Yes, it is – or at least this is the spontaneous reaction I’m getting from many partners and colleagues out there in the sustainability world… So, should we be happy that we managed to surprise – or rather embarrassed that this is the case? Well, I guess, more the latter (although I can’t deny it also feels good).

When I look back over the past ten years at UTZ, I recognize that UTZ and the Rainforest Alliance have on the one hand grown closer together – and on the other hand have complementary strengths.

I have also been working with many Rainforest Alliance colleagues and learnt to appreciate their passion for sustainability. This passion is very similar to what I see in my colleagues here at UTZ. Given both the similarity and the complementary strengths as well as the fact that it is really the mission that comes first, it is great that we will now develop a joint standard!

We can now combine knowledge and experiences to come up with solutions that work even better for farmers and the market. Together we can be advocates for sustainable practices in all regions of the world.

Will it come easy? Certainly not. It will be a lot of work. However, the good thing is that while many have criticized us in the past for competing, it is not this criticism or the frowning about the ‘proliferation of labels’ that has pushed us to join forces – it is our own conviction and passion for sustainability that drives us. And that, I believe, will make it easier. We’re here to contribute to positive impact – and sometimes the way to do that can be surprising.

On 7 June, UTZ and Rainforest Alliance announced their intention to merge later this year. The new organization will create a single agriculture sustainability standard, it will simplify the certification process and continue to improve livelihoods for farmers and forest communities. Find more information about the merger here.