After years of hard work and collaboration, we are proud to say that we have now published our new certification program, including the new the Sustainable Agriculture Standard for farmers and companies.
Developed with input from more than 1,000 people in nearly 50 countries, representing more than 200 organizations, our new program builds on our combined 45 years of certification experience. It consists of the Sustainable Agriculture Standard with requirements for farms and supply chains, a new assurance system, and an array of specially developed tools to measure progress towards sustainability objectives.
“This ambitious and innovative certification program is part of the Rainforest Alliance’s strategy of collaboration with farmers, companies, implementing partners, and third-party auditors, as well as other NGOs, governments, and consumers,” said Alex Morgan, chief markets officer at the Rainforest Alliance. “Only together can we restore the balance between people and nature and create a world where we thrive together,” he added.
What’s new in the 2020 Certification Program?
The program is made up of three principal components that work closely with each other:
- The Sustainable Agriculture Standard, which outlines our requirements for sustainable farming and responsible supply chain practices.
- The Assurance System, which includes our rules for compliance and auditing.
- A set of data systems and tools to help users better track and manage sustainability performance.
Before diving into the new standard, read our introduction, and then check out several key innovations:
- Shared responsibility: We are shifting to a system where both the value and the risks associated with sustainable production are shared between farmers and companies.
- Climate-smart agriculture: Climate-smart agriculture is an approach that combines various sustainable methods to tackle the specific climate challenges of a specific farming community, system, or crop.
- Human rights: We are introducing a new, risk-based approach called assess-and-address which will incentivize farm owners to tackle human rights issues rather than hiding them.
- Deforestation: We are going further to safeguard our remaining forests and other natural ecosystems and increase native biodiversity and vegetation on farms. Our new program not only prohibits deforestation but also the destruction of all natural ecosystems, including wetlands and peatlands—meaning more land will be protected.
- Conserving Biodiversity: Biodiversity conservation is woven throughout the new standard with several criteria aimed at both preventing negative impacts from farming on biodiversity as well as fostering positive ones.
- Living wage / Living Income*: Several new measures, including the introduction of Sustainability Differentials and Sustainability Investments, work towards a world where farmers can earn a “living income” and workers can earn a “living wage”.
- Continuous Improvement*: Sustainability doesn’t end when a certificate is awarded—our new standard will empower farmers to adopt a model of continuous improvement where they will be able to set targets most beneficial for their unique context.
- Risk-based requirements and assurance*: New in-depth risk assessments of the social and environmental risks to sustainable agricultural will help guide producers and companies on where to focus their improvements for maximum impact.
*One-sheet coming in early July
What happens next?
From September 2020, we will begin rolling out the new program around the world through a comprehensive global training program and supporting technology systems. Audits against the 2020 Sustainable Agriculture Standard will begin from July 2021. For a more detailed timeline including information for businesses in the current Rainforest Alliance and UTZ certification programs, take a look at this page.
Ready to learn more?
Watch the recording of our business webinar ” Introduction to the Rainforest Alliance 2020 Certification Program” (recorded on July 9, 2020) that will walk you through the features of the new program.
If you have any questions, reach out to your regular Rainforest Alliance contact or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.