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News

The news about the EASY-CERT group AG


Also this year bio.inspecta AG was present at the BIOFACH, the world's leading trade fair for organic food, in Nuremberg. Together with the leading Austrian inspection authority Austria Bio Garantie we exhibited under the umbrella of the EASY-CERT group.

The main focus of this year's trade fair was: Packaging, Vegan 2.0, open pollinated varieties and Region 2.0. At Vivaness, the international trade fair for natural cosmetics, bio.inspecta was represented with the NATRUE label.

This year, peaks were achieved in terms of exhibitors, space and internationality: almost 3’800 exhibitors from 110 countries exhibited on an area of 57,609 sqm. With over 47’000 visitors, the fair was a complete success.

Numerous interested parties came to our stand and also our annual apero on February 13 2020 was very well attended. It was a pleasure to meet you.

Due to the current situation, we will not have a stand at the Biofach from 17-20 February 2021 in Nuremberg. But you are welcome to contact us.

We hope to be back in 2022 and are looking forward to meeting you.

Organic Certification Body CERES becomes part of EASY-CERT group AG

CERES, bio.inspecta and Austria Bio Garantie (ABG) - three renowned inspection bodies from the D-A-CH region (Germany-Austria-Switzerland) united in a joint holding company

The organic certification body CERES - CERtification of Environmental Standards GmbH based in Happurg near Nuremberg has become part of the EASY-CERT group AG since the end of November. Together with Austria Bio Garantie (ABG) and bio.inspecta, the EASY-CERT group AG now comprises three renowned inspection bodies from the D-A-CH region. CERES, like ABG and bio.inspecta, is a 100% subsidiary of the EASY-CERT group AG, but will – like the other two companies mentioned - continue to operate independently on the market. 

In addition to the company's development prospects, the long-term safeguarding of the “organic mission” in CERES' corporate DNA was an important criterion for the integration into the EASY-CERT group. "The challenges in the field of organic and environmental certification are constantly increasing in a growing global organic market, also for inspection bodies. It therefore makes sense to enter into strategic partnerships in order to jointly meet the increasing requirements at a high level of quality. For us, however, it was also very important that CERES should not come under the sphere of influence of international investors or corporations with an exclusively profit-oriented focus. This is ensured by the ownership structure of EASY-CERT group AG. At the same time, the merger opens up interesting entrepreneurial perspectives for the future", says a pleased Bernhard Schulz, former co-owner and managing director of CERES.

"The merger opens up a number of new perspectives for the companies involved. In view of the increasing importance of organic farming in the food sector and the associated organic market, this is an essential prerequisite for being able to continue to meet the growing demands at the highest level. CERES is also an important global certification body in the field of eco-textiles and sustainability. Standards such as Rainforest Alliance, GOTS, Union For Ethical Bio Trade (UEBT), 4C Association and others are audited and certified. The customers of the EASY-CERT group will thus benefit from an even broader range of services and the highest service quality from a group of companies in the future," emphasize the two EASY-CERT managing directors Hans Matzenberger and Ueli Steiner. 

About the group: EASY-CERT group AG was founded in June 2019 through the merger of the owners of Austria Bio Garantie (ABG) and the Swiss bio.inspecta. The ownership structure of the group is “organically characterized”: In addition to organic farming associations from Austria and Switzerland, the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), the Hygienicum laboratory, SQS and many small shareholders interested in organic farming, such as organic farmers and organic processors, are also involved.

CERES is an internationally active inspection body based in Happurg near Nuremberg. The company offers inspection and certification in the areas of organic farming and food processing, good agricultural and food processing practices and organic textiles. CERES performs inspection and certification activities in over 50 countries worldwide. A total of about 300 employees work for CERES. Its clients include individual companies, agricultural enterprises and small farmers' cooperatives that are committed to sustainable and fairer development of the world.

CERES has been managed by the owners Bernhard Schulz, Albrecht Benzing, Ulrich Findel and Martin Weinschenk-Foerster. The first three will continue to manage the business.

Press release, June 2019 

bio.inspecta and Austria Bio Garantie come together under the roof of EASY-CERT group 

Sub.: Switzerland’s and Austria’s leading organic inspection bodies leverage synergies through holding company in a bid to safeguard service quality and market leadership

bio.inspecta and Austria Bio Garantie, the two leading organic inspection bodies in Switzerland and Austria respectively, came under one roof in organisational terms as of 7 June 2019. The two companies’ owners fully integrated the companies into the new EASY-CERT group AG of which they are now joint owners with equal rights. In their home countries, bio.inspecta and Austria Bio Garantie will continue to operate as autonomous organisations.

For many years now the two companies have maintained close cooperation. From their beginnings as organic inspection bodies, both have grown into comprehensive service providers over the past 25 years. Among much other collaboration they jointly developed the www.easy-cert.com certificate platform. In order to offer clients the broadest possible range of services, joint services were offered in Switzerland, Austria and beyond. Moreover, both companies held reciprocal ownership interests.

Not least with a view to the dynamic development of the organic marketplace in recent years, the cooperation between the two companies has proven to be a foresighted decision that proved its worth in all areas. «Given the rising importance of organic agriculture and the associated organic marketing, we must leverage additional synergies in order to continue to meet the growing demands in a most exacting manner. The merger is designed to sustainably safeguard our high quality of service provision and our companies’ market leadership», says Hans Matzenberger, the managing director of Austria Bio Garantie. 

«For some time now our clients have already been benefiting from a comprehensive one-stop service. In addition to organic inspection and certification, the range of services we offer includes many private labels, statutory instruments and standards in the areas of fair trade and sustainability. The merger between bio.inspecta and Austria Bio Garantie will allow us to work even more efficiently from now on», explains Ueli Steiner, CEO of bio.inspecta.

The merger of the two companies also serves to safeguard the organic ethos which is deeply ingrained in the two companies’ corporate culture. «The aim is to keep the companies in «organic hands» in the long term and to continue to work for the benefit of the organic farming sector. This step is also designed to leverage synergies between bio.inspecta and Austria Bio Garantie and to jointly advance organic certification» says Peter Jossen, the newly elected President of the Board of Management.  

The new umbrella organisation’s governing body (Board of Management) is composed of the following individuals: Peter Jossen (CH) – President – lawyer, notary and former National CouncillorMichael Stelzl (AT) – Vice president – Managing Director of the Institut Hygienicum laboratory in GrazUrs Niggli (CH) – Director of the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL)Christina Ritter (AT) – Organic farmer and representative of Bio Austria Tyrol Susanna Küffer Heer (CH) – Long-standing board member of Demeter InternationalRobert Holzer (AT) – Organic farmer, entrepreneur and board member of Bio Austria Lower Austria and ViennaUeli Steiner (CH) – CEO of bio.inspecta Hans Matzenberger (AT) – Managing Director of Austria Bio Garantie 

Ueli Steiner and Hans Matzenberger serve as managing directors of the new umbrella organisation.

Key metrics of the newly established group: With their 260 employees and 160 freelance staff, bio.inspecta and Austria Bio Garantie together complete some 38,000 audits per year in Switzerland, Austria and internationally. Together they serve 21,000 clients in the organic agriculture sector and 4000 clients in the areas of processing, trade and imports. The group’s joint turnover is approximately CHF 24 million.