With the new Rainforest Alliance Certification Program based on the 2020 Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Agriculture Standard, we are placing more emphasis on sharing responsibility throughout the entire supply chain. From farmer to brand owner, we encourage all actors to invest in sustainable agriculture and responsible purchasing practices.
Going forward, retail and foodservice companies that act as brand owners for Rainforest Alliance Certified products will be required to register for our program. With these actors coming on board, and with traceability being extended to all brand owners of certified products, we will be better able to share data on investments and impact on farm level, share better insights into sustainability risks for specific supply chains, and improve assurance around a broad range of responsible sourcing areas.
This data-based approach will contribute to strengthening the credibility of the Rainforest Alliance seal among consumers and other stakeholders.
Retail and foodservice companies that need to register
Retail and foodservice companies that are considered brand owners of Rainforest Alliance Certified products need to get registered for the new program. Retail and foodservice companies are considered a Brand Owner for all their private label products, but also for non-branded products sold through the company’s sales channels. Non-branded products are mainly fresh produce that does not show a logo or brand name on the product itself.
If a company only sells Rainforest Alliance Certified products for which other companies are the brand owner (all A-brands for instance), there is no need to register.
Our decision tree can help you understand which companies need to get certified.
Entities that need to register and registration possibilities
We are aware that retail and foodservice companies often consist of different entities, such as national subsidiaries. Some of these entities will actively manage the purchasing of Rainforest Alliance Certified crops or products, while other entities will only sell finished consumer products and use the Rainforest Alliance seal or claims in their off-pack communication.
To limit administrative burden, we only require those entities that are directly responsible for purchasing certified volumes, those that manage supplier contracts and relations directly, to register so they can obtain a supply chain certificate and a traceability account.
These companies are invited to register in the Rainforest Alliance Certification Platform (RACP).
Entities that do not manage the purchasing of certified products but wish to use the Rainforest Alliance seal or claims in off-pack communication or that are responsible for submitting labeling approval requests for on-pack claims are also required to register to obtain a trademark approval account. These may include stores, subsidiaries, franchisees, online channels, or cafes selling the products to consumers.
These entities do not need to obtain a certificate or a traceability account, but they will be required to either sign the Rainforest Alliance Legal Agreement or to link to the Legal Agreement signed by their headquarters, if they are listed as a subsidiary. The entity will then receive an account in the trademark approval system, through which they can upload all communication material using the Rainforest Alliance trademarks or claims.
Any other entities that are selling Rainforest Alliance Certified products (even with on-pack Rainforest Alliance trademarks), but do not manage purchasing activities for these and do not use the Rainforest Alliance seal or claims in off-pack communication, do not need to register at all.
During the registration process the company will provide information on its business, the Rainforest Alliance Certified crops it purchases, and its activities. Based on this information, the company will need to comply with a specific set of requirements from the Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Agriculture Standard. It is important to note that if a retail entity/location is performing additional activities within the supply chain (processing, warehousing, etc.) they may need to comply with an additional set of requirements.
The verification level refers to how often and what review processes are needed to assess the risk of a specific entity (referred to as location or site). This verification can range from an internal Rainforest Alliance review of the ceThe verification level as seen below refers to how often and what review processes are needed to assess the risk of a specific entity (referred to as location or site). This verification can range from an internal Rainforest Alliance review of the certification profile of an organization, to a site audit carried out by a Certification Body.
The verification process allows companies to obtain a supply chain certificate, which will be issued through the Rainforest Alliance system. For more information on the verification process, please read our page on Supply Chain Risk Assessment.
Generally, retail and foodservice companies fall under Verification Level A. This means that the Rainforest Alliance issues a license and certificate after the self-assessment process is completed, and no audit with an external certification body is required. An entity or location of a retail or foodservice company will fall into Verification Level B if it is directly responsible for Sustainability Differential (SD) or Sustainability Investment (SI) requirements. If a company includes activities other than retail in its certification scope, other Verification Levels might apply, depending on the activity (e.g., processing). If Verification Level B or higher apply, the entity will work with a certification body and receive an audit according to their verification level. The Rainforest Alliance will issue a license after a positive certification decision and a certificate are issued by the corresponding Certification Body.
Online traceability account
A valid supply chain certificate and license allow the certificate holder to obtain and have access to an online traceability account that can be used for the crops in their certification scope.
In the traceability systems, retail and foodservice companies will receive and confirm transactions from their suppliers for certified volumes purchase, though only for their private label products or non-branded products. The Rainforest Alliance will also share reports on investments and impact on farm-level, linked to the traceability data provided by each company.
For any questions on traceability please contact your Rainforest Alliance account manager or the Customer Success Team.
Trademark approval account
Any entity that is using Rainforest Alliance trademarks or claims off-pack in their communication or that is responsible for
Any entity that is using Rainforest Alliance trademarks or claims off-pack in their communication or that is responsible for submitting labeling approval for packaging also needs to register even if they are not required to get certified. After registration, it will receive an account in the trademark approval system. This system is Marketplace 2.0 for all crops.