Social Responsibility Tools Profile - ASC


Certification Standards. All of ASC’s standards include requirements on social responsibility, which are further developed in the Feed Standard and the upcoming Farm Standard, covering the following areas:

  • Rights awareness
  • Forced labor
  • Child labour
  • Discrimination
  • Health and safety
  • Collective bargaining and freedom of association
  • Transparent contracts
  • Wages
  • Working hours
  • Workplace conduct response
  • Employee accommodation
  • Grievance mechanisms
  • Community engagement

Country Risk Scorecard. ASC has recently published a Country Risk Scorecard, which assigns a social risk level to 184 countries, guiding feed producers to how much due diligence they must carry out in sourcing ingredients from different countries.


Social Auditing Methodology. ASC has a Social Auditing Methodology (SAM), which requires a full social audit at every initial certification and re-certification audit, and again during the certification cycle. The SAM requires that ASC social auditors follow processes as described in ISO 17021-1 and ISO 19011, as well as a set of ASC requirements, which include holding an opening meeting and closing meetings at the social audits, conducting walkthroughs, reviewing documents and records, and a minimum number of private interviews with different personnel.

  • Social auditors are required to have specific qualifications, experience and local knowledge, and ASC also trains social auditors on the specific ASC social requirements.
  • As part of the SAM, ASC has developed a Social Auditing Risk Assessment calculator to determine the level of required audit effort based on a number of country and farm-level risk factors.


Transparency and Accountability. ASC’s social responsibility is deeply embedded not only in its certification and assurance processes, but also in its ethos and overall programme requirements. As a member of ISEAL, ASC places a high premium on engagement with stakeholders and transparency and public disclosure requirements, which can help increase acceptance of certified operations in local communities. 

  • ASC processes enable programme revision and improvements, create space for accountability and corrective actions when necessary, provide data for research, and enable feedback and engagement from local communities, stakeholders and civil society.
  • Audit reports (which include any non-conformities found during audits) of all ASC certified operations are made publicly available, which enables accountability and stakeholders are able to give feedback via publicly available procedures, if they wish to do so. When an audit identifies a non-conformity, the operation is required to identify the underlying causes of the non-conformity and implement corrective actions to address it.
  • Information about any suspended or withdrawn certificates is published on ASC’s website, and together with the published audit reports, this suite of public disclosures and transparency requirements prevents greenwashing claims and underpins the credibility which can be vested in ASC. The robust requirements around transparency and the proactive engagement of stakeholders and communities (including Indigenous communities when applicable) all contribute to addressing social responsibility.
  • ASC’s Certification and Accreditation Requirements (CAR) document outlines some of the transparency processes in the realm of social responsibility, whilst others are embedded in ASC’s species-specific standards or in the Feed Standard and upcoming ASC Farm Standard. Stakeholders are invited to provide feedback on all audits and can ask to be notified automatically of any changes or audits relevant to them. The independent auditors must consider and respond to this input before making a decision on certification. Besides warranting credibility, this facilitates accountability, scrutiny and verifiability.

Other Projects. In addition to the standards and certification processes, ASC has several other programmes that address social responsibility:

  • Living wage project: ASC is conducting pilots on the use of the IDH salary matrix in Ecuador, Vietnam and India, with the intention of bringing living wage indicators into the Feed and Farm Standards.
  • Risk Management Framework project: ASC is working on a project that will sit alongside the Farm Standard. Part of this project will support producers to reduce the risk of forced labour, child labour and negative impacts on local communities.
  • Worker Voice project: ASC has begun a project looking at how to better increase the voice of employees on certified farms, with a plan to test the possibility of using grievance mechanisms that sit externally to the farms.
  • Gender equality project: ASC is beginning engagement in a project on gender equality, developing a strategy for ASC’s work in this area.
  • Free, Prior and Informed Consent project: ASC is working on a project to understand the role that certification can play in engagement with Indigenous communities.
  • ASC maps social non-conformities by issue and geography. This is part of a larger performance benchmarking initiative.


  • ASC is reviewing how to improve measurements of social impacts and will increase the collection of social data related to this.

For questions or additional information, please contact Clare Stevens, Social Standards Manager for ASC.