Created on 2014/11/17 7:28 AM

Documentation for PGS Green Road (PGS-GR)

Standard Operational Procedures: PGS
It should be noted that different PGS’s around the world have different operational systems suited to the culture and
needs of its members. There are no hard and fast rules on how a PGS should run – it is the outcome that is assessed.
If the PGS complies with the basic principles as outlined by IFOAM, with a clear and common standard, and a clear
verification system, it can be classified as PGS. The procedures below are similarly a guideline as designed originally
by the Bryanston Organic & Natural Market PGS, based on the IFOAM principles and designed by its members. It is
modified published here to be used or modified byPGS GR
On application every prospective grower/grower group member of the PGS must do the following:



Complete the PGS Application. If the applicant is a grower group, the authorised representative of the
group will sign on behalf of the group.
Certain groups or individuals may be unable to read and sign the documentation. If this is the case, the
following procedure will apply:
a. All procedures will be explained to the group/individual.
b. The group/individual will be required to make a verbal pledge or commitment to the code of
conduct and procedures of the PGS.
c. This pledge will be recorded by the PGS through photographic or other documented record.
d. Documentation will be completed by the PGS administration on behalf of the group/individual with
his/their consent as recorded.
Supply the PGS with all relevant information to facilitate assessment. This includes completion of the
assessment questionnaire.
Familiarise themselves with the PGS GR V1.0
Familiarise themselves with all guidelines, documentation and procedures of the PGS.


The PGS currently recognises the following membership categories:
• Green Road Producer Member: Any Producer and Processor who is a member of Green Road and
therefore part of the Green Road decision making process. A Producer Member will attend
meetings, workshops and assessments. They have voting rights and can be elected to office. These
members will form the core of the PGS.
• Green Road Supplier: PGS Members who are not Green Road Members. These members are
producers/processors who are not part of the Green Road Membership and not part of the Green
Road Economic Model, but are assessed annually for PGS compliance in order to be part of the
Green Road supply chain. They have access to all information, and may attend ad hoc assessments if
they so wish. These Suppliers, as Non-Green Road Members, do not form part of the Shared Services
and a value proposition to the farmer is agreed upon for the fee to be paid by the farmer to Green
• Green Road Consumer Member: Any Consumer who is a Member of Green Road and therefore part
of the decision making process. A Consumer Member will attend meetings, workshops and
assessments. They have voting rights and can be elected to office.
• PGS assessment team will carry their own cost of transport to and from venues in their local area.


Membership, costs and assessment:

Assessment Process:


After written application, the applicant will be given at least 5 days notice before an assessment takes place.
Application questionnaire must reach assessment team members 3 days prior to assessment in order for all
members to study the document. The assessment team must consist of at least the following:
a. One member of the PGS Administration.
b. One “peer member” – a grower/producer who is a member of the PGS, and has a knowledge or
understanding of the production on the farm being assessed.
c. One “public” member – a customer or retailer who would normally consume and/or purchase the
product/s from the assessed farm.
1. Once PGS Admin has received all above documentation, it will be forwarded to all members of the assessment



One member of the assessment team will be responsible for completing the assessment report, and will
“drive” the process.
All members have the right to ask questions, and can explore any query that might have arisen out of the
supplied documentation prior to the assessment.
A walkthrough of the production premises will be conducted and Q&A will take place during this
After the walkthrough, all comments, suggestions or further queries will be handled in a short meeting
before concluding the assessment. The aim is to limit further off-premises or long distance discussion to
the absolute minimum. Ideally, the assessment process can be finalised up to provisional acceptance
stage at that meeting. This meeting is an open forum: all PGS members on the assessment team will be
expected to give their comments openly at this meeting. A prospective applicant has the right to hear
these comments first hand, and will be given the opportunity to respond or clarify any
Results will be collated, further verification (if necessary), actions and/or remedies requested.
Timelines for all the above must be recorded.
As soon as the applicant has complied with these requests, all results will be collated and a final report





The PGS may issue any of the following certificates:
GR Assurance and endorsement of product after which said product/s may be sold at bearing the
endorsement logo of the PGS. To be granted full acceptance, a grower must demonstrate
compliance with the GR Standard
Transitional acceptance: If the production is deemed to be in accordance with organic principles,
but the land has been under organic management for less than 36 months, the products would be
deemed to be “in conversion” status. (see Basic Production Principles) A grower can only remain as
a “in conversion” operator for a maximum of 36 months, after which they must comply with all
requirements, or lose their endorsement.
Rejection: Any grower/producer not complying with the GR Standards will be rejected. If there is a
possibility that redress of contraventions could change the status of the product, such information
will be given to the applicant, and a resubmission may be made.
All documentation regarding the assessment will be filed and administered at the local GR office or
administration headquarters. All data will be captured electronically, and kept in a central database at
the PGS-GR head office.

Follow-up Assessments:




Reporting and Acceptance/Rejection


All producers will be assessed annually based on the same procedure and notice period.

Random or unannounced assessments:

The PGS reserves the right to do random or unannounced visits to production premises under following
a. If a complaint IN WRITING is received by the PGS regarding product of any producer, an
extraordinary or random visit may be scheduled. (see section on dealing with non-compliance)
b. A number of random visits can be undertaken to members prior to annual assessments as part of
quality management.
Non-compliance, contravention and discipline:

The PGS is at its most effective when all members are operating according to its rules, and in the spirit of organics as
well as common human decency. The first action to be taken in any case of ill discipline or transgression is the path
of informal counselling, mentoring and practical assistance prior to any official disciplinary action. It needs to be
understood that all members should conduct themselves according to the signed Pledge, and produce their goods in
compliance with the GR Standards. If the PGS has reason to believe that any member is operating or conducting
themselves outside the stated guidelines and the first action of inter-member guidance or counselling is ineffective,
formal disciplinary action may be instituted.

This will be done according to the following guidelines:




Only complaints received in writing will be attended to. The PGS cannot react to random or unfounded
verbal complaints or allegations.
Type of complaint:
a. If the complaint is regarding unacceptable production or farming practices, a visit to the production
premises will precede a disciplinary hearing. This visit may be unannounced, and must include at
least the administrator of the PGS, and one other unaffected member of the PGS. During this visit,
the same procedures will be followed as with a scheduled assessment, with specific focus on the
nature of the complaint. After the visit, the procedures as described below will be followed.
b. If the complaint is regarding member conduct only, (a.) above will be deemed unnecessary and
procedure (c.) will be followed.
c. A minuted meeting will be called with the following persons present:
i. The member against whom the complaint is levelled.
ii. The administrator of the PGS.
iii. At least one additional PGS member not involved in the complaint.
iv. A person deemed competent to record the proceedings.
v. The complainant or authorised representative. If this is not possible, a written account of
the complaint.
The complaint will be read to the member, and any physical or documented proof and/or evidence will
be presented. The member will have an opportunity to answer or explain their actions, and supply
evidence or proof to substantiate their reply. If deemed necessary, the complaint may be present or be
called for rebuttal.
The disciplinary committee will rule on the validity of the complaint, after hearing both parties’
submissions, and may rule as follows:
a. Rejection of complaint: If the complaint is deemed invalid, both parties will be informed, and the
decision will be recorded. If necessary, the decision will be communicated in writing to affected
b. Acceptance of complaint:
If the complaint is justified, disciplinary action will be taken against
the concerned member; the disciplinary committee will assess the level of misconduct, implement
the appropriate disciplinary action, and communicate the decision in writing to affected parties.


a. First warning: If this is the first time a member is found guilty of a non-critical transgression, the
member will receive a first warning. The warning will be active for one calendar year, during which a


Disciplinary Action:

similar transgression will result in the termination of PGS membership. Any action not described
below in para. (c.) is deemed a non-critical transgression.
b. Second warning:
A second warning for a similar transgression during one calendar year will
result in immediate termination of membership.
c. Serious misconduct: If the transgression is deemed to be serious misconduct, membership will be
terminated immediately without a warning.
Examples of serious misconduct are:
i. Public abuse (physical or otherwise) of fellow PGS member and/or customers.
ii. Any action that brings the PGS into disrepute.
iii. The use or application of any substance or additive specifically prohibited by the GR PGS
iv. The breach of any of the production principles that could impact on the organic nature of
the end product, i.e. the addition of unacceptable inputs, use of GMOs, contamination of the
product with pollutants, chemicals etc.
v. The failure implement redress actions as required during a first or annual PGS assessment
vi. Any criminal action as described in the Statutes and Laws of the Republic of South Africa.
vii. The sale of any unassessed product bearing the PGS endorsement logo or otherwise
marketed as a PGS-endorsed product.
viii. The sale of any product bearing the logo or registration number of a third-party certifier, or
otherwise marketed as organic, and found not to be compliant with the requirements of the
certifying body. Such a transgression will also be reported to the relevant certifier.
Termination of membership:

a. If membership is terminated due to a critical offence, the right to market their products bearing the
endorsement and logo of the PGS will be forfeited.
b. If the membership is terminated due to a non-critical offence, membership and the right to use the
logo will not be revoked, but the member will be under probation for one calendar year following
the ruling.
Reinstatement of membership:



Any member whose membership was terminated due to a non-critical offence, may, after one calendar year from
the termination, re-apply for membership. All previous offences will be deemed nullified, and the application will be
assessed and treated like a new submission.