Online traceability is a requirement of the Rainforest Alliance 2020 Standard to deliver greater transparency, link sustainability progress between source and market and improve visibility of risks and opportunity for sustainability improvements, claims and narratives. Farm and Supply Chain Certificate Holders (CH) conduct tea traceability on the Rainforest Alliance Certification Platform (RACP).
How does traceability support the Rainforest Alliance certification program and related innovations?
The Rainforest Alliance’s 2020 Sustainable Agriculture Standard introduces innovative requirements that aim to make supply chains more equitable. These ‘Shared Responsibility’ requirements are made up of two components: Sustainability Differential, and Sustainability Investments.
End-to-end traceability enables these innovations. Find out more about Shared Responsibility within the certification program here and for tea specifically here.
What is the goal of end-to-end Traceability?
The Rainforest Alliance vision is to link volumes from farm certificate holders to the final product claim. Reporting traceability increases the accuracy and credibility of certification by tracing certified products from farm to shelf.
What is MultiTrace?
MultiTrace is the Rainforest Alliance traceability platform to report purchases, sales, and activities on the Rainforest Alliance Certified products along the supply chain. Traceability for tea within MultiTrace was launched in December 2020.
How can traceability in MultiTrace support my sustainability and Rainforest Alliance certification efforts?
Traceability brings several benefits to farm and supply chain Certificate Holders:
- Users can identify areas where there are risks or opportunities in the production of their raw materials, and work with the Rainforest Alliance or other partners to develop and implement programs at origin to deliver impact and strengthen narratives to be used in their marketing.
- Certificate Holders have a single transactional system to record all purchases and sales of Rainforest Alliance Certified tea. This also facilitates high level reporting for internal management, and for external disclosure, for example against the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
- Users have more efficient and effective mechanisms to meet their applicable requirements from the Rainforest Alliance standard.
Requirements for Certificate Holders
What are the traceability levels in tea?
|Identity Preserved (IP)||A traceability option in which it is possible to identify the Rainforest Alliance Certified ingredient or product back to a single farm certificate holder. A volume that is traded as IP in MultiTrace will display the farm certificate holder information along the supply chain.|
|Mixed Identity Preserved (Mixed IP)||A certified product is from different certified sources/farms, but identity is preserved throughout the supply chain. A volume that is traded as Mixed IP in MultiTrace will display the farm certificate holder information along the supply chain.|
|Segregation||The full product content is certified, although it can come from different certified sources/farms, including other countries of origin. Supply Chain CHs that do not wish to display producer information should downgrade from IP to Segregated either in the Downgrade, Conversion, Mix (blend/bulk), or Sell Transaction screens.|
I am a tea Certificate Holder, what is my role in reporting traceability?
As a Certificate Holder you are required to report your activities (sales, purchases, confirmations, conversions, blends/bulks, manufacturing, redeeming, removing) on the Rainforest Alliance Certified product in your traceability account in the RACP.
What products are in scope of traceability?
Green leaf, made tea, tea blends and tea sub-products (extracts, powders, ready to drink, and other multi-ingredient products) from the camellia sinensis (tea) plant.
When do I report traceability?
Quarterly at the latest, as per requirements 2.2.1 and 2.2.3 of the standard. Some clients may request their suppliers to report more frequently.
How do I make sure I am compliant with my applicable traceability requirements?
We advise implementing a robust system of quarterly spot checks, verifying if a sample of incoming volumes matches with corresponding traceability documentation. This applies to all products carrying the Rainforest Alliance seal or to volumes linked to an off-pack claim.
Who is responsible for traceability?
Traceability is now established from farm Certificate Holder up to the final brand owner of the certified product. If the final brand owner is a retailer, traceability for the retailer is optional and can end with the packer / private label manufacturer if the retailer does not participate in traceability.
Farm and Supply Chain Certificate Holders need to comply with the traceability requirements (Chapter 2) in the Rainforest Alliance 2020 Sustainable Agriculture Standard, to become or remain certified and use the Rainforest Alliance trademarks. Consult Annex Chapter 2: Traceability for more information.
How do I access my traceability account to perform traceability?
To access your Rainforest Alliance 2020 account (ID RA_00000012345), log-in to the RACP: https://portal.ra.org/RA_Certification_Theme/Login
To access your Legacy pre-merger Rainforest Alliance & UTZ account (ID ME01_12345), log-in on MultiTrace: https://portal.ra.org/Portal.aspx
If you are not sure of what your username is, please contact us via the Live Chat feature in MultiTrace or else email us at email@example.com.
What data do I need to report a transaction in MultiTrace?
Certificate Holders can use different data points to perform an activity in the traceability platform MultiTrace. Some of those data points that will be needed are the following:
- Volumes (e.g., either sold volume or amount used as an input of a conversion)
- Type of tea (e.g., black, green, etc.)
- Buyer names
- Reference numbers (e.g., chop/garden invoice number)
- Selling marks
- Activity dates (e.g., a sales date or date of conversion)
- Conversion rate
What are selling marks and why are they important?
A selling mark is the name under which the factory sells its tea. Buyers use selling marks in their sourcing decisions and to identify which tea is certified.
Farm Certificate Holders need to add their selling marks in their traceability account. The selling marks need to correspond to the commercial documentation and are shared via a PowerBI platform with Supply Chain Actors holding a valid 2020 License. Only users that are added to an RACP account have access to the PowerBI report.
Find out more about selling marks on our Tea Selling Mark Guidance.
I am a farm Certificate Holder. How do I report a sale to my buyer?
A farm certificate holder needs to perform the following activities:
- Create your selling marks. (Section 19.B)
- Convert your ‘green leaf’ to ‘made tea’. The default conversion rate is 22%. This can be edited by the user within reason. (Section 8)
- Declare sales of Made tea. (Section 6.A)
More information can be found in the corresponding sections of the Traceability User Guidance Manual.
How do I declare a sale or purchase of tea through an auction?
Sales that are conducted through an auction should be declared by the producer to the buyer (trader, processor or packer), not to intermediaries.
Do auction brokers need to declare sales done through an action?
No, brokers are not in scope for traceability.
My buyer is purchasing green leaf, what am I required to do in MultiTrace?
As the seller, you need to send a sale transaction of ‘green leaf’. A conversion to made tea would not be required in this instance.
I am a Supply Chain Certificate Holder (trader, packer), what traceability activities do I need to report?
A supply chain actor may need to perform one or many of the following activities.:
- Sale of made tea or tea subproducts (Section 6.A)
- Blending or bulking of made tea (Section 19.B)
- Conversion of made tea to made tea subproducts, such as extracts or decaffeinated made tea (Section 8)
- Manufacturing of multi-ingredient products, such as ready to drink tea (Section 15)
- Redeeming or removing volumes (Sections 11 and 12)
More information can be found in the corresponding sections of the Traceability User Guidance Manual.
I am selling volumes of certified tea, but I don’t want the producer information to be visible in my transaction. What can I do?
You can hide the producer information to your buyer by downgrading your volumes to the ‘Segregation’ traceability level. Country origin will always be displayed and cannot be hidden.
How do I simplify reporting in my traceability account?
MultiTrace allows you to enable certain features to help reduce the number of activities when reporting traceability actions. More information can be found in the corresponding sections of the Traceability User Guidance Manual:
- Aggregate stock positions in the system, so volumes with certain parameters will be combined. If you have the Commodity Setting ‘Aggregate positions’ turned on in your traceability account, all incoming volumes of a particular selling mark and variety will combine into one stock position. (Section 14.A)
- You can also use the function ‘Trusted Trade Partner’. When accounts are indicated as Trusted, all transactions reported by those “trusted partners” will be automatically confirmed. (Section 5)
- To report a high number of transactions at once, you can use the Excel Upload function available on MultiTrace. (Section 16)
I am not receiving volumes from my supplier. What can I do?
Certificate holders are responsible for ensuring their suppliers are reporting traceability in the platform. The Rainforest Alliance has drafted a letter that you can use to reach out to your suppliers. If you have done so, but your suppliers are not transacting the volumes to your account, please reach out to the Rainforest Alliance via your account manager or to the Customer Success team for support.
My supplier has declared too much volume in a transaction, what can I do?
- You can reject the transaction if it has not already been confirmed and highlight to your supplier what should be transacted instead.
- You can reverse the transaction if it has already been confirmed and highlight to your supplier what should be transacted instead.
- You can also remove the volume from your stock position and declare it as non-certified.
My supplier has declared too little volume in a transaction, what can I do?
- You can reject the transaction if it has not already been confirmed.
- You can reverse the transaction if it has already been confirmed.
When is the Rainforest Alliance royalty fee generated?
The royalty fee is charged to the blender/processor only once in the supply chain.
From April 12th, 2023, the royalty fee is triggered by:
- Blending (under the Mix functionality)
- Converting Made Tea to Decaffeinated Made Tea
- Converting Made Tea to Instant Tea Powder
- Converting Made Tea to Instant Tea Liquor
- Converting Made Tea to a Multi-Ingredient product.
- Redeeming (if the royalty has not been triggered already in the supply chain)
More information can be found here.
My volumes of Rainforest Alliance Certified tea are still in Marketplace. How do I report these sales onwards to my buyers?
As of July 1, 2022, you are not able to report traceability in Marketplace anymore. For these volumes you are required to maintain traceability documentation in the following ways:
- On-site traceability requirements (as stipulated in chapter 2.1): this means following procedures that ensure Rainforest Alliance Certified volumes can be distinguished from non-certified volumes.
- Paper-based traceability: this means keeping copies of all documentation of purchases and sales of the certified product.
- Online traceability requirements as stipulated chapter 2.2 do not apply.
Guidance and upcoming trainings
Consult the Traceability User Guidance Manual for more information and to learn how to use MultiTrace and report traceability activities.
To learn more about the traceability requirements from the Rainforest Alliance 2020 certification program, consult the document Annex Chapter 2: Traceability (Previous Annex S06).
Further specific MultiTrace training resources will be provided on Sustainability Differential and Sustainability Investments. Keep an eye on our Event page for any upcoming webinars on Tea Traceability and Shared Responsibility.
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If you have any questions or need technical support, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.