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German organic certifier Ceres becomes part of the Easy-Cert Group

by Leo Frühschütz (comments: 0)

Basket with organic vegetables
Basket with organic vegetables © Antonova Ganna/Shutterstock

The German organic certifier Ceres recently became part of the Easy-Cert Group AG, which was founded in June 2019 as a holding company for the Austrian inspection authority Austria Bio Garantie and the Swiss Bio Inspecta. This means that three renowned inspection bodies from the DACH are now operating under one umbrella.

Austria Bio Garantie (ABG) and Bio Inspecta are the respective leading inspection bodies in Austria and Switzerland. They have been working closely together for a long time and together formed the Easy-Cert Group in June 2019, a public limited company (AG) under Swiss law. Its shares belong to the previous owners, including the national associations of Bio Austria, Demeter Switzerland, the Research Institute for Organic Agriculture (FiBL) and other organisations and individuals from the organic sector.

The goal of the Easy-Cert Group is a long-term ownership of the companies in ‘organic hands’ so they keep on operating for the benefit of organic agriculture, says Christina Ritter, chairwoman of Bio Austria Tirol, the group. This way, the companies should not be influenced by international investors or corporations. This is also the reason why the four Ceres-owners Bernhard Schulz, Albrecht Benzing, Ulrich Findel and Martin Weinschenk-Förster decided to transfer their shares to the AG and thus secure the long-term future of Ceres.

Schulz explains this step with the increasing challenges of organic and environmental certification authorities in a globally growing organic market. In his opinion, it makes sense to enter into strategic partnership and thus jointly meet the increasing strategic requirements on a high qualitative level. Additionally, this action should also prevent Ceres from coming under the influence of international investors or corporations with exclusively profit-oriented motives.

Both Ceres and the other two certification authorities will continue to operate independently in the market. Another member of the Easy-Cert Group is the Hungaria Öko Garancia, a 90% subsidiary of ABG.

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