The Rainforest Alliance is transitioning all tea traceability to our new digital platform, called MultiTrace in order for companies to continue to use the Rainforest Alliance seal.
Our vision for end-to-end traceability
Our vision is to link volumes from individual farms to the final claim being made.
Why is traceability needed? How does it fit into the Rainforest Alliance’s vision and mission?
Traceability will bring a number of benefits to producers and companies:
- Producers and companies will have a single transactional system to record all purchases and sales of Rainforest Alliance and UTZ certified tea, which also facilitates high level reporting for internal management, and for external disclosure, for example against the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
- These users will also have more efficient and effective mechanisms to meet their chain of custody requirements.
- They can identify areas where there are risks or opportunities in the production of their raw materials, and work with the Rainforest Alliance to develop and implement programs at origin to deliver improvements and further narratives to be used in their marketing.
How does end-to-end traceability and MultiTrace support our new certification program and related innovations?
The Rainforest Alliance 2020 Sustainable Agriculture Standard aims to increase the accuracy and credibility of tracing certified product from farm to shelf for all supply chain actors. 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, and Sustainability Investments.
End-to-end traceability helps enable these innovations. Find out more about Shared Responsibility within the new program here.
REQUIREMENTS FOR TEA PRODUCERS & 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 (pre-merger Rainforest Alliance and/or UTZ) and – once it becomes applicable – the new 2020 Certification Program, including traceability requirements (see section 2.1 and 2.2 of the Supply Chain Requirements). The rules for transitioning to implementing the new Standard can be found here.
Note that with the launch of MultiTrace for tea, current practice and historical derogations or exemptions on tea traceability and its relation to the Chain of Custody certification will be coming to an end in 2021.
What products are we aiming to trace?
Green leaf, made tea, tea blends, tea sub-products (extracts, powders, ready to drink, etc.) from the camellia sinensis (tea) plant.
This does not include rooibos and herbal teas.
What actions are needed by tea companies and producers to demonstrate traceability in MultiTrace?
- Companies will be responsible to ensure their suppliers are reporting information in the platform.
- Certificate holders—producers and companies—will need to log in and announce the sales, purchases, conversions, blends/bulks, manufacturing activities in the traceability application at least every quarter.
- Companies must implement a robust system of quarterly spot checks verifying a sample of incoming volumes matches with corresponding traceability documentation for products labeled with our seal or claimed (off-pack, etc.) as Rainforest Alliance Certified.
How are we enabling end-to-end traceability for our tea partners?
What is MultiTrace?
MultiTrace is a continuously improving platform to provide value to the sustainability community to achieve its goals. MultiTrace consists of a traceability application and a certification application. The tea traceability application will be launched soon so that volumes can be reported along the supply chain. For the new Rainforest Alliance 2020 Certification Program, we are developing a new version of the certification part of MultiTrace.
What does MultiTrace provide?
At the moment, MultiTrace supports the certification process for some pre-merger UTZ programs. Traceability is currently supported for pre-merger UTZ coffee & hazelnut, and soon Rainforest Alliance and UTZ certified tea. Other crops will follow.
What does MultiTrace not provide?
- A link to company systems for individual lot level purchase/sale transactions
- Trademark approvals or licensing/certification in MultiTrace for tea
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 the system, 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.
How do I report data in MultiTrace?
Users will log in to MultiTrace and use different data points to perform an activity in the system. 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
A company will be able to perform these activities in the system or will be able to provide an Excel spreadsheet in a designated format for uploading in the system. This Excel upload will be able to map the data being asked by the MultiTrace Excel template to a company’s method of inputting data in their system.
What are the next steps?
We will launch the MultiTrace tea traceability system in December, so that producers of Rainforest Alliance Certified tea and all participating actors selling UTZ certified tea can start to record their transactions in MultiTrace from the fourth quarter of 2020. Blenders and other companies selling Rainforest Alliance Certified tea will start using the system in 2021 once they have stocks in their accounts as reported by their suppliers. MultiTrace training will be provided in multiple languages via webinars and user guidelines.
We are excited about entering this next phase of our sustainable tea program and feel confident in our ability to deliver greater value to you and your customers. We very much look forward to continuing our sustainability journey with you and appreciate your support of the Rainforest Alliance.
If you have any questions or need technical support, please email email@example.com.