After two decades of close partnership, NEPCon and RA-Cert (the certification division of Rainforest Alliance), the world’s two leading non-profit certification bodies, have announced their intention to merge later this year.
The combined organization, which will operate under the name NEPCon, will continue to offer services that NEPCon and RA-Cert have been delivering in agriculture, forestry, responsible sourcing, biomass, carbon footprinting, and tourism.
“NEPCon and RA-Cert share similar values, including a commitment to credibility at the heart of our services. We already have closely aligned management structures, systems and working procedures, as well as long-standing trust across the two organisations. RA-Cert complements our existing capacities and geographical areas, and we are excited to have the RA-Cert team join NEPCon,” said Peter Feilberg, Executive Director of NEPCon.
The merged organization will have more than 200 staff and a network of consultants working worldwide, delivering services on six continents.
“The current RA-Cert and NEPCon geographies and services are complementary to each other, and together will drive greater reach and impact,” said Mr Feilberg.
The transition is predicated on two significant changes undertaken by the Rainforest Alliance. In late 2017 the Rainforest Alliance took over the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) Standard and certification programme, and, separately, in January 2018 the Rainforest Alliance merged with UTZ , the agricultural certification body based in Amsterdam.
These changes have positioned the new Rainforest Alliance as an agriculture certification scheme owner, and for this reason, the Rainforest Alliance sought to make its in-house certification body, RA-Cert, independent.
Various options were explored to enhance RA-Cert’s independence, and it was determined the most successful outcome would come through joining with NEPCon. This will enable RA-Cert to preserve continuity of services from its same expert staff, auditors, and partners established around the globe.