Rainforest Alliance publishes new Certification Program

The Rainforest Alliance
The Rainforest Alliance

The Rainforest Alliance has enhanced its sustainability certification, with the publication of its new 2020 Certification Program which embraces what it says is more robust criteria, measurement and impact, incorporating a number of key innovations.

The new scheme – which will replace existing Rainforest Alliance and UTZ certification programs from mid-2021 – is expected to be used by at least two million farmers globally to produce better crops, adapt to climate change, increase their productivity, and reduce costs, according to the international organization.

“The new certification program incorporates new tools to support farmers and companies to set clear sustainability targets and focus investments to improve positive impacts for people and nature,” said Ruth Rennie, the non-profit’s director of standards and assurance. “These tools and innovations will support more resilient agriculture and help make responsible business the new normal. This is increasingly urgent in our age of climate change, biodiversity loss, and global inequality.”

Only together can we restore the balance between people and nature and create a world where we thrive together

Alex Morgan, chief markets officer at the Rainforest Alliance, adds: “This ambitious and innovative certification program is part of the Rainforest Alliance’s strategy of collaboration with farmers, companies, implementing partners, and third-party auditors, as well as other NGOs, governments, and consumers. Only together can we restore the balance between people and nature and create a world where we thrive together.”

Key innovations of the new 2020 certification program include: a climate-smart agriculture approach with a focus on adaptation and resilience; a new ‘assess-and-address’ approach to tackling human rights issues such as child labour, forced labour, discrimination, and workplace violence and harassment; improved data management; addressing systemic imbalances in global supply chains which put too much burden on producers alone to achieve more sustainable agricultural production; social and environmental requirements for supply chains; an extended ban on deforestation; and risk-based requirements and assurance.

In May of this year, the alliance released a new seal which can be used on packaging and marketing materials from September, eventually replacing the current Rainforest Alliance Certified seal and the UTZ label.

The new certification comes just after the announcement by Nestlé UK and Ireland that its KitKat brand will source Rainforest Alliance Certified Cocoa from October 2020, abandoning its ten-year involvement with the Fairtrade label.