Natural ingredient certification


Certifying natural ingredients

UEBT's certification of natural ingredients assures that a natural ingredient is sourced with respect for people and biodiversity. This is different than UEBT certification of a company’s sourcing system because it applies to a specific ingredient.  Certification is granted once independent audits verify compliance with the Ethical BioTrade Standard (the UEBT standard) in the regions where natural ingredients are sourced. Traceability through to the area of collection or cultivation is always required. Audits are conducted by third party auditors, but internal control systems can be deployed at different stages of the supply chain.

While UEBT certification requires practices that respect biodiversity and reduce biodiversity loss, such as restrictions on forest clearing, protection of endangered species and pollinators, and reducing agrochemicals, it is important to understand that UEBT certification is not the same as organic certification.  However, many ingredients in UEBT member companies’ products are both UEBT certified and certified organic, and the two systems are complementary. 

UEBT certification is also different from the “cruelty-free” mark, and animal testing is outside the scope of the UEBT standard.  Companies that work with UEBT make separate commitments on this issue.   

Innovative solutions

UEBT offers innovative approaches to credible verification. For example, certification is possible against internal company standards that UEBT has recognized as reflecting the Ethical BioTrade Standard. Moreover, organisations at different stages of the supply chain can be certificate holders (e.g. final product brands, international or local processing companies, farms, cooperatives).

What is assessed?

Under natural ingredient certification, auditors assess the local entity (e.g. company, cooperative or farm) that is responsible for verifying that sourcing practices comply with the Ethical BioTrade Standard, as well as the physical areas and people in the sourcing areas (e.g. forests, agricultural lands, harvesters, farmers, farmworkers, or smallholders).


The claims that are permitted differ depending on the type of certification:

  • Companies holding ethical sourcing system certification may use the UEBT certification mark on products as long as there is a mention of the certified natural ingredient.

  • If a company uses UEBT certified natural ingredients, but itself lacks ethical sourcing system certification, it can make a claim of compliance, but there are currently no labelling opportunities.

  • International and local processing companies that hold UEBT natural ingredient certification may use the UEBT certification mark on their certified ingredient’s packaging when selling to customers.


UEBT has developed guidance for companies who wish to pursue natural ingredient certification.


Learn more here.


New Herbs and Spices Program of UEBT and the Rainforest Alliance

UEBT and The Rainforest Alliance intend to launch in mid-2020 an extended partnership focusing on ingredients used in herbal & fruit infusions as well as table herbs, spices & seasonings. The new program would replace the existing UEBT/UTZ herbal tea program. Stay tuned for more information in the coming months. Until then, the current herbal tea program is still in effect. We are committed to making any potential transition as smooth as possible.