With the launch of the new Standard, we will shift to Full Mutual Recognition for all Rainforest Alliance mass balance products throughout the entire supply chain. This page describes how Full Mutual Recognition will be implemented in cocoa.
See Mutual Recognition Program for more information on Mutual Recognition in the Rainforest Alliance program across all sectors.
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 cocoa 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).
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 implement Full Mutual Recognition for Mass Balance Cocoa per October 1, 2021. Full Mutual Recognition will be applied to all UTZ and Rainforest Alliance mass balance cocoa volumes sold on or after October 1, 2021.
- The technical functionality will be ready in MultiTrace on January 1, 2022. This means that beginning January 1, 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 1, the Rainforest Alliance requires all companies to delay entry of all mass balance cocoa transactions with dates between September 1, 2021 and December 31, 2021 until the technical functionality is in place on January 1, 2022. Transactions that do not need full mutual recognition (such as Segregated and Identity Preserved cocoa transactions) may still be entered between September 1 and December 31.
- Outstanding transactions must be entered within the first two weeks of January 2022, as is required by the 2020 RA SAS Supply Chain Requirements. Transactions from a specific quarter must be entered no later than the first 2 weeks following that quarter.
Frequently Asked Questions
Full Mutual Recognition for Mass Balance cocoa
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?
No. Full Mutual Recognition only applies to mass balance cocoa products.
It will be challenging to enter all transactions from Q4, 2021 during the first two weeks of January 2022. Can I take longer to enter transactions?
Entering transactions later than the first two weeks of January would not be in compliance with the 2020 Rainforest Alliance Supply Chain Standard. We are allowing companies to take advantage of Full Mutual Recognition before the technical functionality is ready at the request of the industry. These timelines are the most generous possible without requiring a change to the 2020 RA SAS requirements and are the result of a stakeholder consultation.
We trust that the industry can prioritize entering these transactions in MultiTrace during the first two weeks of January 2022 so we can allow Full Mutual Recognition per October 1, 2021 without making any changes to the Standard. However, we realize these timelines are dependent on a timely delivery of a technical solution and will ensure these are pragmatic and feasible for our partners.
Will sales that took place before October 1, 2021 also be eligible for Full Mutual Recognition?
No. This solution only applies to mass balance cocoa sales taking place on or after October 1, 2021. Mass balance cocoa sales 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”, 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) 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, 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.