Rainforest Alliance Certification
Sustainable Agricultural Production and Responsible Supply Chain
What is Rainforest Alliance Certification?
Rainforest Alliance certification strengthens your position in the marketplace – assuring your customers that your agricultural products are grown and harvested on farms that promote social, economic, and environmental standards for sustainable agriculture. Certification to this standard encompasses ecosystem conservation, wildlife protection, and fair treatment and good working conditions for workers. To become certified, participants must comply with the requirements of the Sustainable Agriculture Farm Standard or the Sustainable Agriculture Supply Chain Standard. Adding this internationally recognized Rainforest Alliance certified seal to your product enables both businesses and consumers do their part to ensure a better future for the people and planet.
The Rainforest Alliance 2020 Sustainable Agriculture Standard (SAS) is the result of the merger of Rainforest Alliance and UTZ in 2018, to create a single agriculture sustainability standard and certification program. The new framework allows farms to perform one audit of their operations and avoid duplication of work to adhere to the world’s two most widely known sustainability certification standards.
SCS offers Rainforest Alliance auditing and certification services in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Ghana, Tanzania, Côté d'ivoire, Solomon Islands, Portugal, Spain, Australia and New Zealand.
Why Choose SCS?
Certify your agricultural products to Rainforest Alliance Standard and gain consumer trust, retailer preference and product differentiation. With over three decades of experience in sustainability certification and assessment, SCS continues to help food producers, retailers and the entire supply chain achieve their sustainability goals. Our experts can offer you the needed insight and third-party objectivity to credibly prove your responsible business practices.
Take advantage of SCS’ full suite of food and agriculture certification services. Bundle your Rainforest Alliance Certification with Food Safety certification, Fair Trade USA, USDA Organic, Non-GMO Project, RSPO, and Bonsucro and earn recognition for multiple achievements cost-effectively.
- Program Details
- Program Documents
Certification enables you to:
- Earn the right to promote your achievement in sustainable agriculture and market your products using the internationally recognized Rainforest Alliance Certified seal
- Employ good agricultural practices to increase product quality and operational efficiency
- Satisfy retailer sustainability requirements
- Meet growing consumer demand for traceability, accountability, and transparency in the food that is purchased
- Provide measurable and verifiable results to demonstrate your organization’s commitment to sustainability - safeguarding the environment, and the health and well-being of workers and communities
- Who can get Rainforest Alliance Certification?
Rainforest Alliance certification is applicable to farms (including packers and re-packers) and companies involved in post-harvest processing and trading of Rainforest Alliance certified products can be certified to the Supply Chain Standard.
- Which agricultural products can be certified to Rainforest Alliance?
- Coffee, tea and cocoa
- Nuts such as hazelnuts and almonds
- Fruits such as citrus and bananas
- Herbs and spices
- Ferns and cut flowers
Food processors who use Rainforest Alliance certified products can be certified to the Supply Chain Standard.
- Does RA certification require a farm to be organic?
Rainforest Alliance Certified farms are not required to be organic.
- I’m an UTZ Certificate Holder (CH). What are the steps I need to take to transition to the new Rainforest Alliance program?
Current UTZ Certificate Holders (CH) must register with the new Rainforest Alliance program and undergo a risk-assessment process with Rainforest Alliance and they will determine what kind of audit your organization needs. The CH must go through a transition audit between 1 July 2021 – 1 July 2022. If not, your organization must find an authorized CB to provide this audit service.
- What happens if I don’t meet the deadline?
Your current UTZ or RA certificate/license will lapse, and your organization won’t be able to sell any existing stock as certified product until you go under an audit and obtain a certificate.
- What new provisions are contained in the 2020 Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Agriculture Standard?
New to the standard are the addition of gender equality provisions and Sustainability Differential (SD) and Sustainability Investments (SI).
The first provision is the promotion of gender equality which provides farms and companies with new tools to better understand gender gaps and gender issues in their operations and how to address them. Farms and companies will also be required to appoint a person or committee dedicated to addressing gender equality and actively promoting women's empowerment.
The second is the addition of Sustainability Differential and Sustainability Investment protocols. SD and SI are traditionally referred to as premiums within a certification program. The Rainforest Alliance SD is a mandatory cash payment to the farm certificate holder to be used in full for worker benefits. Similarly, the Rainforest Alliance SI are payments in cash or kind for the specific purpose of helping farms meet the farm requirements within the Rainforest Alliance SAS or for continued improvements at the farm certificate holder level.
Apply for Certification
Register with the Rainforest Alliance Certification Platform and complete their Self-Assessment. Rainforest Alliance determines your scope and notifies you when your company can contract an authorized Certification Body.
Fill out the SCS application form to receive a complimentary quote. SCS confirms your audit scope with Rainforest Alliance.
Schedule the Audit
SCS assigns an auditor and audit dates are proposed. Once an audit date is confirmed, an audit plan is provided to ensure that your team is prepared.
During a site visit, an SCS auditor will review procedures and records, visit fields and facilities, in addition to conducting interviews of management and workers to determine compliance to the Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Agriculture Standard and/or Supply Chain Standard.
SCS produces a report detailing the outcome of the audit. If any nonconformities are identified, SCS can advise on corrective actions.
If your operation meets the Standard’s criteria, you are issued a Rainforest Alliance 1-year license and a certificate of compliance valid for three years. You are permitted to use the “Rainforest Alliance Certified” seal on product packaging in accordance with the Rainforest Alliance Standard’s logo guide, which is contingent on your approval from the Rainforest Alliance.
Annual Evaluation and 3-Year Recertification
Certified entities are subject to annual surveillance audits to maintain Rainforest Alliance certification status. Full recertification is required every three years.
Coffee, cocoa, tea, nuts, fruits, vegetables, flowers, herbs & spices producers and handlers can apply for the Rainforest Alliance certification. Producers are certified to the Sustainable Agriculture Farm Standard, while processors who use Rainforest Alliance certified products in their products are certified to the Sustainable Agriculture Supply Chain Standard.
- Institute good agricultural practices
- Improve working conditions, including health and safety
- Protect the environment
- Improve operational efficiency and product quality
- Differentiate from your competitors
Rainforest Alliance certified producers must conform to a wide variety of requirements including:
- Efficient use of water and energy
- Waste management
- Promotion of ecological diversity
- Protection of nature
- No deforestation of primary forests
- Soil fertility management
- Diversification of production, to support ecological diversity and economic resilience
- Integrated pest management (IPM)
- Application of national laws and ILO conventions regarding wages and working hours, including the living wage concept for individual farms
- No forced labor or child labor
- Gender equality *new
- Sustainability differential and investments *new
- Freedom of association and collective bargaining
- Promotion of ecological diversity
- Safe and healthy working conditions
SCS shall make law assessments available upon request.
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