Rainforest Alliance merger with UTZ marks first anniversary

Marking a year on from merging with UTZ, the Rainforest Alliance is devising a new certification programme, as part of intensifying its efforts to prevent deforestation and assist farming communities.

Globally, in 2017, there were 1,331,360 farmers certified by the Rainforest Alliance, across cocoa, coffee and tea plantations around the world, and 987,000 from UTZ, and have asserted that by combining, they will be able to more effectively help those regions, including Ghana and Ivory Coast.

Another potential benefit of their move may well have been in creating a more coherent combined message more readily appreciated by consumers who perhaps have most readily identified with Rainforest Alliance over the past 30 years.

As Nigel Sizer, then president of the Rainforest Alliance explained at the time, the move to combine forces made significant sense from a logistical perspective.

He said: “By uniting with UTZ, we will combine our strengths to expand our impact on improving the lives of farmers and forest communities, protecting biodiversity and championing companies that are on the path to sustainability.”

With the joint enterprises having now had some time to align their priorities, it will be interesting to discover their precise objectives over the coming year.

One thing is particularly clear, the issue of sustainable sourcing in the cocoa industry has never been more widely championed, with multiple initiatives targeting improving the lives of those working directly in the farming sector.

While progress is undoubtedly being made on the issue through major international schemes such as the Cocoa and Forests Initiative signed up to by a total of 33 cocoa and confectionery companies including Cargill, Barry Callebaut, Mondelez and Mars Wrigley, the scale of the task ahead is monumental. But it’s good to see that tangible results are being made in African in particular.



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