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Policy for Rooibos Certification in South Africa
Both the UEBT 2020 Standard and the Rainforest Alliance 2020 Sustainable Agriculture Standard prohibit the conversion of intact ecosystems, from 1 January 2014 onward. During the transition to the UEBT/Rainforest Alliance and 2020 Rainforest Alliance certification programs, UEBT and the Rainforest Alliance became aware that a number of rooibos producers certified under the previous standards had cleared the Fynbos Ecosystem after the 2014 cut-off date. To prevent these producers’ exclusion from certification with the associated risk of further ecosystem conversion, and in line with the commitment of both organizations to continue to protect biodiversity, UEBT and the Rainforest Alliance agreed to grant an exception to already certified Rooibos producers to remain certified and engage in rehabilitation of the cleared ecosystem.