In addition to these FAQs about our transitioning to the 2020 Sustaianble Agriculture Standard, we also have specific FAQs for other areas within our 2020 Certification Program:
FAQ: transition period
Who are the Transition Rules applicable to?
The Transition Rules are applicable to Transitioning certificate holders (CHs) – those CHs that are already certified under the current UTZ or Rainforest Alliance certification programs and wish to continue being certified under the Rainforest Alliance 2020 Certification Program. This includes all CHs, whether they have farming in scope (farms, producer groups, etc.) or are further downstream in the supply chain (traders, roasters, manufacturers, etc.). The rules also apply to Certification Bodies, whether they continue to work with the Rainforest Alliance 2020 Certification Program or not.
What is meant by the term "Certification Program"?
A Certification Program is the sum of all standard requirements, assurance documents, and certification, traceability and other platforms, guidance documents, policies, training materials, etc. Therefore, this document refers to, for example, ‘certification under the current UTZ Certification Program’ or ‘according to the Rainforest Alliance 2020 Certification Program’, meaning according to the relevant rules and requirements of that Certification Program.
Which Standard requirements apply to me as a Certificate Holder and when?
Every transitioning Certificate Holder (CH) shall continue complying with the current UTZ/Rainforest Alliance Standard Requirements until the Rainforest Alliance 2020 Standard Requirements enter into force. For each CH this moment may be different, it depends on the date the CH signs a certification agreement with a Certification Body or obtains an Endorsement from the Rainforest Alliance. The earliest date is July 1, 2021.
For Farm CHs, only the core requirements of the Rainforest Alliance 2020 Standard will enter into force during the transition period. Smart Meters will become mandatory from July 1, 2022 onwards. For supply chain actors all Rainforest Alliance 2020 Standard Requirements become mandatory during the transition period, except a limited number of self-select requirements about contribution to living wage.
At registration in the Rainforest Alliance Certification Platform, farms/groups and companies will provide information regarding the scope of their activities. Based on this information, the Rainforest Alliance Certification Platform will provide each CH with a customized list of the applicable requirements. This means that you do not need to work out which standard requirements apply to you.
I have an UTZ/Rainforest Alliance certificate. Does that mean I am certified under the Rainforest Alliance 2020 Standard?
No, being certified under the current UTZ or Rainforest Alliance certification programs does not mean you are or will be certified under the Rainforest Alliance 2020 Certification Program.
Your current certificate will remain valid until you obtain your Transition Certificate. If you do not transition, your current certificate will not remain valid after January 1, 2023.
My current UTZ/Rainforest Alliance certificate is valid until 2023. Do I still need a Transition Certificate?
Yes, all CHs that wish to transition to the Rainforest Alliance 2020 Certification Program will have to Register in the Rainforest Alliance certification platform (RACP) and obtain a Transition Certificate before December 2022, even if under the current certification no audit would be necessary in this period. Once you receive your Transition Certificate, which is valid for one year, it will replace your existing certificate.
How do I maintain my Rainforest Alliance certification throughout the Transition Period?
To maintain your certification during the Transition Period, you will need to carry out these 4 steps:
- Maintain/renew your current UTZ and/or Rainforest Alliance certificate between July 2020 and June 2021 as usual.
- Register in the Rainforest Alliance 2020 Certification Platform and indicate your current certification(s).
- Obtain a one-year Transition Certificate between July 2021 and December 2022.
- Obtain a full Certificate against the Rainforest Alliance 2020 Certification Program after July 2022.
Do I still need to get audited against the current standard?
Most Transitioning CHs will still have to be audited against the current standard once between July 2020 and June 2021.
For each Transitioning CH, the timelines for this last audit against the current standard/ current Certification Program depend on which Certification Program your organization is currently certified against, what type of certification you have, and when that certification expires. These precise timelines are described in this document to ensure the capacity of the Rainforest Alliance and the Certification Bodies to cater for all three certification programs during the Transition Period. Each CH can find out whether in 2021 it must undergo an audit against the current standard or the 2020 standard applicable to it, by consulting the Transition Tool, a 1 to 2-minute questionnaire that results in a step-by-step guidance for which no login is required.
How do I obtain a one-year Transition Certificate?
A one-year Transition Certificate can be obtained in two ways:
- For Farm CHs, you will have to register in the Rainforest Alliance Certification Platform and undergo a Transition Period Audit. If successful, an Authorized Certification Body will issue the Transition Certificate.
- For a Supply Chain CHs, you will have to register in the Rainforest Alliance Certification Platform and undergo a Supply Chain Risk Assessment (SCRA). If you are eligible for an endorsement for all your sites (mostly applicable to those CHs that have an endorsement under the current Rainforest Alliance or an audit-exempt license under the current UTZ Certification Programs), the Rainforest Alliance will grant an Endorsement. All other Supply Chain CHs undergo a remote Transition Period Audit. If successful, an Authorized Certification Body will issue the Transition Certificate.
I already have an account in MultiTrace/Salesforce/GIP/Marketplace. Do I need to register again for the Rainforest Alliance 2020 Certification Program?
Yes, all CHs have to make a new registration for the Rainforest Alliance 2020 Certification Program in the Rainforest Alliance Certification Platform. The new Certification Platform allows you to manage your accounts and certificates more easily and to keep better traceability of the certified products in the supply chain. It is important that during the registration process you indicate all your existing UTZ and/or Rainforest Alliance accounts to maintain access to your legacy volumes.
Until when can I use the legacy volumes?
You can use these volumes as long as you maintain Rainforest Alliance Certification. Note that as per the Rainforest Alliance Labeling and Trademarks Policy, the new Rainforest Alliance Seal can be used on packaging containing products certified against any of the three certification programs. This means that legacy UTZ, legacy Rainforest Alliance and new Rainforest Alliance volumes for the same commodity are equal in value.
When can I obtain new Rainforest Alliance volumes under the Rainforest Alliance 2020 Certification Program?
This will depend on the type of CH:
- For farming CHs, the volumes assigned to you in the Transition Certificate will be new Rainforest Alliance volumes under the Rainforest Alliance 2020 Certification Program.
- For all CHs, as long as you have a valid license for a current certification program, you will be allowed to trade new Rainforest Alliance volumes, as soon as they become available in the supply chain (most likely after September 2021).
Can I use the same Certification Body as before for the Transition Period Audit?
You will most likely be able to. However, not all Certification Bodies (CBs) will be authorized for the same scope in the Rainforest Alliance 2020 Certification Program as they are in the current Certification Programs. You will be able to see if your CB is authorized for your specific scope after you register in the Rainforest Alliance certification platform and confirm your scope. The list will also be published by the Rainforest Alliance in May 2021.
Which CB should I turn to during the Transition Period?
Any extensions, changes, etc. to your current UTZ or Rainforest Alliance 2017 certificate are handled by the CB that issued it. This means that you might have to turn to different CBs for the current certificate (e.g. extensions) and the Transition Period Audit.