The Rainforest Alliance and the Union for Ethical BioTrade (UEBT) have developed a joint Herbs & Spices Program. This new program brings together the current UEBT/UTZ Herbal Tea Program along with the UTZ and Rainforest Alliance certification programs for herbs, spices, rooibos, and vanilla. This post outlines transition timelines for farms and supply chain actors as well as transition options for farms.
Transition timelines and options for farms
Farms will be transitioning to either the UEBT/Rainforest Alliance certification or the Rainforest Alliance 2020 Certification Program in the course of 2021 and 2022. There are several options for farms on how and when to transition. The applicable options and timelines depend on the certification they currently have (Rainforest Alliance, UTZ rooibos or UEBT/UTZ for herbal teas), which certification they are transitioning to, and their audit schedules.
To understand which options apply to your farm, please consult the Transition Guide.
Below we have outlined the most common transition options:
Transition timelines for supply chain actors
- May 2021: Supply chain actors may start registering with Rainforest Alliance for the new program. Registrations need to be completed by 31 December 2021. You will receive an email invitation to complete your registration process once your window for registration opens.
- From July 2021: The Rainforest Alliance 2020 Sustainable Agriculture Standard becomes mandatory from 1 July 2021. Once registered, supply chain actors can begin to receive remote audits to verify compliance with the new Supply Chain Requirements. Following successful completion of the remote audit, they will receive a Transition Certificate valid for one year. Some certificate holders may be eligible for an endorsement, which means they do not need to receive an audit but can apply for an endorsement to receive their Transition Certificate.
- July 2022: Supply chain actors can begin the three-year certification cycle.
- Q4 2022: traceability and royalty begins in MultiTrace for all herbs and spices.
Learn more about the timelines for transitioning to the Rainforest Alliance 2020 Certification Program.
Royalty process for herbs and spices in 2022
Q1 2022 (January – March), royalty invoicing continues as usual:
- Those selling UTZ certified rooibos and herbal volumes will continue to report in the Good Inside Portal (GIP) monthly, and will receive monthly invoices.
- Any companies selling rooibos and herbal tea certified under the Rainforest Alliance 2017/2020 or UEBT/RA standards will report their volumes quarterly by email and receive a quarterly invoice. These companies will receive an email reminder, but can send these figures directly to Matthew Ford.
- Note, if you are a packer trading both UTZ and Rainforest Alliance volumes, in Q1 you may need to report volumes separately: Monthly in GIP for UTZ volumes and quarterly by email for Rainforest Alliance volumes.
- GIP will close to new UTZ herbal and rooibos transactions after March 2022. We will also be closing MarketPlace to new transactions of Rainforest Alliance Rooibos after March 2022. Final transactions for January to March should be reported in GIP and MarketPlace by 15th April at the latest. Companies should make a note of their final volumes and move to paper-based reporting until Q4.
- The existing royalty rate of EUR 22.50/MT is still valid until 30 September 2022.
- All UTZ, Rainforest Alliance, UEBT/RA certified volumes of rooibos and herbal tea ingredients should report their combined volumes by email, in July for Q2 and for Q3 in October. You will receive an email reminder, and you can send the information directly to Matthew Ford. This move to quarterly reporting in Q2 and Q3 will hopefully reduce your administrative burden.
- New royalty rates will be charged as of this date. These rates are:
- USD 1250/MT cured for high value herbs and spices such as vanilla and saffron
- USD 75/MT for dried key herbs and spices (Key herbs and spices are Pepper, Cinnamon, Chili Pepper, Sage, Oregano, Coriander, Paprika, Cardamom, Dill, Clove, Parsley, Nutmeg, Thyme, Laurel / Bay Leaf, Rosemary, Tarragon)
- USD 25 / MT for dried rooibos and all other herbs and spices.
- Royalty will be charged once in every supply chain, to the first buyer after the farm.
- Important note for rooibos/herbal tea companies: this differs from the current royalty point which is currently being charged to the packer.
- Royalty will be charged monthly, and automated invoices will be sent monthly. This also means you will no longer receive manual invoices.
- The royalty amount invoiced will be calculated based on total incoming volumes to first buyers within the month. However, certificate holders have two weeks to record those transactions after the end of the quarter in which the physical shipment took place.
- Training and guidance on how to use MultiTrace will be provided in the coming months.
Q2-Q3 2022 (April – September), the royalty invoicing arrangements for packers of rooibos and herbal tea will change:
From 1st October 2022:
Rainforest Alliance: firstname.lastname@example.org