logo_forest_RGB.png

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Herbs and Spices Program of UEBT and the Rainforest Alliance

 

There are likely to be changes under the new program. Farms or suppliers would likely be audited against the UEBT Standard plus a Rainforest Alliance supplement. In this scenario, UEBT will issue the certificate and the Rainforest Alliance will provide chain-of-custody and traceability to enable use of the Rainforest Alliance Certified™ seal. For chili, black pepper, vanilla and rooibos we may decide that these crops will stay with the Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Agriculture Standard. We will follow up with further information over the coming months.

Currently, both of our standards are undergoing formal revision processes, so some changes will only be known once those revisions are complete and the new program’s design is finalised.

So far it is possible that in the future you will see these potential changes:
• Membership: All supplier or producer operations that are certified by UEBT would need to become UEBT members. This means they would apply to UEBT and commit to certain obligations and conditions. This requirement will not apply to operations (purchasers) that are only chain-of-custody certified. The details of requirements surrounding costs will be further developed before the new program’s formal launch.
• Premium: It is also important to know that buyers of herbs and spices from farms certified by the program may be required to pay a premium. The premium would be paid to the farmer/supplier. The details of how this is reached and requirements surrounding the premium will be further developed before the new program’s formal launch.
• Volume Based Charges: A volume-based charge, called the Participation Royalty, would likely be levied on supply chains of purchasing companies that benefit from Rainforest Alliance certification. The specifics of this charge (rates by volume and where it will be charged as a one-time cost in the supply chain) will be determined by the formal publication of the Herbs & Spices program in mid-2020. Although there is no current Rainforest Alliance Participation Royalty for herbs and spices, it will be calculated and collected in the future. You can find out more about the responsibilities and costs of Rainforest Alliance certification here.
• Wild collection: UEBT also works with small supplier operations where wild collection of herbs and spices take place, rather than cultivation. For these operations at the supplier level, the UEBT Standard includes rigorous requirements related to ensuring regeneration rates that are sustainable.

In the new program, UEBT/UTZ certificate holders would need to transition to receiving their audit against the revised UEBT Standard with some additional Rainforest Alliance requirements. Farms or suppliers certified as part of our new program will use the Rainforest Alliance Certified™ seal in the future.

It is possible you would see some additional changes in the future, and we will communicate those in early 2020.

peppermint-2496361_1920.jpg
chamomile-1316160_1920.jpg

When herbs and spices are grown in the same farm as Rainforest Alliance Certified™ crops (such as coffee, cocoa and tea) we are expecting that additional UEBT certification for your herbs and spices won't be required, unless these ingredients are collected from the wild. In those cases, you would need to use the UEBT Standard, since it has special criteria related to the wild collection process.

UEBT recognises Certification Bodies (auditors) that Rainforest Alliance works with, so a change would not necessarily be required. However, your certification body and its auditors may need to be trained on the new requirements. Once the new Herbs and Spices Program is published in mid-2020, it will be important to reach out to your CB well before your audit to find out if they are able to assist you again.

aroma-blooming-lavender-close-up-207518 (1).jpg

While a final decision on the program is not expected until early 2020, we would expect that you would be able, to choose between either of the current programs until the program launches formally (this would be no sooner than mid-2021). However, you should keep in mind that the current UEBT/UTZ program only allows the UTZ label to be used on herbal tea products. We are currently reviewing mutual recognition opportunities within relevant parts of our herbs and spices portfolio and will follow up with further information over the coming months.

You would still be required to hold chain-of-custody (CoC) certification to source products certified as part of the new Herbs and Spices program. The Rainforest Alliance is woring on a new Chain of Custody Standard. You can find more information regarding the timeline and transition on the Rainforest Alliance website.

Companies sourcing products certified as part of the new Herbs and Spices program would require Rainforest Alliance chain-of-custody (CoC) certification. The Rainforest Alliance is woring on a new Chain of Custody Standard. You can find more information regarding the timeline and transition on the Rainforest Alliance website. The Rainforest Alliance Certified ™ seal would be used for the new program. We are working to refresh and modernize our seal while continuing to build upon its strong consumer recognition and brand value. The UTZ label will be gradually phased out, but companies can continue to submit UTZ labelling approval requests at least until the end of 2022.

pepper-1914117_1920.jpg

Your customers would benefit from greater market reach and consumer recognition of the Rainforest Alliance Certified™ green frog seal. The UTZ label will be gradually phased out. Meanwhile, companies can continue to submit UTZ labelling approval requests at least until the end of 2022, and we will continue to offer support for UTZ certified brands and products, from sourcing through marketing.

The Rainforest Alliance is also working on new guidelines for trademark use and a new Chain of Custody Standard. You can find more information regarding the timeline and transition on the Rainforest Alliance website. You may also write to customersuccess@ra.org if you have questions or need more information.

We have mutual certification recognition in place for existing Chain of Custody certificate holders of either Rainforest Alliance or UTZ standard. This interim solution will simplify things for companies until the new certification is launched.

Although companies will still need to comply with the rules of both certifications, including seal use, they will only have to be audited and licensed for both certifications once, saving time and money. This is a benefit for companies already working with both certifications, as well as for those currently working with one that wish to start working with the other too. You can find more information here.

We have mutual certification recognition in place for existing Chain of Custody certificate holders of either Rainforest Alliance or UTZ standard. This interim solution will simplify things for companies until the new certification is launched.

Although companies will still need to comply with the rules of both certifications, including seal use, they will only have to be audited and licensed for both certifications once, saving time and money. This is a benefit for companies already working with both certifications, as well as for those currently working with one that wish to start working with the other too. You can find more information here.

The Rainforest Alliance Certified ™ seal would be used for the new program. The Rainforest Alliance is working to refresh and modernize the Rainforest Alliance Certified™ seal while continuing to build upon its strong consumer recognition and brand value.

The UTZ label will be gradually phased out. Companies can continue to submit UTZ labelling approval requests at least until the end of 2022.

In 2019 UEBT and the Rainforest Alliance are revising their standards and designing the new Herbs and Spices Program, so that it can be submitted to the Rainforest Alliance Board of Directors for a formal decision in early 2020. We are communicating with stakeholders about the upcoming potential changes and what they could likely expect. There are no new requirements during 2019. Once a decision has been made to proceed, in mid-2020 we would publish the new Herbs and Spices program.

Audits (re-certifications) that follow the policies and requirements of the new Herbs and Spices program would become mandatory one year after publication of the new program.

UEBT and Rainforest Alliance both undertake periodic revisions of there standards that are required as good practice by the ISEAL Alliance, whose whose Code of Good Practice in Social and Environmental Standard-Setting are followed by both of our organisations.

To take part in the multi-stakeholder consultation process to revise and update the UEBT Standard, provide your inputs by 31 August through the UEBT website.

The Rainforest Alliance is developing their new certification program, building on the best of the current Rainforest Alliance and UTZ programs. To take part in the consultation of the Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Agriculture Standard or the Rainforest Alliance Chain of Custody Standard, please visit the Rainforest Alliance website.