Rainforest Alliance's new certification program adds buyer obligations
The Rainforest Alliance will bolster its food certification scheme to ensure growers and brands make better use of technology to tackle climate change, respect human rights and invest in sustainable farming.
In the requirements for the new program that will replace existing Rainforest Alliance and UTZ certification programs from mid-2021, there are increased obligations for buyers.
The group said the program "seeks to address systemic imbalances in global supply chains, which put too much burden on producers alone to achieve more sustainable agricultural production".
"Buyers will have to reward producers for meeting sustainable agriculture standards by paying a mandatory ‘sustainability differential’ which is an additional cash payment over and above the market price for the sale of certified crops," it said.
"Buyers will also need to provide investments to support producers to achieve their sustainability objectives and be transparent about those."
The new program consists of the Sustainable Agriculture Standard and also includes new requirements for growers related to climate change, human rights, and deforestation.
“The new certification program incorporates new tools to support farmers and companies to set clear sustainability targets and focus investments to improve positive impacts for people and nature,” said Ruth Rennie, director of standards and assurance at the Rainforest Alliance.
“These tools and innovations will support more resilient agriculture and help make responsible business the new normal. This is increasingly urgent in our age of climate change, biodiversity loss, and global inequality."
Alex Morgan, chief markets officer at the Rainforest Alliance, described the certification program as "ambitious and innovative".
In May of this year, the Rainforest Alliance also released its new seal, which can be used on product packaging and promotional materials from September 1, 2020.
The new seal will eventually replace the current Rainforest Alliance Certified seal and the UTZ label.