Despite efforts to increase environmental sustainability over the years, some intensive agriculture models are still dependent on Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs). The objective of this policy, alongside the 2020 Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Agriculture Standard requirements, is to support producers on their journey to phasing these out, as they are considered the most toxic pesticides used in agriculture. We are doing so by granting limited exceptions to specific crop, pest, and country combination scenarios where no feasible alternatives to HHPs are available. At the same time, we require producers to take measures to mitigate and compensate for the negative impacts these pesticides have on people and the environment. The details and conditions of each exception are included here.
This policy was developed through an extensive, thorough, and context-specific technical analysis of the use of HHPs. The analysis was carried out by the Rainforest Alliance Integrated Pest Management (IPM) team and an external panel of experts made up of scientists and technical experts with extensive knowledge of sustainable production and global expertise in the Rainforest Alliance key agricultural sectors. Further contextualization was possible thanks to Homologa®, the Global Crop Protection database, which offers detailed country information on registered pesticides and Maximum Residue Limits. Third party studies for collecting and validating data were also conducted in Brazil for coffee and oranges and in Colombia for coffee, bananas, and flowers.
This policy will be updated every six months following the process and timelines below.
* Please consider that in line with our vision and strategy, we will not grant exceptions to paraquat, fipronil, or active ingredients listed in the prohibited list of the Rotterdam Convention, Stockholm Convention, or Montreal Protocol classification.
Exceptional Use Policy process
The Exceptional Use Policy is built upon requests from certified producers (see procedure for submitting a request below) to use pesticides that are included on the List of Prohibited Pesticides (Annex 7). Those requests are processed and analyzed considering the specific crop and country context, including pest relevance, other non-chemical control methods availability and efficacy, and registered alternatives for the specific crop in the country. Final decisions require a majority vote from the internal IPM team and an external panel of experts.
Regular updates of the policy will be conducted every six months, after taking into consideration the requests received during the previous semester; e.g.:
- Version 1 is developed from January to June 2021 and includes requests received from July 1st, 2020 to December 31st, 2020. This version will be published by June 2021.
- Version 1.1 is developed from July to December 2021 and includes requests received from January 1st, 2021 to June 30st, 2021. This version will be published by December 2021.
Timelines are explained in the following image:
Procedure for submitting a request
For a formal request, producers need to submit the following information to firstname.lastname@example.org:
- Country and Region
- Name of the pesticide’s active ingredient and details of formulation
- Name of the commercial product in use
- Crop (common and scientific name)
- Pest species to be controlled (common and scientific names)
- Evidence that the specific pest species cannot currently be managed by other methods included in the producer’s IPM strategy (e.g., cultural or other nonchemical methods)
- Evidence that other alternatives to control this pest species are not registered by the local authority in the specific production country
- Alternatives the producer is working on
The template for requests is available at Template for Requests for Exceptional Use of Pesticides.
If you are submitting an emergency request outside of the regular Exceptional Use Framework, please indicate so explicitly in the email.
Overview of the received requests and results
Below you will find information on the received/processed requests, and when available, final decisions.
The Rainforest Alliance 2020 Prohibited list follows the FAO/WHO Guidelines on Highly Hazardous Pesticides. These guidelines include the following criteria:
- WHO Category 1A: Extremely hazardous for human health or 1B: Highly hazardous for human health
- Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS), Known or presumed carcinogenic (Categories 1A and 1B)
- Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS), Known or presumed mutagenic (Categories 1A and 1B)
- Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS), Known or presumed to be reproductive toxicant (Categories 1A and 1B)
- Montreal Protocol, Ozone-depleting substances
- Rotterdam convention (as contained in Annex III of the Convention and subject to the PIC procedure)
- Stockholm Convention, Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)
- Severe effects: pesticide active ingredients and formulations that have shown a high incidence of severe or irreversible adverse effects on human health or the environment as interpreted by the Rainforest Alliance.