Beginning July 1, Rainforest Alliance will offer further mutual recognition options for its cocoa, tea, and hazelnut programs, following its 2018 merger with UTZ. Companies at the end of the supply chain will be able to source Rainforest Alliance or UTZ certified ingredients, and then use either the Rainforest Alliance seal or UTZ label on the product packaging, in accordance with the labeling rules. This is in addition to the Chain of Custody Mutual Recognition that has been in effect since December 2018, which allows companies to purchase both UTZ and Rainforest certified ingredients while only having one Chain of Custody certificate in place for either one of the current programs.
Notably, coffee is currently not included for mutual recognition due to Rainforest Alliance seeing a risk for producer prices after carrying out detailed assessments of each sector.
“Offering claim level mutual recognition for coffee could lead to significant changes in sectoral supply and demand, and potentially increase pressure on producer prices,” Rainforest Alliance states on its website. “The coffee sector is currently facing historically low prices, and unlike in other sectors [our] coffee programs are linked to quite different markets. These factors combined informed our decision not to offer claim level mutual recognition for coffee at this time.”