Enhancing Sustainability Management with ESG Criteria

In today’s evolving business landscape, integrating Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors into your corporate strategy is not just a choice but a necessity. Companies that want to demonstrate excellence in sustainability must align with ESG criteria, ensuring strong governance factors, and transparent ESG reporting. The aspects play a critical role in making informed investment decisions and fostering socially responsible investing (SRI).


An IFS ESG Check with DQS offers a validated self-assessment for companies to develop and fortify their sustainability management system. It is not just a checklist; it’s a compass for navigating the complexities of ESG issues and sustainability challenges. 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


Navigating a Sustainability Management System in the United States

As the demand for sustainability continues to grow, companies in the United States are facing increased pressures to conform. Both customers and stakeholders now expect greater transparency when it comes to ESG (environmental, social, and governance) criteria. Policy makers are also quickly introducing due diligence and reporting mandates. For smaller to medium-sized companies, navigating these regulations and adopting new measures can pose significant challenges. To address this, the IFS ESG Check offers a valuable solution, enabling companies to assess their current status and identify areas of improvement. This tool can serve as an effective means to establish a robust sustainability management system, aligning your organization with the evolving landscape of ESG considerations.


DQS acts as an independent third-party and can verify the results of your company’s ESG Check. Not only will this bolster the credibility of the assessment, but it will also provide valuable insights into ESG factors and governance issues that can have an influence on investment decisions. Staying up to date on sustainability accounting standard board guidelines and industry best practices is necessary for managing ESG issues effectively and improving your ESG score. Overall, adapting ESG criteria is not just a matter of compliance but a strategic part of shaping the future of your business in the United States.


Is the IFS ESG Check suitable for my company?

If you are a small or medium-sized company aiming to integrate ESG principles into your business strategy while continually enhancing your sustainability management system, the IFS ESG Check is the perfect choice for you. This versatile tool can be utilized by companies already holding IFS certifications, or it can serve as a standalone standard for those not yet certified.

For companies that have already achieved IFS certification, integrating the ESG Check into your strategy can offer significant advantages. Verification can be performed immediately after an IFS audit, such as IFS Food, PACsecure, or HPC, if desired. Whether you opt for the integrated or standalone approach, verification can be done either on-site or remotely.


How does the IFS ESG Check work?

The IFS ESG Check adopts a flexible modular approach, allowing you to customize it to your company’s needs.. You have the option to combine it with other voluntary modules or implement it independently. These other modules address specific supply chain risks, including but not limited to greenhouse gas emissions, food waste, water scarcity, and human rights concerns. Currently, the carbon footprint module is available for add-on, with additional module topics in the pipeline.

Regardless of the modules your company choses, the ESG Check is always the first step. It contains eleven requirements and a list of mandatory questions that your company must complete before conducting the check (self-assessment). The information you provide 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 your company.

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


How the IFS ESG Check works

To evaluate your company’s alignment with ESG criteria and governance factors, your organization is required to complete a comprehensive self-assessment and implement sustainable practices internally. Your company must fill in a self-assessment and carry out the implementation of sustainable practices within the organization.  

The completed list must be sent to the auditor at least fourteen days before the verification audit. The more detailed and thorough your checklist is, the faster and more efficient the verification process can be.

If your company opts for the additional carbon footprint module, the calculation of the carbon footprint must take place prior to the verification audit.

Once your company is ready, an audit date will be set with you and approved auditors with experience and expertise in your industry. 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 between two and four hours. In the 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 points earned results in a final score, graded from A to E, corresponding to beginner, intermediate, or advanced levels. This grading system encourages a continuous improvement process, allowing your company to enhance its performance year over year.

It's important to note that the results from different modules of the IFS ESG Check are independent of each other and have no influence on other IFS certificates.

The verification audit and its results are evaluated by the independent certification board of DQS Inc., which decides on the issuance of the confirmation letter. These results are documented in a report, and an improvement action plan is provided. 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 on the size of your company, the selection of additional modules, and the complexity of your processes. If you opt for the standard audit without any additional modules, the audit typically lasts between two to four hours. We are happy to give you a customized quote for your company without obligation.


Why should companies choose DQS Inc. to verify the IFS ESG Check?

- Comprehensive IFS audits under one roof
- Our auditors have extensive industry experience and expertise in a variety of industries
- Personal and competent contact persons
- We prioritize solutions and customer satisfaction highly, ensuring a customized approach for your business

Ready to enhance your organization's sustainability journey?

Watch our complementary ESG and Sustainability Reporting webinar recording to gain insights, strategies, and best practices to enable success for your business.

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