Herbs and Spices Program


Herbs and Spices Program of UEBT and the Rainforest Alliance

Herbs and spices are used in a variety of foods and flavourings and provide important income to farmers.  Through a new program, producers harvesting or collecting these ingredients can access new markets while conserving biodiversity.

Proposed partnership between UEBT and the Rainforest Alliance

In mid-2020, UEBT and the Rainforest Alliance intend to publish a new program focused on ingredients used in herbal and fruit infusions as well as table herbs, spices and seasonings.  We would come together as two internationally recognised, mission-driven non-profits organisations with a similar approach to protecting people and nature.

We expect a final decision on the new program by January 2020. In mid-2020 we would then publish the new program. Audits that follow the policies and requirements of the new Herbs and Spices program would become mandatory one year after publication of the new program.

This new program would combine each of our organisation’s unique expertise to achieve greater impact: UEBT brings deep knowledge of ethical sourcing of natural ingredients (leaves, flowers, fruits, seeds, roots, bark, resins, etc.), and the Rainforest Alliance brings decades of experience in sustainable agriculture certification and a label that is recognised by consumers around the world.

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Since 2015, UEBT has been partnering with UTZ in a successful herbal tea program that has resulted in 1,000 herbal tea products carrying the UTZ label. 


Building on this success, we now intend to publish a new, stronger program that will replace the existing herbal tea program and also replace the current Rainforest Alliance certification program for herbs and spices. 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.

This consolidation would allow us to share our comprehensive solutions with a wider range of companies and producers who are working on sustainability in biodiversity hotspots around the world.  We are committed to making the transition as smooth as possible. 

Products certified as part of this new program would be able to carry the Rainforest Alliance Certified™ seal. Chain-of-custody certification would fall under the new Rainforest Alliance Chain of Custody approach.

Standard revision and consultation process

UEBT and Rainforest Alliance are currently both revising their standards.

To take part in the multi-stakeholder consultation process to revise and update the UEBT Standard, which would be the basis for the new program, provide your inputs by 31 August through the UEBT website

The Rainforest Alliance is developing a 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 and provide your input by 31 August.


Certification Requirements

The potential new UEBT and Rainforest Alliance Herbs and Spices Program would be based primarily on the UEBT Standard, which was designed and refined over the last 10 years for natural ingredients that are cultivated or collected from the wild.

The Rainforest Alliance would complement UEBT’s requirements with a supplement containing additional criteria based on the new Rainforest Alliance 2020 Sustainable Agriculture Standard that is currently in development.