Interested in purchasing products from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms? The first step is to get the Rainforest Alliance Chain of Custody certification.
What is chain of custody certification?
Chain of Custody certification tracks a product from a Rainforest Alliance certified farm through every step of the production process. It provides assurance that your products’ claims are accurate, and you can have full confidence in the integrity of your supply chain.
Chain of Custody certification will allow your company to easily source and sell products with the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal. It will help you meet the rising demand for more sustainable products. You’ll be able to access new markets, reduce your risks, and get support at the same time.
A company can seek Rainforest Alliance certification only if they are sourcing ingredients or plan to source ingredients that originate from a Rainforest Alliance Certified farm. You can explore sourcing options using our Certificate Search and Public Summaries.
How do I get chain of custody certification?
- Register in Marketplace, our traceability and trademark portal.
- Select “We buy Rainforest Alliance Certified product or product containing Rainforest Alliance Certified ingredients – or plan to in the near future – we do not have a Marketplace Account.”
- Fill out basic information about your company and click “Submit”.
- Your company is now registered; you’ll immediately receive an email with a link to establish your password so you can log in and and receive information on next steps.
- Next, the Rainforest Alliance will determine your eligibility. A company needs to go through the Chain of Custody certification process when it:
- Takes physical and/or legal possession of a product originating from a Rainforest Alliance Certified farm, and
- Makes promotional, on-package, or sales claims regarding the certified status of these products.
Eligible companies will be notified to complete a Chain of Custody Risk Assessment (CRA). The CRA is a series of questions about your business that helps us assess your risk. For example, companies that exclusively source Rainforest Alliance Certified products often score as lower risk; companies that mix certified and non-certified products generally score as higher risk. If your company does not need a Custody of Custody certification, we will update that information in your Marketplace account profile. You won’t receive a notification.
Please note that you can proceed with other activities in Marketplace, such as requesting a License Agreement and submitting a trademark request as soon as you have registered in Marketplace. You don’t need to wait for the Chain of Custody certification eligibility determination.
- We review your completed CRA. We also compare your CRA with records of your company’s compliance with traceability, trademarks, and licensing requirements. Note: Once you have submitted the CRA and completed payment, you may start handling or selling Rainforest Alliance Certified products as long as you are in compliance with Rainforest Alliance traceability and trademark guidelines. This is also stated in section 2.2c of the Chain of Custody policy.
- Next, we send you the results. This report will give you instructions for next steps:
- If your company is very low risk and does not require an audit, you will have to complete a CRA renewal each year to ensure your company remains in the very low risk category. Visit our guide on how to complete a CRA renewal for your company.
- Companies that get a “very low risk” result receive a Chain of Custody Endorsement. Congratulations! Your endorsement is valid for three years.
- For companies rated low, medium, or high risks, we will help you contact a Rainforest Alliance authorized certification body in your area for an audit. This certification body will audit your supply chain to see if you comply with the Rainforest Alliance Chain of Custody Standard and Policy. They will also review your company’s systems. If needed, they will look at trademarks and multi-site criteria.
- The certification body you choose will provide a schedule and budget for your audit. Based on your risk assessment, review the corresponding audit schedule below.
- After your audit, the certification body shares your results. If the results are positive, you’ll finalize any last payments and agreements. Your company is then issued a Chain of Custody certification.
- Chain of Custody certified companies are required to maintain compliance with our Chain of Custody Certification Standard throughout the duration of their certification.
Chain of custody certification audit schedule
This schedule covers the three-year Chain of Custody certification cycle.
|Risk Category||Certification Audit||1st Annual Audit||2nd Annual
|Very low risk||No audit|
|Low risk||On-site audit||No audit||No audit|
|Medium risk||On-site audit||Desk audit||No audit|
|High risk||On-site audit||On-site audit||Desk audit|
Rainforest Alliance and UTZ mutual recognition
We have mutual recognition for the Rainforest Alliance and UTZ Chain of Custody certifications. This means that you can source both Rainforest Alliance and UTZ certified products with only one annual audit. To learn more, visit our mutual recognition guidelines.
Transitioning to the 2020 Chain of Custody standard
In January 2021, we started the transition to the new Rainforest Alliance 2020 Certification Program. Existing partners can learn more about transitioning to the new program.
Want to learn more? You can read the Chain of Custody certification binding documents in our Resource Library.
Questions? Please email our team.