As of October 1, 2021, the Rainforest Alliance allows Full Mutual Recognition for all Rainforest Alliance mass balance products throughout the entire supply chain. On January 31, 2022, Full Mutual Recognition will be extended to also include Segregated and Identity Preserved (IP) cocoa products. As of this date, all cocoa in the MultiTrace portal will only be visible as “Rainforest Alliance” cocoa for all program levels (mass balance, segregated or IP), regardless of the Standard from which it originated (cocoa certified against the 2017 Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Agriculture Standard, the 2020 Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Agriculture Standard or the UTZ Certified program).
This page describes how Full Mutual Recognition will be implemented for Mass Balance in cocoa. See Mutual Recognition Program for more information on Mutual Recognition in the Rainforest Alliance program across all sectors and for segregated and IP.
Full Mutual Recognition for Mass Balance Cocoa
Under Full Mutual Recognition for Mass Balance Cocoa, all mass balance cocoa will be visible as Rainforest Alliance in MultiTrace, regardless of which program it came from (UTZ Certified, the 2017 Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Agriculture Standard (2017 RA SAS) or the 2020 Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Agriculture Standard (2020 RA SAS)). This new functionality will be ready on January 31, 2022.
We recognize that the cocoa industry would like to benefit from Full Mutual Recognition for Mass Balance Cocoa as soon as possible, and preferably no later than the start of the 2021-22 cocoa harvest in West Africa. However, Full Mutual Recognition requires specific technical functionality that will take time to develop following the migration of UTZ and 2017 RA SAS cocoa into MultiTrace. See Understanding End-to-End Cocoa Traceability and the MultiTrace Platform for more details on the migration.
We will therefore implement Full Mutual Recognition along the following timelines:
- The Rainforest Alliance will allow Full Mutual Recognition for Mass Balance Cocoa per October 1, 2021. Companies can apply Full Mutual Recognition to all UTZ and Rainforest Alliance mass balance cocoa shipments taking place on or after October 1, 2021. For more information on shipments please see requirements 2.2.1 through 2.2.7 in the 2020 Sustainable Agriculture Standard: Supply Chain Requirements.
- The technical functionality will be ready in MultiTrace on January 31, 2022. This means that beginning January 31, 2022, all mass balance cocoa products (2017 RA SAS, 2020 RA SAS and UTZ Certified) in MultiTrace will be visible only as “Rainforest Alliance”.
- To bridge the gap from October 1 to January 31, the Rainforest Alliance asks all companies using Full Mutual Recognition to delay entry of all mass balance cocoa transactions shipments taking place on or after October 1, 2021 until the technical functionality is in place. Transactions that do not need full mutual recognition (such as Segregated and Identity Preserved cocoa transactions) must still be entered October 1, 2021 onwards.
- Outstanding shipments must be entered in February 2022. Due to potential holiday overlap and large transaction volume, the Rainforest Alliance will allow companies to enter Q4 2021 mass balance cocoa transactions between January 31, 2022 and February 28, 2022.
Entering transactions in Q4, 2021
If you want to make use of Full Mutual Recognition for Mass Balance cocoa it means that you cannot enter any Q4 2021 mass balance cocoa shipments until January 31, 2022. If this leads to supply shortages or a negative Mass Balance credit account please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further support.
In Q4, 2021 you are still required to:
- Enter all UTZ and Rainforest Alliance shipments that took place before October 1, 2021.
- Enter all UTZ and Rainforest Alliance shipments for all segregated and identity preserved (IP) cocoa.
- Resubmit all UTZ transactions that were cancelled by the system during the GIP freeze in September 2021. You can identify these transactions in the GIP traceability section (read-only).
- Redeem: Full Mutual Recognition for Mass Balance cocoa does not affect your ability to redeem your mass balance cocoa volumes. Please continue redeeming your cocoa as usual.
For more information and guidance on using MultiTrace please visit Understanding End-to-End Cocoa Traceability and the Multitrace Platform.
Frequently Asked Questions
Full Mutual Recognition for Mass Balance cocoa
I don't need Full Mutual Recognition for my mass balance cocoa shipments. Can I still enter these shipments in MultiTrace between October 1, 2021 and January 31, 2022?
The Rainforest Alliance is implementing Full Mutual Recognition for mass balance cocoa per October 1, 2021 before the technical solution is ready, on request of the industry. The seller therefore has the right to delay entry into MultiTrace of all transactions for mass balance cocoa shipments taking place in Q4, 2021 until January 31, 2022. This allows the seller to take full advantage of the lower administrative burden and reduced complexity that comes with Full Mutual Recognition, by managing only one program rather than potentially up to three different programs.
However, mass balance cocoa shipments can still be entered in MutliTrace before January 31, 2022 if both the seller and the buyer agree to forego the possibility for full mutual recognition for this specific cocoa mass balance shipment.
Does Full Mutual Recognition apply to all cocoa products, including liquor, butter and powder?
Yes, Full Mutual Recognition applies to all mass balance cocoa products, including beans, nibs, liquor, butter, powder, and mixed products (chocolate).
Will you also allow Full Mutual Recognition for segregated and identity preserved (IP) cocoa?
Yes. Full Mutual Recognition will also include Segregated and Identity Preserved (IP) cocoa. Please see the top of this page for details.
I am only certified against the UTZ program. Can I now start buying and selling 2017 RA SAS volumes under Full Mutual Recognition for Mass Balance cocoa?
Under Full Mutual Recognition, you can buy and sell 2017 RA SAS mass balance cocoa in Q3 2021, however you will need to delay entering those transactions into MultiTrace until January, 2022, at which point all mass balance cocoa volumes will appear as “Rainforest Alliance”
Will shipments that took place before October 1, 2021 also be eligible for Full Mutual Recognition?
No. This solution only applies to mass balance cocoa shipments taking place on or after October 1, 2021. Mass balance cocoa shipments through September 30, 2021 are not eligible for Full Mutual Recognition nor for the January 2022 entry delay. The associated transactions must therefore still be entered in compliance with the Supply Chain Standard.
Contracting and invoicing for Rainforest Alliance cocoa under full Mutual Recognition
Which program should I refer to on contracts or invoices for Segregated or Identity Preserved (IP) products?
For Segregated or Identity Preserved products you may also refer to “Rainforest Alliance Certified”, regardless of the program. This has been allowed since January 1, 2021.
Does this mean that within a “Rainforest Alliance” cocoa contract I can sell any remaining credits (UTZ Certified or 2017 RA SAS) to my customer? For instance, depending on what I have in stock at the moment when I need to deliver on the contract?
For Segregated and Identity Preserved, in principle the wording on the contract allows this freedom. However, for Segregated and Identity Preserved cocoa, the customer will still be able to see the program associated with that cocoa in the Traceability Platform (UTZ Certified, 2017 RA SAS or 2020 RA SAS) until the technical solution for Full Mutual Recognition is in place, and we strongly recommend that they be made aware of that upfront.
For Mass Balance products everything will eventually be available to sell as Rainforest Alliance under Full Mutual Recognition, which fully aligns with the contracts. Please refer to the timelines above for further details.
Will the cost be the same for all legacy volumes? How can I interchange UTZ for Rainforest Alliance when the costs are different?
We have prepared for this transition by introducing one royalty fee for all UTZ certified and 2017 Rainforest Alliance SAS certified cocoa in 2019. We know that there are price differences in the market based on many factors, including premiums, current and expected program costs for UTZ and the Rainforest Alliance, as well as other costs that have been incorporated into the cocoa prices. Rainforest Alliance does not set the price for cocoa. For more details see How Much Does Rainforest Alliance Certification Cost?
If there are significant differences between the costs of each program, we strongly advise you to discuss these with your supplier as part of the contract before signing.
Will there be a cost difference between UTZ, 2017 Rainforest Alliance SAS and 2020 Rainforest Alliance SAS certified cocoa?
The Rainforest Alliance does not determine cocoa prices. For more details see How Much Does Rainforest Alliance Certification Cost?
Would you recommend that I switch from UTZ to 2017 Rainforest Alliance SAS cocoa in preparation for the transition to 2020 Rainforest Alliance SAS cocoa?
No. You do not need to start buying Rainforest Alliance cocoa certified against the 2017 standard to prepare for the switch to the new standard per July 2021. UTZ Certified and 2017 Rainforest Alliance SAS cocoa can both be used with the New Seal, and a transition to 2020 Rainforest Alliance SAS will need to take place for both legacy programs. See Mutual Recognition Program for more details.
Is this a mandatory change? Do I have to put “Rainforest Alliance” on all my contracts now?
No, this is not a mandatory change. The intention of this change is to ease the administrative burden. You may still refer to the specific program you are buying or selling if that is more convenient.
Can I refer to UTZ on my contract when I buy Rainforest Alliance certified cocoa?
No. When you buy Rainforest Alliance certified cocoa (2017 RA SAS or 2020 RA SAS) it is mandatory that you refer only to the Rainforest Alliance on the contract.
Full Mutual Recognition and Origin Matching Mass Balance
Will Full Mutual Recognition for Mass Balance Cocoa influence Origin Matching Mass Balance?
Full Mutual Recognition for Mass Balance Cocoa will make Origin Matching Mass Balance easier to implement. Companies are already allowed to combine the different Rainforest Alliance Certification Programs when origin matching their products as of July 1, 2021, when the requirements for Phase One came into force. This change will eliminate the administrative complexity of managing and combining three separate certification flows when origin matching your mass balance cocoa products. See Cocoa: Origin Matching Mass Balance Timelines for details.