Published on 26 April 2018

In January 2018, UTZ merged with the Rainforest Alliance. We are joining forces because we know that together we can have a greater impact, and be a better partner to our many stakeholders. As the new Rainforest Alliance we are now working hard to build our new organization. 

Market consultation completed

Since our last update we have completed a broad qualitative and quantitative consultation to develop our full value offering to companies that carries forward the most important elements of the UTZ and Rainforest Alliance programs.

The research covered topics including for example, the fee structure, labeling policy, marketing approaches and how we can improve our certification offer. We also consulted customers on how to manage the transition to the new certification program.

Many thanks to all those who participated in the consultation. The input received is valuable and is now helping us shape our business strategy, which we will share in due course.

Building a new certification program

We aim to publish a single new program at the end of 2019. Until then, the UTZ and Rainforest Alliance programs will continue to run in parallel.

Our goal is to develop a standard that has a greater social, environmental and economic impact, giving farmers and producers an enhanced framework to improve their livelihoods while protecting the landscapes where they live and work.

It will integrate new technologies with proven, effective systems. It will also emphasize outcomes and adaptability to local contexts.

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New leadership and board

The leadership team is now in place, made up of several leaders of the pre-merger UTZ and Rainforest Alliance as well as newly appointed colleagues. All members of the pre-merger UTZ and Rainforest Alliance boards have joined a new Board of Directors.

RACert and NEPCon

The Rainforest Alliance and NEPCon have announced their intention, subject to agreement on detailed terms, for NEPCon to acquire the RA-Cert business unit that manages Rainforest Alliance’s certification, assurance and auditing services. RA-Cert will continue to offer all of RA-Cert’s existing certification services and conduct audits to these standards, including Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Agriculture and UTZ. Find out more

For now: business as usual

You do not need to change your sourcing or labeling yet. The UTZ and RA programs will continue to run separately until we publish our new certification program at the end of 2019, and then there will be a transition period for farmers to begin producing ingredients certified against the new standard. We will guide you through a step-by-step transition to the new certification program, which will give you ample time to make any necessary changes.

Whatever the outcome of the consultation, companies can continue to submit UTZ labeling approval requests for at least three years after the publication of the new certification program.

It is not permitted to use UTZ and Rainforest Alliance interchangeably. UTZ certified ingredients can only be sold or labeled as UTZ, and Rainforest Alliance Certified ingredients can only be sold or labeled as Rainforest Alliance.

More information

Go to utz.org/merger to find the latest updates and read our business blogs about the merger. In case you still have questions, get in touch with your account manager or contact membersupport@utz.org.