According to the answers provided in the Transition Tool, the following scenario applies to your company:
- You have a valid Rainforest Alliance Chain of Custody certificate/endorsement or a valid UTZ Chain of Custody license, which requires an audit/renewal between July 1, 2022, and December 31, 2022.
If the above correctly describes your company, please take the following steps to transition to the Rainforest Alliance 2020 Certification Program. If not, please go back and fill out the transition tool again.
Question 1: Until when can you obtain a Rainforest Alliance Certificate?
Step 1: Obtain your Rainforest Alliance Certificate before the next audit/renewal deadline.
The new expiry date of your pre-merger certificate is your deadline for obtaining your Rainforest Alliance Certificate. You must obtain a valid by your deadline, or by December 31, 2022 (whichever comes first) in one of two ways:
- Have an audit conducted before June 30, 2022: This is then a transition (desk) audit
- Have an audit conducted after July 1, 2022: This would be a full scale audit as part of the full certification process, including onsite audits per verification
We recommend that you register at least 6 months before this deadline and give yourself enough time to obtain a Transition Certificate as per the steps below.
Question 2: How can you obtain a Rainforest Alliance certificate?
Step 2.1: Register for the Rainforest Alliance 2020 Certification Program:
The Rainforest Alliance has sent the invitation email to register for the new Certification Program on the new Rainforest Alliance Certification Platform (RACP). Every company that would like to continue working with the Rainforest Alliance is required to register in the new platform and transition to the Rainforest Alliance 2020 Certification Program. If your company hasn’t received the email yet, you can register at this link. If you have already registered and receive the email once again, please disregard the email.
Please note that this process is different from and in addition to the migration of traceability from the legacy GIP and Marketplace platforms to the MultiTrace traceability platform.
To have enough time to obtain your Rainforest Alliance certificate, please make sure to register at least 6 months before your certification deadline.
When registering, please make sure to indicate your company’s accounts ID for the UTZ and premerger Rainforest Alliance certification programs.
Please register one account if your company:
- Has several sites which are managed by a central/main site, within the same geographical region (See the link to geographical restrictions in the resources section below)
- Has both UTZ and premerger Rainforest Alliance certifications
- Works with more than one crop/commodity
- Has several roles in the supply chain (e.g., trading and manufacturing)
Please register multiple accounts if your company:
- Has sites based in different geographical regions. (See the link to geographical restrictions in the resources section below)
Step 2.2: Confirm your certification scope
After your account has been created and approved by the Rainforest Alliance, please fill in the certification scope your company wishes to apply for:
- The sites and subcontractors (if applicable) involved with the Rainforest Alliance Certified product (from the same geographical region)
- The commodities/crops you work with
- The supply chain roles and activities you carry out
These may be different from your UTZ and premerger Rainforest Alliance certification scopes.
After confirming your scope, you will receive:
- A list of requirements applicable to your sites and any subcontractors
- Your customized self-assessment template
- The Supply Chain Risk Assessment (SCRA) verification level applicable during the Transition Year for each site and subcontractors (if applicable). This determines which of your sites and subcontractors (if any) will need to undergo an audit with a third-party certification body and which ones can be endorsed directly by the Rainforest Alliance.
Step 2.3: Implement the Rainforest Alliance 2020 Sustainable Agriculture Standard
Once you have the list of applicable requirements, you can start assessing your compliance. Check the applicable requirements and implement anything that you are not already compliant with. Be sure to assess each of your sites and subcontractors, whether audited or endorsed, and all your commodities and roles. Make sure to be ready with your implementation plan and self-assessment before you sign an agreement with a Certification Body (if applicable) or before you start trading with new Rainforest Alliance volumes, whichever comes first. Please upload the self-assessment in the RACP during preparation for verification (audit and/or endorsement). In case you have multiple sites, one self-assessment will suffice.
Step 2.4: Obtain an endorsement (if applicable)
After you have uploaded the self-assessment, the Rainforest Alliance will review your certification profile and process your endorsement. Endorsements for compliant sites will be issued from Quarter 4, 2021 onwards.
Step 2.5: Hire a Certification Body (if applicable)
For all your sites that require an audit, please hire a Certification Body (CB) authorized to perform audits against the Rainforest Alliance 2020 Certification Program and your certification scope. See the list of authorized CBs under question 5: Where to find more information, below.
Step 2.6: Schedule a Transition Period Audit or full scale audit (if applicable)
Please ensure you have scheduled a Transition Period Audit or full scale audit at least 4 months before your certification deadline (as defined in Step 1.3 above).
After the audit is conducted, your company will have 10 weeks to close any non-conformities. The CB will then take a certification decision and submit your license request in the RACP for approval. The Rainforest Alliance may have additional questions for clarification before approving your license. Because of this, please keep in mind that you need to schedule your audit at least 4 months before your certification deadline.
Step 2.7: Obtain a Rainforest Alliance Certificate and license
After receiving a positive certification decision and obtaining an approval from the Rainforest Alliance, your company will be granted a Rainforest Alliance Certificate and license for using the RACP. The start date of your certificate and license will be the first audit date (if any of your sites are audited) or the endorsement date (if none of your sites are audited). If your company received a transition audit prior to June 30th, 2022, your Transition Certificate and license are valid for 1 year (for example: if the first date of your audit falls on 15/08/2021, and your certificate and license are issued on 20/12/2021, they will expire on 15/08/2022). If your company received a full scale audit after June 30th, 2022, the Rainforest Alliance Certificate and license are valid for 3 years (for example: if the first date of your audit falls on 15/08/2022, and your certificate and license are issued on 20/12/2022, they will expire on 15/08/2025. Your company will receive one CB-issued certificate for any audited sites and one endorsement certificate for any endorsed sites.
Step 2.8: Obtain a full-scale certificate (only applicable for companies who received a transition audit):
If your company received a transition audit prior to June 30, 2022, your company will have to undergo either a certification audit or receive an endorsement against the full requirements of the new 2020 Certification Program before your Transition Certificate expires. Please update your certification scope on the RACP and follow the steps indicated to obtain a full-scale certificate. To avoid any gaps in certification, please plan your full-scale audit at least 4 months before your Transition Certificate expires. Therefore, please update your profile in the RACP at least 6 months before the expiry date and make sure you start implementing any new requirements on time.
The certificate will be valid for 3 years, but yearly verification may be required, depending on your company’s specific role in the supply chain.
Question 3: How can you report your transactions?
Step 3.1: Traceability of legacy and new Rainforest Alliance volumes before obtaining the Transition Certificate
Even before obtaining a Transition Certificate, your company will be allowed to trade new Rainforest Alliance volumes as long as you maintain a valid certificate, endorsement or license for the premerger UTZ or the premerger Rainforest Alliance certification program. We are working to improve our traceability systems so that you can trade new Rainforest Alliance Certified volumes from your existing premerger accounts. If you would like to trade new Rainforest Alliance Certified volumes sooner, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to request a temporary license.
Step 3.2: Move your volumes to your new account after obtaining the Rainforest Alliance Certificate
After having obtained a Rainforest Alliance Certificate and license, it will be possible to move your existing volumes, whether legacy or new Rainforest Alliance volumes, to your new account. Please note that this is only possible if:
- Your Rainforest Alliance Certificate includes the same commodities/crops certified in your legacy UTZ/Rainforest Alliance accounts
- The legacy account/certificate/license that contains these volumes has been indicated during registration (see Step 2 above)
- The account was confirmed by the auditor during the audit process, or by the Rainforest Alliance during the endorsement process
- Volumes are moved before your Rainforest Alliance Certificate expires
Question 4: What happens if you don’t obtain a Rainforest Alliance Certificate on time?
Please note that in case your company does not transition to the Rainforest Alliance 2020 Certification Program, or does not obtain the certificate from a transition or full scale audit on time, it will no longer be possible to report activities and transactions, or to make claims after the certification deadline identified in Step 1.
Question 5: Where can you find more information?
- 2020 Certification Program
- How to get supply chain certified
- Binding Documents
- Transition Rules
- Transition FAQs
- Certification and Auditing Rules
- Sustainable Agriculture Standard Supply Chain Requirements
- FAQ Supply Chain Requirements
- Glossary of the Rainforest Alliance 2020 Certification Program
- Geographical regions
- Approved CBs
If you have further questions, please contact our Customer Service team.
We look forward to having you join the Rainforest Alliance 2020 Certification Program!