The Rainforest Alliance is transitioning all cocoa traceability to our new digital platform MultiTrace.
The MultiTrace platform provides farmers and companies with more efficiency and transparency. It supports them in the implementation of our new 2020 Certification Program and facilitates high-level reporting for their internal management and external communication.
MultiTrace supports a new and improved way of working between the Rainforest Alliance, farmers, and companies. Farmers and companies will have a single transactional system to record all purchases, sales, and conversions of the Rainforest Alliance and UTZ certified cocoa. The platform provides users with more information, tailored guidance, and a centralized system.
With the implementation of Full Mutual Recognition, the original program (UTZ or Rainforest Alliance) is no longer visible in the system, and all cocoa certified under either program is treated the same way, further simplifying the administrative process.
Our vision for traceability
Our vision is to create a link between volumes from individual farms and the final claim being made.
We aim to make full traceability possible from farm to final product, while allowing for flexibility to use the traceability level that best suits specific supply chains within our program (IP, MIX IP, SG, MB). This includes the launch of Origin Matching Mass Balance, which we see as the evolution and necessary next step in mass balance.
Traceability and MultiTrace platform
Traceability in MultiTrace brings a number of benefits to farmers and companies:
- Farmers and companies will have a single system in which to record all purchases, sales and conversions of Rainforest Alliance and UTZ certified cocoa, giving users a more efficient and effective mechanisms to meet the requirements of the Rainforest Alliance 2020 Sustainable Agriculture Standard.
- MultiTrace will facilitate high-level reporting for internal management and external communication.
- Companies can identify areas of risks or opportunities in the production of their raw materials. They can then work with the Rainforest Alliance to develop and implement programs at origin. This will allow them to deliver improvements and communicate about them publicly.
How does traceability in MultiTrace support the 2020 Certification Program and related innovations?
End-to-end traceability helps enable the following innovations:
The new standard introduces innovative requirements that aim to make supply chains more equitable. These shared responsibility requirements are made up of two components: the Sustainability Differential (SD) and Sustainability Investments (SI). Please see the Cocoa SD SI guidance for more details.
MultiTrace will enable the recording of the full SD and SI. This will give farmers and companies more clarity and transparency on what investments are made. This includes not only monetary transfers, but also in-kind services provided by the supply chain actors.
MultiTrace also aims to provide more transparency on SD and SI paid down the supply chain, enabling the supply chain actors to take more responsibility for their share in the investments needed for more sustainable cocoa production. It will also provide them with more certainty that their investments are effective and appropriate.
Origin Matching Mass Balance
We are introducing Origin Matching Mass Balance. Origin Matching Mass Balance applies to all three Rainforest Alliance programs: the new 2020 Program as well as previous Rainforest Alliance and UTZ programs. Being able to access and trade within all three programs in one platform makes it much easier for companies to origin match their transactions and provides more flexibility to spread out risks and matches across our different programs.
MultiTrace will also provide functionality that will make it easier to mix and sell volumes in compliance with origin matching requirements.
Lastly, reporting functionality will support companies in making sure they sell the right volumes for compliance.
The Rainforest Alliance allows four traceability levels: Origin Matching Mass Balance (MB), Segregated (SEG), Identity Preserved (IP), and Mixed IP. We are currently phasing out traditional mass balance. MultiTrace will allow companies to use the traceability level that best works for their operations and supply chain.
What are Identity Preserved, Segregated, Mass Balance, and Mixed Identity Preserved traceability levels?
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 or farm group. A volume that is traded as IP in MultiTrace will display the farm certificate holder information along the supply chain.
Segregated (SEG) means that the full product content is certified, although it can come from different certified sources/farms, including other countries of origin. Companies that do not wish to display producer information should downgrade from IP to Segregated either in the Conversion, Mix (blend/bulk), or Sell Transaction screens.
Mass balance (MB) is an administrative traceability level that allows a certificate holder to claim a product which is not certified as Rainforest Alliance Certified when the equivalent quantity was sourced as Rainforest Alliance Certified.
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.
Requirements for Cocoa Farmers and Companies
What does end-to-end traceability mean for you?
Companies need to comply with our new traceability requirements in order to continue to use the Rainforest Alliance seal.
Companies need to ensure compliance with their relevant current standard (Rainforest Alliance and/or UTZ) and –from July 1, 2021– the new 2020 Certification Program, including traceability requirements (see section 2.1 and 2.2 of the Supply Chain Requirements). Please read here how to transition the new program.
For which products do we provide traceability?
The traceable supply chain in MultiTrace is extended from the current traceability scope in Marketplace and GIP:
- We provide traceability from cocoa bean to final chocolate product.
- Certain retailers are now also in the scope of certification as important supply chain stakeholders. Go to this page to see which retailers should get Rainforest Alliance Certified.
As of July 1, 2021, this extended scope applies to all three Rainforest Alliance programs: the new 2020 Program as well as previous Rainforest Alliance and UTZ programs. See here how to transition to the new program.
What actions are needed by cocoa companies and farmers to demonstrate traceability in MultiTrace?
- Farm certificate holders are required to sell their volumes in MultiTrace in accordance with the appropriate standard.
- All certificate holders—farmers and companies—will need to log in and announce the sales, purchases, conversions, blends/mixes, manufacturing activities in the traceability platform within the timelines required by our new program. They are also required to indicate the end of the traceable supply chain by “redeeming” their cocoa products in MultiTrace.
- Companies must implement a robust system of spot checks verifying that a sample of incoming volumes matches with corresponding traceability documentation for products labeled with our seal or claimed (incl. off-pack) as Rainforest Alliance Certified.
Transition to MultiTrace platform
What do farmers and companies need to do in order to transition from GIP or Marketplace to MultiTrace?
UTZ Certified producers and companies:
- We will migrate data for UTZ certified producers and companies from Good Inside Portal (GIP) to MultiTrace.
- GIP will be frozen to prepare for migration. This means that during this period you won’t be able to access GIP.
- If you have unconfirmed transactions in GIP, please close these transactions before the freeze period as unconfirmed transactions will not be migrated to MultiTrace.
- During the freeze period we will transition all your UTZ stock from GIP to your new account in MultiTrace. We will not merge these two accounts as part of this process. This will be done as part of the registration process. Please see how to transition to the new program.
- After the data migration you will be able to log into your MultiTrace account to get access to your volumes.
Rainforest Alliance Certified producers and companies:
- We will migrate data for Rainforest Alliance Certified producers and companies from Marketplace to MultiTrace.
- Marketplace will be frozen to prepare for migration. This means that during this period you won’t be able to access Marketplace.
- Please make sure the data you have in Marketplace is up to date before the freeze period as any transactions that are not approved will not be migrated to MultiTrace.
- During the freeze period we will transition all your Rainforest Alliance stock (Transaction Certificates) to your new account in MultiTrace. We will not merge these two accounts as part of this process. This will be done as part of the registration process. Please see how to transition to the new program.
- After the data migration you will be able to log into your MultiTrace account to get access to your volumes.
Will I still be able to access my volumes in GIP or Marketplace after the migration to MultiTrace?
After the migration you will only be able to view GIP or Marketplace in a read-only mode for traceability. You will not be able to perform any traceability related actions in the system.
Will my transaction history be migrated?
Available volume balances from GIP and Marketplace will be migrated. Individual transaction history will not be migrated, but the original systems will be open for read-only access.
What will change after transitioning to MultiTrace?
As part of the new 2020 Certification Program and the new standard (applicable to all users from July 1, 2021 onward)
- Retail will be added to the supply chain certification scope.
- First buyers must record Sustainability Differential and Sustainability Investments separately. This will include “agreed to be paid” and actually “paid”.
- The traceability scope will be extended to multi-ingredient products. Users will need to start converting to multi-ingredient products (chocolate) and buying/selling these products.
For MultiTrace users that have previously been using Marketplace (Rainforest Alliance program)
- It will become mandatory to choose the “Redeem” option to indicate the end of the traceable supply chain.
- Transaction Certificates will be submitted as transactions from stock.
- Companies will have to confirm transactions in the platform.
- Companies will be able to directly downgrade from one traceability level to another in the platform.
For MultiTrace users that have previously been using Good Inside Portal (UTZ program)
- “Trace” will become “Redeem”.
- “Butter Full Premium” option will be discontinued and converted to “Cocoa butter”.
- There will be a possibility to mix cocoa of different origins from cocoa liquor onward.
What is a transaction?
A transaction is the movement of volumes between two actors in the supply chain. That can be from producer to a buyer, or from a trader to a manufacturer or blender or packer. Each transaction needs to be announced and confirmed. There are many settings in MultiTrace, such as mandating & trusting which make that easier for the parties involved (e.g. there is no confirmation needed if the two parties of a trade “trust” each other in the system).
What is a stock position?
A stock position is a volume type, that a supply chain actor owns, and which is reflected in MultiTrace. Companies will be able to aggregate stock positions in the platform, so volumes with certain parameters will be combined.
How do I report data in MultiTrace?
Users will log in to MultiTrace and use different data points to perform an activity in the platform. 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)
- Buyer names
- Reference numbers (e.g. invoice number)
- Activity dates (e.g. a sales date or date of conversion)
- Conversion rate
Every company will be able to perform these activities in MultiTrace. Companies with high numbers of transactions will be able to provide an Excel spreadsheet in a designated format for uploading to the platform. During the upload the system will be able to match the data being asked by MultiTrace with the data in the file provided by the company.
What resources are available to you?
We will soon offer MultiTrace user guidance and let you know about the steps you need to take after the transition has been completed. You will receive a link via email to register for the webinars.
As actors transition to the new 2020 Certification Program, further specific MultiTrace training resources will be provided (i.e. on multi-ingredient reporting, redeeming, removing, Sustainability Differential and Sustainability Investments).
What is the timeline for migration to MultiTrace platform?
Producers and companies working with UTZ certified cocoa:
- The migration of traceability data from the Good Inside Portal (GIP) into MultiTrace is completed.
Producers and companies working with Rainforest Alliance Certified cocoa:
- We will migrate traceability data for producers and companies working with Rainforest Alliance Certified cocoa from Marketplace to MultiTrace from December 22 to January 3.
- From December 22 onwards, the cocoa traceability section in Marketplace will be frozen to prepare for the migration. This means that during and after this period you will only be able to view the cocoa traceability area of Marketplace in read-only mode. You will not be able to perform any cocoa traceability related actions in the system anymore. Other sections of Marketplace, like Labelling & Trademarks, will remain accessible.
- See also: What happens during system freezes?
What happens during system freezes?
Marketplace: Only the traceability part for cocoa will be in “read-only” mode during system freeze and after. We will migrate traceability data for producers and companies working with Rainforest Alliance Certified cocoa from Marketplace to MultiTrace from December 22 to January 3. From December 22 onwards, the cocoa traceability section in Marketplace will be frozen to prepare for the migration.
MultiTrace: Traceability for crops in MultiTrace (hazelnuts, tea, and UTZ certified coffee and cocoa) will be unavailable when migrating cocoa from Marketplace. MultiTrace will be temporarily frozen from December 27, 2021 to January 3, 2022.
Registration for the new standard in the RACP will remain unaffected.
Multi-ingredient traceability for cocoa
What is multi-ingredient traceability?
MultiTrace functionality enables users to convert pure cocoa products (such as beans, liquor, butter, powder) to multi-ingredient products where the pure cocoa ingredient is mixed to create (semi-) finished products such as chocolate. When conversion is required, users indicate the cocoa content and non-cocoa content of a product and in doing so create a “multi-ingredient product” in MultiTrace.
MultiTrace further enables buying and selling of multi-ingredient products, until the final brand owner.
Annex Chapter 2: Traceability requires full traceability for multi-ingredient products in the traceability portal up until the brand owner. This means that for all multi-ingredient products sold to another Certificate Holder up to the brand owner level, a sales transaction must be entered in MultiTrace.
When do I have to start converting cocoa products to multi-ingredient products in MultiTrace?
All companies will need to be fully compliant with multi-ingredient cocoa traceability requirements by January 1, 2023.
To be fully compliant with the multi-ingredient requirements in Annex Chapter 2: Traceability, shipments of multi-ingredient cocoa products (e.g., B2B semi-finished chocolate, B2B use finished chocolate) taking place on or after January 1, 2023 require multi-ingredient transaction entries in MultiTrace. The different steps to create, maintain and trade multi-ingredient products are explained in our MultiTrace User Guidance for Cocoa Traceability.
This means that every multi-ingredient cocoa shipment needs to be entered in MultiTrace up until the brand owner. Volumes may only be redeemed once they reach the final brand owner (with the exception of retailers who can opt-in to traceability).
While it is not mandatory before January 1, 2023, we encourage companies to start registering multi-ingredient conversions and sales as soon as possible.
We also ask that companies continue converting, buying and selling multi-ingredient cocoa products if they are already doing so.
Do I also have to convert UTZ cocoa volumes to multi-ingredient products?
Yes, this includes UTZ cocoa volumes, which are now considered Rainforest Alliance volumes after the implementation of Mutual Recognition.
If the volumes have already been traced or redeemed prior to January 1, 2023, then these volumes do not require multi-ingredient traceability in MultiTrace. Users can continue to follow UTZ requirements and keep track of these volumes in a credit account. As the volumes are used during production, they can be removed from the credit account.
Please note that with the implementation of Full Mutual Recognition on January 31, 2022, UTZ volumes can no longer be identified as such in MultiTrace.
I was exempt from using a credit account because I was sourcing exclusively UTZ certified cocoa volumes and not purchasing any conventional cocoa. What will I need to do?
UTZ certified companies that had not previously needed to maintain a credit account (as per UTZ Chain of Custody, Control Point 19) will also need to start providing traceability on multi-ingredient cocoa volumes starting January 1, 2023 if they are in scope for multi-ingredient cocoa according to Annex Chapter 2: Traceability. Until then, companies are required to demonstrate compliance with their current exception by proving to the Certification Body that they source 100% UTZ or Rainforest Alliance Certified cocoa. We also encourage these companies to implement multi-ingredient traceability as soon as possible and before January 1, 2023.
Do I have to convert credits that are currently only available in my UTZ credit account to MultiTrace volumes? How do I ensure traceability in MultiTrace on these volumes when they have already been traced or redeemed?
It is not possible to create credits in MultiTrace for volumes that have already been traced or redeemed. These volumes may continue to be tracked in a credit account outside the system.
If the volumes were traced or redeemed prior to January 1, 2023 and are tracked in a credit account, they do not require multi-ingredient traceability in MultiTrace. Users can continue to follow UTZ requirements and trace these volumes in a credit account.
I have a lot of UTZ credits in my credit account and will not be able to sell them all before January 1, 2023. What happens to these credits after January 1, 2023?
We advise companies to sell all credits from their credit account as soon as possible and ahead of the January 1, 2023 deadline. Companies converting from pure cocoa products to non-pure (multi-ingredient) cocoa products should not be adding new credits to their credit account. We intend to transition out of dual administration (in MultiTrace and in the credit account) quickly, to ease the administrative burden on the industry.
We therefore recommend the following:
- Multi-Ingredient functionality is already available in MultiTrace. We recommend that companies start using this functionality as soon as possible.
- In Q1, 2022:
- Companies certified against the UTZ program may continue to redeem volumes when creating multi-ingredient products as per UTZ requirements.
- Companies certified against the 2017 Rainforest Alliance SAS should continue providing traceability on multi-ingredient products.
- Since Full Mutual Recognition makes the specific program invisible to users in MultiTrace, companies already providing multi-ingredient traceability should continue reporting cocoa traceability in the MultiTrace portal, regardless of which program it may have originated from.
- In Q2, 2022, we recommend that all UTZ certified companies stop redeeming products when converting from pure cocoa to multi-ingredient products and start providing full traceability on multi-ingredient products (such as chocolate). This will help the industry prepare for the firm deadline of January 1, 2023 and facilitates the movement of old credits out of credit accounts.
- Credit accounts may be used side-by-side with MultiTrace traceability until July 1, 2023. This allows companies sufficient time to move credits out of their credit account. In order to prevent potential losses, we recommend that you stop redeeming products and start converting to multi-ingredient in MultiTrace immediately. If you can demonstrate that you have started multi-ingredient traceability immediately but are still at risk of losing credits in your credit account in 2023, please contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am buying from a company that has already redeemed the volumes prior to January 1, 2023 and can therefore not create a sales transaction for me in MultiTrace. Am I still compliant? What can I tell my customers?
If your supplier has already redeemed the volumes and tracked the multi-ingredient products in a credit account, then they are compliant. They may sell these volumes to you as long as you keep track of these credits in a credit account as well. This also applies to your customers.
We will allow credit accounts to run side-by-side with MultiTrace traceability until July 1, 2023. This should allow companies sufficient time to move credits out of their credit account. If this leads to potential losses, we recommend that you stop redeeming products and start converting to multi-ingredient in MultiTrace immediately. If you can demonstrate that you have started multi-ingredient traceability immediately but are still at risk of losing credits, please contact us directly at email@example.com.
Will credit accounts be audited after January 1, 2023?
Supply Chain Certificate Holders have been and are required to maintain documentation on inputs and outputs, including the outputs they have processed (see requirements 2.1.6 and 2.1.9 of the Supply Chain Requirements.) Inputs and outputs refer to both pure and mixed ingredient products. Therefore, companies are required to provide evidence of compliance during the audit in the form of a credit account and/or any additional paper documentation.
I am already converting my cocoa products to chocolate (multi-ingredient products) because I have been buying and selling 2017 Rainforest Alliance SAS cocoa. Should I stop converting cocoa products to chocolate between now and January 1, 2023?
No. To reduce administrative burden, we encourage companies to continue converting, buying, and selling multi-ingredient cocoa products if they are already doing so.
If I am the final brand owner manufacturing an end-product. Do I have to “manufacture” all my pure cocoa products to multi-ingredient products in MultiTrace before I redeem my volumes?
According to Annex Chapter 2 “For activities such as processing that result in a change of the certified volume (e.g. green to roasted coffee), the volume must be converted (in the platform) before it is redeemed or sold onward. For activities such as manufacturing that result in a different product (e.g. multi-ingredient product) but do not result in a change of the certified volume, if volumes are redeemed the SC CH is not required to perform the platform activity “manufacture” prior to redeeming.”
Please refer to Annex Chapter 2 for more information on whether you are the final brand owner. If you are a retailer please also refer to Sharing Responsibility Through the Entire Supply Chain: Retail and Foodservice Companies Are Now Included.
If I receive multi-ingredient product in the MultiTrace platform before January 1, 2023, do I have to accept this product? Do I have to sell this onwards as chocolate if I am not the final brand owner?
Preferably yes. If you receive multi-ingredient product before January 1, 2023, you can confirm this transaction in MultiTrace. January 1, 2023 is the mandatory start date for compliance with the multi-ingredient requirements, but we encourage compliance before January 1 to make sure supply chains are sufficiently prepared.
If not the final brand owner, you may redeem multi-ingredient products before January 1, 2023, however from January 1, 2023 you must sell these products onwards (report a sale transaction in MultiTrace.)
If I signed a contract for a multi-ingredient product before January 2023, do I still need to be compliant with the multi-ingredient requirements?
Yes. Multi-ingredient traceability is required for all shipments taking place on or after January 1, 2023, regardless of when the contract was originally signed.
Do I have to create a multi-ingredient product every time I convert pure cocoa products to multi-ingredient products?
No. The product position only needs to be created once, and volumes can simply be added to that product position after that. You can find more information about creating different multi-ingredient stock positions in our MultiTrace User Guidance for Cocoa Traceability under section 5. Multi-Ingredients Traceability.