The verification tool for the assessment of sustainability management systems

The IFS ESG Check is a validated self-assessment on the basis of which companies build up a sound sustainability management system in the first step and have it verified in the second step. The IFS ESG Audit can be combined with another IFS Audit.

Guidance for establishing and maintaining a sustainability management system

Comply with retailers' sustainability requirements

Increased trust among business partners and customers

External confirmation by an internationally recognized verifier


Guidance for establishing and maintaining a sustainability management system

The demands placed on companies with regard to sustainability are continuously increasing. Customers and stakeholders expect more transparency regarding ESG (environmental, social, and governance) issues, and policymakers are also adopting due diligence and reporting requirements at a rapid pace. Understanding the various regulations and implementing the measures systematically and efficiently can pose major challenges, especially for small and medium-sized companies. With the IFS ESG Check, companies can determine the status quo and evaluate any need to catch up. This provides them with an effective tool to establish a successful sustainability management system. The results of the IFS ESG Check are verified by an independent third party such as DQS.


For whom is the IFS ESG Check suitable?

The IFS ESG Check is tailored to small and medium-sized companies that want to integrate ESG principles into their business strategy and continuously improve their sustainability management system. The IFS ESG Check can be applied to companies that are already IFS certified or used as a stand-alone standard for companies that are not IFS certified.

In particular, companies that are already IFS certified will benefit from implementing the ESG Check, as verification can be performed directly after an IFS audit (e.g. IFS Food, PACsecure or HPC), if desired. Regardless of the option chosen, the verification can take place on-site or remotely.


How does the IFS ESG Check work?

The IFS ESG Check is based on a flexible modular approach. It can be combined with different modules or implemented on its own. Companies can choose between different voluntary modules to focus on individual supply chain risks (e.g. risks related to greenhouse gas emissions, food waste, water scarcity, risks related to human rights, etc.) The module on carbon footprint is currently the only add-on module. Modules on other topics will follow soon.

The ESG Check is always the starting point for companies, regardless of the modules chosen. It contains eleven requirements and a list of mandatory questions that the company must complete before carrying out the check (the so-called self-assessment). The information the company provides in this self-assessment is verified at least annually by an independent third party. The verification ensures that the ESG Check represents the actual progress made by the company.

The result of the IFS ESG Check does not affect the result of any other IFS certificates held by the company.


This is how the IFS ESG Check works

The company has to fill in a self-assessment and in this context has to deal intensively with many aspects of sustainability and their implementation in the company.

The completed list must be sent to the auditor at least fourteen days before the verification audit. Please note: The more thoroughly the list is completed, the faster the verification can be performed.

If the company has chosen the additional carbon footprint module, the calculation of the carbon footprint must take place before the verification audit.

Once your company is ready, an audit date will be set with you and approved auditors with the required competence and experience in your industry will be selected. During the verification audit, our auditors will review the documentation and data presented in the self-assessment. Interviews with selected personnel are also conducted. Excluding additional modules, the audit is scheduled to last two to four hours. In a final meeting, your auditor will provide you with a detailed presentation of the results. The audit can be conducted on-site or remotely.

The result of the verification audit is measured in points. The total number of points results in a final score, ranging from A to E, reflecting a final result: from beginner to intermediate to advanced. This system promotes the continuous improvement process and gives the company the opportunity to improve its results year after year.

The results in the different modules of the IFS ESG Check are independent of each other. The results of the IFS ESG Check have no influence on other IFS certificates.

The verification audit and its results are evaluated by the independent certification board of DQS, which decides on the issuance of the confirmation letter. The results of the IFS ESG Check are documented in a report and an improvement action plan is issued. The action plan must be implemented within a maximum of 4 weeks after receipt and sent to the auditor. The implementation of the measures will be checked during the next ESG check. Customers also receive a confirmation letter with a validity period of one year.

After one year, the validation of the confirmation letter expires and a re-audit must take place.


How much does the external verification of the IFS ESG check cost?

The cost of an IFS ESG Check verification depends, among other things, on the size of your company, the selection of additional modules, and the complexity of your processes. Without additional modules, the audit will take between two and four hours. We will be happy to make you an individual offer for your company without obligation.


Why should companies have DQS verify the IFS ESG Check?

- All IFS audits from one source.- High industry experience and knowledge of the auditors.- Personal and competent contact persons.- High level of solution and customer orientation.


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