The Rainforest Alliance has published a new certification programme that features more robust criteria, measurement, and impact featuring several vital innovations. The new program will replace the existing Rainforest Alliance and Utz certification programs from mid-2021.
Ruth Rennie, Director of Standards and Assurance at the Rainforest Alliance, said that the new certification programme includes new tools to support farmers and companies to set clear sustainability targets and focus investments on improving positive impacts for people and nature. She also added that these tools and innovations would support more resilient agriculture and make the responsible business the new normal. This is increasingly urgent in this age of climate change, biodiversity loss, and global inequality.
The new programme consists of the Sustainable Agriculture Standard with requirements for farms and supply chains, a unique assurance system, and a suite of tools to measure sustainability objectives.
The international non-profit organisation assumes that at least two million farmers worldwide will use the new certification programme to produce better crops, adapt to climate change, improve their productivity, and reduce costs.
According to the Rainforest Alliance, notable brands and businesses along the supply chain will rely on the programme to source a steady supply of certified ingredients, meet their commitment to the responsible company, and address the rising consumer expectations for more sustainable products.
The development of the new certification programme included public consultations that received input from more than 1000 people in nearly 50 countries, representing more than 200 organisations.
Alex Morgan, Chief Markets Officer at the Rainforest Alliance, said that this innovative certification programme is part of the Rainforest Alliance’s collaboration with farmers, companies, implementing partners, and third-party auditors, as well as other non-government organisations, governments, and consumers.
In May of this year, the Rainforest Alliance also released its new seal, which can be used on product packaging and promotional materials from 1 September 2020. The new seal will ultimately replace the current Rainforest Alliance Certified seal and the Utz label.
From September 2020, the Rainforest Alliance will begin operating the certification programme worldwide through a comprehensive global training programme and further development of supporting technology systems. From July 2021, all audits will be against the 2020 Sustainable Agriculture Standard.