In addition to these FAQs about our transitioning to the 2020 Sustaianble Agriculture Standard, we also have specific FAQs for other areas within our 2020 Certification Program:
FAQ: transition period
Who are the Transition Rules applicable to?
The Transition Rules are applicable to Transitioning Certificate Holders – those certificate holders that are already certified under the current UTZ or Rainforest Alliance Certification Programs and wish to continue being certified under the Rainforest Alliance 2020 Certification Program. This includes all certified certificate holders, whether they have farming in scope (farms, producer groups, etc.) or are further downstream in the supply chain (traders, roasters, retailers, etc.).
What is meant by the term "Certification Program"?
A Certification Program is the sum of all standard requirements, assurance documents, and certification, traceability and other platforms, guidance documents, policies, training materials, etc.
Which Standard requirements apply to me as a Certificate Holder, and when?
The current UTZ or Rainforest Alliance Standard Requirements are in force until June 30th, 2021. The Rainforest Alliance 2020 Standard Requirements enter into force on July 1st, 2021. For certificate holders at farm level only core requirements of the Rainforest Alliance 2020 Standard will enter into force in July 2021. Smart meters will become mandatory from July 1st, 2022 onwards. For supply chain actors all Rainforest Alliance 2020 Standard Requirements will become mandatory from July 2021.
At registration farms/groups and companies will provide profile information regarding the scope of their activities and the level of risk in the context where they operate. Based on this information the Rainforest Alliance system will provide each applicant with a customised list of the applicable requirements. This means that you do not need to work out which standard requirements apply to you; the Rainforest Alliance system will do this for you based on the information you provide when you register in the system.
I have an UTZ/Rainforest Alliance certificate. Does that mean I am certified under the Rainforest Alliance 2020 Standard?
No, being certified under the current UTZ or Rainforest Alliance certification programs does not mean you are or will be certified under the Rainforest Alliance 2020 Certification Program.
Your current certificate will remain valid until you obtain your Transition Certificate. If you do not transition, your current certificate will not remain valid after July 1st, 2022.
My current UTZ/Rainforest Alliance certificate is valid until 2023. Do I still need a Transition Certificate?
Yes, all certificate holders that wish to transition to the Rainforest Alliance 2020 Certification Program will have to Register in the Rainforest Alliance Certification Platform before the end of 2021. Once you are registered you must obtain a Transition Certificate before December 2021, even if under the current certification program no audit would be necessary in this period. Once you receive your transition certificate, which is valid for one year, your existing certificate will be cancelled. You can use a webtool (expected publication in July/August 2020) on the Rainforest Alliance website to understand the steps you need to take during the transition period.
How do I maintain my Rainforest Alliance certification throughout the Transition Period?
To maintain your certification during the Transition Period, you will need to do these 4 steps:
- Maintain/renew your current UTZ and/or Rainforest Alliance certificate between July 2020 and June 2021 as usual.
- Register in the Rainforest Alliance 2020 Certification Platform and indicate your current certification(s).
- Obtain a one-year Transition Certificate between July 2021 and December 2022.
- Obtain a full Certificate against the Rainforest Alliance 2020 Certification Program after July 2022.
Do I still need to get audited against the current standard?
Most transitioning certificate holders will still have to be audited against the current standard once between July 2020 and June 2021.
For each transitioning certificate holder, the timelines for this last audit against the current standard/ current Certification Program depend on which Certification Program your organization is currently certified against, what type of certification you have, and when that certification expires. These precise timelines are described in this document to ensure the capacity of the Rainforest Alliance and the Certification Bodies to cater for all three certification programs during the Transition Period. Each certificate holder can find out whether in 2021 it must undergo an audit against the current standard or the 2020 standard applicable to it, by consulting the Transition Web Tool (publication on the Rainforest Alliance website in July-August 2020.
How do I obtain a one-year Transition Certificate?
A one-year Transition Certificate can be obtained in two ways:
- For most certificate holders (all farming certificate holders), you will have to register in the Rainforest Alliance Certification Platform and undergo a Transition Period Audit. If successful, an Authorized Certification Body will issue the Transition Certificate
- For a few certificate holders (mostly those that have an endorsement under the current Rainforest Alliance or an audit-exempt license under the current UTZ Certification Programs), you will have to register in the Rainforest Alliance Certification Platform, undergo a Risk Assessment, and if eligible, can apply for an Endorsement. If the endorsement is granted, the Rainforest Alliance will issue the Transition Certificate. If you are not eligible for an endorsement, you will have to undergo a Transition Period Audit.
I already have an account in MultiTrace/Salesforce/GIP/Marketplace. Do I need to register again for the Rainforest Alliance 2020 Certification Program?
Yes, all certificate holders have to make a new registration for the Rainforest Alliance 2020 Certification Program in the Rainforest Alliance Certification Platform. The new Certification Platform allows you to manage your accounts and certificates more easily and to keep better traceability of the certified products in the supply chain. It is important that during the registration process you indicate all your existing UTZ and/or Rainforest Alliance accounts to maintain access to your legacy volumes.
Until when can I use the legacy volumes?
You can use these volumes as long as you maintain Rainforest Alliance Certification. The volumes certified under current Certification Programs have expiry dates and will not be deemed certified after those expiry dates. Note that as per the Rainforest Alliance Labelling Guidelines, the new Rainforest Alliance Seal can be used on packaging containing products certified against any of the three certification programs.
When can I obtain new Rainforest Alliance volumes under the Rainforest Alliance 2020 Certification Program?
This will depend on the type of certificate holder:
- For farming certificate holders, the volumes assigned to you in the Transition Period Certificate will be new Rainforest Alliance volumes under the Rainforest Alliance 2020 certification program.
- For all certificate holders, after you register for the Rainforest Alliance Certification Platform, you can start receiving new Rainforest Alliance volumes on your account. You can only start using these volumes (process them, trade them, claim them) after you obtain a Transition Period Certificate.
Can I use the same Certification Body as before for the Transition Period Audit?
You will most likely be able to. However, not all Certification Bodies (CBs) will be authorized for the same scope in the Rainforest Alliance 2020 Certification Program as they are in the current Certification Programs. You will be able to see if your CB is authorized for your specific scope after you register in the Rainforest Alliance Certification Platform and confirm your scope.
Which Certification Body should I turn to during the Transition Period?
Any extensions, changes, etc. to your certificate are handled by the Certification Body (CB) that issued it. This means that you might have to turn to different CBs for the current certificate and the Transition Certificate.