Australian Organic Limited (formerly known as Biological Farmers of Australia, or BFA) has always been a major force in ensuring that organic standards in Australia remain in the hands of the supply chain.

Initially formed to progress the interests of farmers and processors who wanted to promote and protect the message of organic, including the setting of organic standards, the BFA moved on to develop an organic certification program to independently verify that farmers and processors were producing in accord with those standards.

The organisation represented both organic and biodynamic (a specific form of organic production) farmers, and hence the broader term “biological farmers” was chosen to promote a simple message that such farmers were using natural methods to produce their foods for consumers. BFA was registered as a co-operative in 1988, following key community and industry meetings across the country.

In 2009, BFA changed its corporate structure to that of a company limited by guarantee. Today, this allows Australian Organic to be recognised as an entity which is conducting its business internationally, with other benefits including reduced administration costs and greater assistance in operating on a not-for-profit basis.

BFA changed its name to Australian Organic Limited (AOL) in 2012 to better reflect its activities and client base.

Australian Organic Demerge

During 2017, the organic industry undertook a consultative process to uncover a clear pathway to create a single voice to government. The results of this process provided a recommendation that Australian Organic Limited (AOL) could step forward as the peak body for the organic industry – however there was a list of changes that AOL would need implement to gain industry support. The largest of these changes was to separate from its subsidiary certification arm, Australian Certified Organic Pty Ltd (ACO).

As AOL is a member owned organisation, a resolution required to be passed to allow for the official separation of the subsidiary from the parent company. At the 2017 AGM, AOL’s members voted in support of the process and as at 30 June 2018 AOL demerged from its subsidiary certification arm, ACO (now ACO Certification Ltd – Australia’s largest organic certifier). ACO Certification Ltd no longer holds the exclusive license for certification to the Bud logo. AOL and ACO Certification Ltd operate under two separate Boards, Organisational Structures and Strategic Objectives.

Post de-merge, Australian Organic Limited is now able to license to ‘The Bud’ trademark to all Department-accredited (DAWE) certifiers enabling more certified operators the opportunity to license to the Bud and become licensees. The Bud logo is also available through AUS-QUAL.

AOL continues to invest these licensing fees into the protection and promotion of the organic industry and provides funding for research and education of certified organic products, brands, and businesses.