As of 2019, more than 80 percent of the products with the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal contained or sourced 90-100 percent certified ingredients. And in May 2020 we introduced even stricter requirements for the use of our new seal: the 2020 Labeling Policy.
For our new 2020 seal, all products, except palm oil and herbal teas, must contain at least 90 percent of the certified ingredient or, in the case of mass balance supply chains, 100 percent of the equivalent certified volume must be certified against the Rainforest Alliance or UTZ standard.
Why is there an exception for palm oil and herbal teas?
When it comes to palm oil, products must contain at least 30 percent certified palm oil to use our seal, or, in the case of mass balance supply chains, 100 percent of the equivalent certified volume must be purchased from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms. The main reason for this lower threshold is that the available supply of Rainforest Alliance Certified palm oil is rather limited. While there are thousands of coffee, cocoa, tea and banana farms certified according to our standards, as of July 2020, there were only around 15 certified palm oil farms. This is a significant increase compared to previous years, but it's not yet enough to satisfy the global demand for more sustainable palm oil.
Our current requirements for the use of the seal on palm oil products allow more companies to embark on the journey toward more sustainable palm oil. As our programs grow and more farms are certified, we will gradually increase the minimum percentage towards the 90 percent threshold over time. Certification is one of the many tools we use to move the palm oil sector toward sustainability. Learn more about our other interventions here.
When it comes to herbal teas, products must contain at least 40 percent of the certified ingredient(s) to use our new seal. As with palm oil, the main reason for this lower threshold is the limited supply of each of the many different herbal ingredients such as berries, rooibos, and mint. As the available supply grows, we will gradually increase the minimum percentage to the 90 percent threshold. Starting in 2022, the threshold for herbal tea will be raised to 50 percent.
Whenever the percentage of certified content is below 90 percent, the percentage must be clearly indicated on product packaging. In this way consumers can easily see what percentage of certified content is in their favorite seal-bearing products.