In June 2017 we announced our intention to merge with the Rainforest Alliance. A lot of work has been done over the past months. We are happy to tell you that in January 2018 we expect to complete the legal merger and we start working to build our new organization, which will take the name of the Rainforest Alliance. What has been decided so far and what does it mean for you as a company? Below a recap of the most relevant things.

Market consultation: have your say

At the beginning of 2018, we will conduct market research and open a broad consultation process to develop our full value offering to companies, including labeling, the fee structure and marketing approaches. We hope you will take the opportunity to provide feedback and input to help shape our new organization. We will also consult on how to best manage the transition to the new certification program. In January 2018 we’ll share more details on how you can be involved in this consultation.

Future of the UTZ label and the Rainforest Alliance seal

We already shared that the new organization will take the name of the Rainforest Alliance. Alongside this, we will continue using and building on the Rainforest Alliance Certified™ ‘green frog’ seal. We made this choice due to the strong brand recognition in many key markets – a valuable asset that we do not wish to lose.

The future of the UTZ label will be included in the consultation. This will enable us to create a new value offering that carries forward the most important elements of the UTZ and Rainforest Alliance programs.

2019: publication new certification program

In 2019 we will publish our new certification program, bringing together and building upon the best of the current UTZ and Rainforest Alliance systems. It will include one new standard for producers and one new chain of custody. There will also be a new fee structure and labeling policy for companies sourcing certified ingredients.

Transition period: at least 3 years

If you have sourced UTZ certified products, you can continue to submit UTZ labeling approval requests for at least three years after the publication of the new certification program in 2019.

UTZ & RA labels are not interchangeable

The UTZ and Rainforest Alliance certification programs will run in parallel until the publication of the new program. This means that UTZ certified ingredients can only be sold, sourced and labeled as UTZ certified, and Rainforest Alliance Certified™ ingredients can only be sold, sourced and labeled as Rainforest Alliance. It is not possible to source UTZ products and label them with the Rainforest Alliance seal or vice versa.

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 in 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.

More information

Want to know more? 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.