The Rainforest Alliance has announced the unveiling of a new sustainability certification program.
The international non-organisation sustainability organisation said the redefined program comes with more robust criteria, measurement, and impact featuring several key innovations.
The new program replaces the existing Rainforest Alliance and UTZ certification programs from mid-2021.
Rainforest Alliance (RA) said it “expects at least two million farmers around the world to use the new certification scheme in order to produce better crops, adapt to climate change, increase their productivity, and reduce costs.”
According to RA, “major brands and businesses along the supply chain will rely on the program to source a steady supply of certified ingredients, meet their commitment to responsible business, and address the rising consumer expectations for more sustainable products.”
It explained the new sustainability program consists of the Sustainable Agriculture Standard with requirements for farms and supply chains, along with a new assurance system and a suite of tools to measure progress towards sustainability objectives.
“The two years of work to reach this critical point build on the organisation’s combined 45 years of certification experience following the merger of the Rainforest Alliance and UTZ in 2018”, it noted.
It recounts that the development of the new certification programmes included public consultations that received input from more than 1,000 people in nearly 50 countries, representing more than 200 organisations.
Nestlé recently announced a new deal with Rainforest Alliance for sourcing sustainable cocoa for its brands like KitKat after a decision to end its partnership with Fairtrade.
“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, director of standards and assurance at the Rainforest Alliance.
“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,” she added.
“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,” said Alex Morgan, chief markets officer at the Rainforest Alliance.
“Only together can we restore the balance between people and nature and create a world where we thrive together,” he added.
Last month, the Rainforest Alliance also released its new seal, which can be used on product packaging and promotional materials effective September 1, 2020.
The new seal is said to eventually replace the current Rainforest Alliance Certified™ seal and the UTZ label.
“The new certification seal is a simple visual that shows consumers how to make a better choice. It demonstrates that farmers and companies are taking steps to make their products more sustainable, creating a better future for people and nature”, RA observed in a press release.