We understand that the cost of Rainforest Alliance certification is an important factor. While costs vary depending on your work and your needs, this page gives you an overview of certification costs for farmers, certification bodies, and companies.
Cost of Rainforest Alliance certification for farmers
Farmers pay for audit services from the certification body of their choice. The Rainforest Alliance does not regulate these costs. The fees vary significantly depending on the size of the farm. Smallholders may want to organize and seek certification as a group to reduce expenses.
Farmers are also responsible for covering all costs associated with meeting the Sustainable Agriculture Standard. These costs may include: removing parts of their farm from production to comply with buffer-zone widths, implementing new management practices, or building new infrastructure. The Rainforest Alliance offers technical support to help farmers on the path towards certification. Contact a local Rainforest Alliance representative or trainer.
Costs for certification bodies
Certification bodies pay for accreditation against ISO/IEC 17065. There are a variety of accrediting entities and costs vary. Accreditation is a pre-requisite for becoming a Rainforest Alliance certification body.
Costs for companies
Rainforest Alliance certification comes with many benefits for companies. We trace and verify all certified products throughout the supply chain. The Rainforest Alliance also develops policies and standards, manages a certification database and a quality control system for certification bodies, and manages complaints and appeals. We also promote the Rainforest Alliance Certified™ seal in the marketplace, measure its impact, and create communications tools to raise public awareness.
The Rainforest Alliance offers a single charge to companies that directly benefit from our certification. This fee is called a Participation Royalty and it is collected from businesses in the middle of the supply chain. The amount is based on the volume of all company transactions of Rainforest Alliance Certified crops.
Companies that pay the Participation Royalty sign a licensing agreement that outlines the total amount of the royalty and how it will be collected. Royalties are collected whenever companies place a claim that a crop is from a Rainforest Alliance Certified farm. This happens whether the claim is on a product, on packaging, or on promotional materials. Currently, royalties are collected on bananas, cocoa, coconut, coffee, orange juice, and tea. The rate charged is based on the volume of certified goods purchased. It varies by crop as follows.
Participation Royalty by crop
For more information about the Participation Royalty, please refer to Appendix B of our Master License Agreement [PDF 141KB].
Cost of Rainforest Alliance-UTZ mutual recognition
In 2019, the Rainforest Alliance merged with UTZ. We are currently developing a new agriculture certification program that builds on the best of both the Rainforest Alliance and UTZ programs. Until the new program is launched, companies can source Rainforest Alliance Certified or UTZ certified ingredients, or a mixture of both. Companies can then use either the Rainforest Alliance seal or UTZ label as desired, in accordance with the labeling rules.
During this transition period, rates are:
- $12.90 per MT for cocoa (replacing the current Rainforest Alliance royalty and UTZ program fees from July 1, 2019, and the current UTZ membership fee from January 2020. To allow for full alignment on costs, the UTZ high volume discount structure was discontinued as of July 1, 2019. The total fee increases for UTZ First Buyers will be capped at +20% for 2019 and 2020, calculated by comparing new annual costs to what costs would have been with the pre-July 2019 fees).
- $33.07 per MT ($0.015 per pound) of green coffee, as with the current Rainforest Alliance royalty, from July 1, 2020. For UTZ certified coffee, this represents a 0.3 US cent increase per pound. From January 2021 we intend to shift the invoicing to the first buyer after export level (or in cases when the coffee is not exported, the company redeeming the volume in the MultiTrace system will be invoiced).
- €30 per MT for the hazelnuts program fee , invoiced to the first buyer with a Chain of Custody certificate (no change), membership fees continue (no change)
Herbal infusions, including rooibos
- €22.50 per MT for all herbal infusion ingredients from July 1, 2020. As with the current UTZ program, it will be collected once in each herbal supply chain, invoiced to the packer of the herbal infusions for consumer products, with or without an UTZ or Rainforest Alliance claim.
Tea (excluding herbals)
- $12.50 per MT for tea (no change to the existing Rainforest Alliance royalty, and replacing the current UTZ program fee from July 1, 2019).
- No royalty or fees will be charged for vanilla at this time.