Become part of the market for responsible farm products. Earn certification and use the frog seal to mark your support to sustainable farming.
Chain of Custody (CoC) certification enables Rainforest Alliance CertifiedTM material in a product to be traced from farm to shelf. It is a key part of any credible certification programme.
Any organisation that buys, sells or mixes material from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms must hold CoC certification or endorsement in order to promote their products as certified. Retailers however do not need certification.
Unsure whether you need certification? Please read the SAN/Rainforest Alliance CoC FAQ or check with us.
Are you registered on the Rainforest Alliance Marketplace? If not, this must be your first step.
Once registered, you need to complete a Chain of Custody Risk assessment (CRA). To do this, please contact the Rainforest Alliance Claims, Traceability and Trademarks team by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once you have received the results of the CRA, please contact us to initiate your certification process:
The certification process
|Proposal and agreements: Based on the results of the CRA, we prepare a non-binding proposal for your SAN/Rainforest Alliance CoC certification. We will also send you the required certification agreements.|
|Your preparation: You will need to prepare your existing company-specific chain of custody procedures and train relevant staff to follow them. We will be available to clarify and explain the requirements.|
|Audit: When you are ready, we will conduct a certification audit to check your compliance with the chain of custody requirements. The audit primarily involves document reviews, staff interviews and may include an on-site visit, depending on the size and scope of your activities.|
|Assessment report: We will produce a formal report detailing our findings before submitting this to you for comments. The final report is sent to your accredited certification body, RA-Cert, for a certification decision.|
|Certification: If the certification decision is positive, RA-Cert will issue you with a certificate. If you have major non-conformities, you will need to make further changes to address them and undergo a verification audit.|
A SAN/ Rainforest Alliance chain of custody certificate is valid for three years. During your three year certification cycle, we will conduct audits in accordance with the SAN/Rainforest Alliance CoC Policy. High levels of compliance are rewarded with desk audits, resulting in lower auditing costs. Once the validity period ends, you will undergo a re-assessment to renew your certificate.
We may additionally conduct a non-programmed or research audit. These are important tools for us to ensure year-round compliance.
The scope of your certificate
We can help you identify the type and scope of certification that best matches your needs. Below are some of the choices that you will make regarding the scope of your certificate.
Traceability is one of four Principles from the SAN/Rainforest Alliance CoC standard that companies are assessed against.
You will need to choose from the following options for how to handle and track the certified material used in your Rainforest Alliance Certified products:
- Segregation, physically or in time – allowed for all products; or
- Controlled blending – allowed only for specific products. Please see the Rainforest Alliance Trademark Guidelines for further information on eligible products.
- A mass balance system can be applied to sugar cane and palm oil - please see the official list of products for which this is permitted.
Single or multi-site certification
If your organisation manages facilities in two or more sites, you may be eligible for multi-site certification that will reduce the total cost of certification.
a. Single Participating Operator: This is an entity that administers only one site. The CoC certificate is for one entity. An example might be a single raw material exporter or a cocoa processor with a single processing facility that produces cocoa butter, liquor and powder.
b. Multi-site Participating Operator: This is an entity that administers two or more sites.
About multi-site certification
Multi-site certification is for Participating Operators (POs) that administer two or more sites where handling or processing of certified product occurs.
An appointed Multi-site Administrator represents all sites and administrates required systems and internal conformance with the Chain of Custody Standard.
There are two different types of multi-site PO:
1. POs whose sites are located within a single country or one of the three approved geographic regions listed below.
The sites do not necessarily have to be under a common ownership structure. The Multi-site Administrator uses a central office or shared administration with one evaluation and reporting system to certify all of the participating sites.
The three approved geographic regions are:
b. The United States and Canada.
c. Countries in the Asia Pacific in which no SAN Farm Certificate has been issued in connection with the relevant crop.
2. POs whose sites are located in multiple countries or multiple geographic regions.
Global Multi-site certificates may be granted when all of the following criteria are met:
a. All sites are under common ownership structure.
b. All sites operate under the same integrated management system that has authority and responsibilities beyond those related solely to certification.
A PO may define which sites are included in their Multi-site certificate and it may hold more than one Chain of Custody certificate (i.e. have a combination of Single- and Multi-site certificates).
A Multi-site certificate may expand up to 25% of the total actual sites included in the certificate scope without a new external audit if these new sites were inspected internally beforehand and found to be compliant with the Chain of Custody Standard and Policy.
The certificate awarded to the PO will include the names and locations of all sites included in the Multi-site certificate.
During an on-site audit, a NEPCon auditor visits a sample of the total number of sites (determined by using the square root of the total number of sites, e.g. for 16 sites, 4 will be visited. The auditor will select the sites in such a way that they represent statistically the complete list of all participating sites, processes and products.
Five reasons for choosing the frog
|Public trust. Consumers today are savvier than ever about the food and drink that they buy. A trusted sustainability mark can help sway their decision and the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal is widely recognised in key European markets.|
|Enhanced access to new markets and customers. Today, five percent of all Fortune500 companies purchase products with the frog and the global retail value of Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee, cocoa and bananas exceeds $1 billion. Today, sustainability is a central part of many business strategies.|
|Enhanced visibility and branding opportunities for your company and certified products based on access to using the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal on-product and access to unique online marketing platforms, campaigns and events.|
|Green is cool, but greenwashing is not. Make sure that responsible sourcing and certification are part of your sustainability strategy. Make claims backed by third-party verification to a credible scheme and boost your brand based on a real commitment.|
|Help farmers manage their land responsibly. By sourcing and marketing Rainforest Alliance Certified products, you are supporting the development of sustainable agricultural practices. Impact studies have shown that SAN/Rainforest Alliance certification leads to a range of benefits, such as improved protection of rivers, soils and wildlife and better living conditions for farm workers and their families.|
Expertise. With over 15 of experience within certification, we have built a team of qualified auditors located across Europe and Russia. We service companies of all sizes dealing with various agricultural products including coffee, tea, cocoa and tropical fruit. Since 2012, NEPCon has delivered SAN/Rainforest Alliance CoC certification services to over 90 companies in Europe.
Focus on customer experience. Our aim is to provide you with a beneficial service that is supportive and friendly. Our professional services are delivered on time and to high quality. We will keep you up to speed on evolving certification requirements through client updates and provide you with the full support that you need to understand and fulfil your certification commitments.
Local presence, global reach. With staff located in over 15 countries and backed by an extensive global network of experts, we cater to European companies working with products from Rainforest Alliance certified farms.
Additional value of engaging with us
Complementary sustainability services. You can opt for additional services that support your sustainability efforts. For example, you can enlist in FSC CoC certification or work with us on responsible packaging if you are using paper-based packaging. Or you could have your carbon footprint management certified - all under one roof.
The non-profit factor. We are mission-driven, which is reflected in our focus on delivering our services with integrity and a high degree of professionalism.