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Rainforest Alliance and UTZ to join forces



Rainforest Alliance and UTZ, two sustainability certification organizations, have announced their intention to merge later this year.

Under the Rainforest Alliance name, the newly-formed organization will continue to tackle environmental and social issues including climate change, deforestation, poverty and unsustainable farming. It will create a new, single sustainability standard to simplify certification for farmers and a single auditing process for certificate holders.

Together, the non-government organizations will ensure more products are responsibly sourced and will work with farmers and companies to help meet the growing demand for sustainably-sourced products.

"The future Rainforest Alliance will have a bigger reach and stronger voice, allowing it to better protect the natural environment and allow farmers, businesses and consumers to be make even more responsible choices, more easily," said Han de Groot, executive director at UTZ, in a press release announcing the partnership.

The groups said streamlining the certification process would help lighten the administrative load for 182,000 cocoa, coffee and tea farmers.

The new organization will continue to be a member of the Sustainable Agriculture Network, working in partnership with other organizations to promote sustainable agriculture.

Han de Groot, current executive director of UTZ, will become 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.

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