In addition to these FAQs about our Supply Chain Requirements, we also have specific FAQs for other areas within our 2020 Certification Program:
FAQ: Supply chain requirements
What are the key changes in the 2020 Supply Chain Requirements? How do they compare with the previous Chain of Custody from UTZ and Rainforest Alliance?
With the Supply Chain Requirements as part of the 2020 Rainforest Alliance Certification Program, we’re aiming to foster transparency as well as responsible business practices by companies throughout the supply chain.
As the first step towards our Reimagining Certification vision, the Supply Chain Requirements demonstrate an ambition to go beyond a traditional ‘chain of custody’ model that only looks at capabilities to track certified volumes along supply chains. This is accomplished through several innovations that are found not only in the requirements but also the overall structural approach. These include a contextualized package of requirements adapted to the circumstances of each supply chain actor, strengthened risk assessment to identify and manage sustainability risks, and shared responsibility requirements to reward farmers for sustainable production and target investment to achieve sustainability goals.
A detailed exploration of these innovations can be found in the ‘2020 Sustainable Agriculture Standard – Introduction’ document available here.
What is the scope of the 2020 Supply Chain Requirements?
The scope for supply chain certification begins with the first change in legal ownership after the farm. In the context of increasing shared responsibility through certified supply chains, the scope for certification includes any supply chain actor further upstream – including retailers.
There are increasingly more farms that process, package and even label their own produce. For farms that combine characteristics of both a farm and a supply chain actor, a wider set of requirements may apply. For example, some farm operations that buy from other producers will need to comply with traceability requirements. Likewise, farm operations that sell directly to retailers may need to meet requirements for seal use etc. Similarly supply chain actors with a high risk of negative social impacts will need to comply with relevant requirements related to relevant issues such as working conditions, health and safety, child labor, forced labor etc. The Supply Chain Risk Assessment (SCRA) will support the contextualization of standard requirements.
What is the Supply Chain Risk Assessment (SCRA)?
As a part of the assurance system, data is collected through the Supply Chain Risk Assessment (SCRA) which is embedded in the registration and profile completion process. The SCRA evaluates the potential risks of an organization’s operations on individual site level in order to determine the type and frequency of verification required. A company’s profile is based on the activities, location and crop information captured through this process in combination with other internal and third-party data (volumes, compliance, social risks, and others) specific for each individual operation. These factors then feed into a risk calculation which lands an organization in one of the five verification levels.
What is the frequency of the audits for supply chain certificate holders?
The SCRA will determine the verification level of a supply chain certificate holder which impacts the audit frequency and verification method required over the certification cycle, as shown in the table below.
YEAR 1 YEAR 2 YEAR 3
|A||Rainforest Alliance review||Rainforest Alliance automated check||Rainforest Alliance automated check|
|B||CB Desk Audit||Rainforest Alliance review||Rainforest Alliance automated check|
|C||CB On-site Audit||CB Desk Audit||Rainforest Alliance review|
|D||CB On-site Audit||CB On-site Audit||CB Desk Audit|
|E||CB On-site Audit||CB On-site Audit||CB On-site Audit|
What is a Rainforest Alliance review?
A remote method of verification conducted by Rainforest Alliance that evaluates compliance to the Rainforest Alliance Standard requirements through collected evidence submitted by the Certificate Holder.
What is a Rainforest Alliance automated check?
A system-based method of verification conducted by the Rainforest Alliance Certification Platform that evaluates basic compliance to the Rainforest Alliance program through the collection of data such as up-to-date traceability, submitted seal approvals and valid license agreements.
What is a CB on-site audit?
An audit conducted on site by a third-party certification body using physical means to obtain audit evidence and evaluate compliance against the relevant Standard requirements.
What is a CB desk audit?
An audit conducted remotely by a third-party certification body using electronic means to obtain audit evidence and evaluate compliance against the relevant Standard requirements.
How is multiple certification addressed in the 2020 Supply Chain Requirements? Can I claim and sell volumes under multiple certification systems?
Production of crops under multiple certification schemes results into products carrying multiple certifications. If administered correctly, supply chain certificate holders may claim and sell products certified against other schemes in addition to the Rainforest Alliance certification and seal. They are however not allowed to sell the same volume more than once as this would constitute double selling which is not allowed under the Rainforest Alliance rules.
For example, 100 MT of coffee produced by a farm can be certified as both organic and Rainforest Alliance and sold as
- 100 MT Rainforest Alliance Certified only, or
- 100 MT Organic only, or
- 100 MT Rainforest Alliance Certified and Organic (once in one batch) to one buyer.
However, that same volume of coffee cannot be sold separately as 100 MT of organic coffee as well as 100 MT of Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee.
Requirement 2.1.7 of the Sustainable Agriculture Standard therefore mandates that there shall not be any double selling of volumes and that products sold as conventional or sold under another scheme or sustainability initiative are not also sold as Rainforest Alliance certified, unless conditions as highlighted in the above example apply.
Does my company need to comply with the 2020 Supply Chain Requirements even if we sell product originally purchased as certified without the Rainforest Alliance Seal?
Companies making claims on product certified against the Rainforest Alliance 2020 Sustainable Agriculture Standard as well as any other claim made in scope of a Rainforest Alliance program need to comply with the Supply Chain Requirements. This means that even if a company is not applying the Seal, they may still perform activities that are in scope of the Rainforest Alliance program and therefore still need to go through the certification process. Through the registration process, the Standard will be contextualized and only those requirements that are relevant to the company’s context will apply.
What are the consequences of not complying with the 2020 Supply Chain Requirements?
Depending on the nature and severity of the nonconformity identified, the certification body and/or the Rainforest Alliance may decide to immediately cancel the current certificate of a company and/or decide not to certify the company if it does not comply with the process for getting certified/endorsed or refuse to close non-conformities. The company will not be able to sell products as Rainforest Alliance certified. For specifics around non-conformities and non-conformity management, please see the Certification and Auditing Rules.
What are the costs of the new Certification Program for other supply chain actors?
The auditing fees will be determined by the Certification Bodies.
As per the Supply Chain Requirements, companies are required to pay Sustainability Differentials and Sustainability Investments as specified in the Shared Responsibility Annex.
The Rainforest Alliance charges a royalty at one point in the middle of each major supply chain benefiting from our certification. The amount is based on the volume of all company transactions of Rainforest Alliance Certified crops. Find out more here.
How do I know which requirements of the Sustainable Agriculture Standard my company has to comply with? Is there any guidance based on my activities (i.e. retailer, roaster, bottler, etc)?
During registration for the new Certification Program, each organization will be asked to provide details in the Rainforest Alliance Certification Platform based on which the checklist with applicable requirements will be composed.
Details we will ask for are about company location, crop, activities, volumes, number of workers, claiming preferences etc. The platform will use that information along indices such as the Rainforest Alliance risk maps and the Corruption Perceptions Index to determine the applicability of requirements from the Sustainable Agriculture Standard for each individual site.
Based on the specific role in the supply chain and the scope of certification, each site will be informed of the applicable requirements as well as the verification steps needed to get certified. This contextualization allows Rainforest Alliance to identify the highest risk operations within a supply chain and target those areas with the appropriate level of verification. Generating a list of requirements that are only relevant to the activities performed at site level also provides clarity to organizations.
What kind of subcontractors must be included in the Supply Chain Requirements? How is compliance of subcontractors evaluated? What are the consequences if the subcontractors do not comply with the Certification Rules?
Subcontractors are organizations or individuals contracted to carry out one or more specific operations on the certified product. Subcontractors at supply chain level are for example those organizations that process, store, package and/or label products. Cleaning companies (e.g.) are service providers and are not included in the scope of the Supply Chain Requirements.
A supply chain certificate holder that makes use of subcontractors is responsible for the verification that subcontractors comply with any relevant requirement of the Standard. This compliance can be confirmed through different ways; either through the audit of the supply chain certificate holder contracting the subcontractor OR by the subcontractor’s own certification audit. We leave it up to subcontractors to choose their preferred option of certification: some organizations are subcontracted by various supply chain actors and rather than receiving several audits as subcontractors prefer to get their individual certification. For more details, please see the Certification and Auditing Rules.
What is the scope of traceability in the new certification program? Are retailers and brands included?
The scope for traceability is from production up until retail level of certified product. This means that certified product sales to retailers are reported into the traceability platform. The detailed rules around what exactly such reports are to entail can be found in Annex S6 on Traceability.
Which certificate holders is Chapter 3 applicable to?
The Supply Chain Requirements are a set of requirements that form part of the Sustainable Agriculture Standard, a Standard encompassing both Farm and Supply Chain Requirements. Therefore, chapter 3 (Income and Shared Responsibility) includes requirements that are partly applicable to farms, while others apply to supply chain certificate holders.
Broadly speaking, the requirements under chapter 3.1 (Production Costs and Living Income) apply to farm certificate holders, while the requirements in chapter 3.2 (Sustainability Differential) apply to both farms (3.2.1 and 3.2.2) and supply chain certificate holders (3.2.3 through to 3.2.7). The requirements listed under Sustainability Investments are partly for farm certificate holders when it is about development of the investment plan and for supply chain certificate holders when it is about making and reporting on the Sustainability Investments. For more detailed information on applicability of the Shared Responsibility requirements, please have a look at Annex S14.
Read here for more information and frequently asked questions about our shared responsibility approach.