What does the merger mean for farmers?

Joining Forces: UTZ and the Rainforest Alliance

In June 2017, we announced our intention to merge 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 the many stakeholders we work with.

We expect to complete the legal merger and begin working to build our new organization in January 2018. The name of the new organization will be the Rainforest Alliance.

 

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What it means for farmers and producers

Farmers should continue following the UTZ standard as usual. Continue to arrange audits and register sales of certified ingredients following the same processes already in place.

We will publish a new certification program in 2019, and we will guide you through a step by step transition. You will have enough time to make any necessary changes.

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.

 

Creating one 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 a new standard for producers and a new chain of custody.

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.

Creating one certification program will also bring big benefits to the 182,000 farmers who are currently both UTZ and RA certified – they will only need one audit instead of two, and avoid the double administration of applying two standards.

A broad consultation will be carried out in 2018 to develop our new standard and our full certification program, with stakeholders including farmers and producers invited to share input and expertise.

We already announced that the new organization will take the name Rainforest Alliance. Alongside this, we will continue to use and invest in the Rainforest Alliance Certified™ “green frog” seal, which brings strong consumer recognition and brand value. The future of the UTZ label will be one of the topics for the consultation.

 

If you have any questions please get in touch with your country representative or send a message to communications@utz.org mentioning your country of origin in the subject line.

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