The Rainforest Alliance has announced an intention to “redefine the certification landscape” by merging with fellow sustainability certifiers UTZ – streamlining the certification process within agriculture supply chains.

The merger will bring the two companies together under the Rainforest Alliance brand and will combine the Rainforest Alliance’s history of tackling deforestation with UTZ’s work with agricultural farmers.

A single standard will allow the 182,000 cocoa, coffee and tea farmers, who are currently certified under both companies, to more easily invest in sustainable practices. It would also provide blanket conservation of entire landscapes from rainforests, pastural land, farms and carbon sinks.

UTZ’s executive director Han de Groot, who will be acting as the new CEP of the Rainforest Alliance, noted that alongside better management in relation to child labour and human rights, the new merger would finally provide cost and efficiency benefits for farmers and businesses.

“Certification teams have more in common than we’d like to admit so that calls for more cooperation,” de Groot said. “Our merger is an important step towards redefining the certification landscape in the right direction.

“Our new standard will combine the best of both the organisations and will incorporate the best of what we currently know and will help farmers be certified more efficiently. Many farms at the moment are either double certified or even triple certified to other standards, and this doesn’t do a good service to them or bring many additional benefits. The new standard will give them better guidance and one system to comply with; it saves them a lot of costs and efforts.”

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