWA)
  • Progressive Farming Trust LTD T/A The Organic Research Centre (ORC)
FiBL project leader/ contact
FiBL project staff
Research area
FiBL project number 35020
Date modified 12.11.2019