UTZ and Rainforest Alliance are to offer mutual recognition for cocoa, but not for coffee.
As they make progress towards a unified agriculture certification programme, Rainforest Alliance and UTZ are working to help farmers and the supply chain manage the transition and make prepare for the new structure.
UTZ and Rainforest Alliance recently confirmed that they will be offering mutual recognition options for their cocoa, tea and hazelnut programmes. However, coffee is not included.
This means that companies at the end of the supply chain will be able to source Rainforest Alliance Certified or UTZ certified ingredients (or a mixture of both), and then use either the Rainforest Alliance seal or UTZ label on pack (in accordance with the labelling rules).
This is in addition to the Chain of Custody Mutual Recognition that has been in place since December 2018, which allows companies to purchase both UTZ certified and Rainforest certified ingredients while only having one Chain of Custody certificate in place for either one of the current programmes.
Volume based fees for all cocoa purchases will be aligned between the UTZ and Rainforest Alliance certification programmes. For cocoa, the certification bodies said the planned to align at a level between the two current programmes.
“Together, these mutual recognition arrangements are an important step that will make things simpler for companies and allow an easier transition into our new certification programme,” UTZ and Rainforest Alliance said. “In addition, we hope that producers in both systems will find new buyers and markets for their produce.”
“We are not offering claim level mutual recognition for coffee now because we see a risk for producer prices if we were to take it forward at this time,” they said.
“We carried out detailed assessments of all the sectors we work in. Offering claim level mutual recognition for coffee could lead to significant changes in sectoral supply and demand, and potentially increase pressure on producer prices.
“The coffee sector is currently facing historically low prices, and unlike in other sectors the Rainforest Alliance and UTZ coffee programmes are linked to quite different markets.
“These factors combined informed our decision not to offer claim level mutual recognition for coffee at this time.”