Rainforest Alliance and UTZ have announced their intention to merge later this year, helping to ensure that more products are responsibly sourced and farmers and companies can meet the growing demand for products with sustainable credentials.
The new organization will continue under the Rainforest Alliance brand. It will create a single agriculture sustainability standard and simplify the certification process. The new Rainforest Alliance will tackle environmental and social issues around the world, including climate change, deforestation, poverty, and unsustainable farming. Through new partnerships it will work to ensure conservation of entire landscapes in priority regions such as India, Indonesia, Guatemala and Ghana.
The future standard will combine the strengths of the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) and UTZ standards while creating a single auditing process for certificate holders.
Streamlining the certification process will help the 182,000 cocoa, coffee, and tea farmers currently certified under both standards and new farmers to invest more efficiently in sustainability, avoiding the administrative load of working with two standards and certification systems.
Once the two organizations have merged, Han de Groot, current executive director of UTZ, will be the CEO of the Rainforest Alliance. Nigel Sizer, current president of the Rainforest Alliance, will take on the role of Chief Program Officer, Advocacy, Landscapes and Livelihoods.