By merging with UTZ, the new and stronger Rainforest Alliance aim to work with farmers and communities to protect the natural environment and help mitigate the effects of climate change on a global scale.
New York City-based Rainforest Alliance and UTZ of Amsterdam have announced that they will merge later this this year. Both organizations have up until now been working with similar missions; promoting sustainable agriculture, while ensuring that farmers receive a fair price for their crops. Their logos are common in supermarkets in Europe and the US on popular foods like cacao and coffee.
The merge is an attempt to create a single global agriculture sustainability standard that will simplify the certification process, while improving livelihoods for farmers and forest communities. The former Rainforest Alliance has during the last 30 years certified over 40 million ha of land under sustainable management, and UTZ has over 850,000 farmers registered within its agriculture programs, raising UTZ-certified crops on 1.1 million ha of land.
The new entity will keep the Rainforest Alliance name. Han de Groot, currently the executive director of UTZ, will serve as the CEO of the new and expanded Rainforest Alliance. Nigel Sizer, who is now president of Rainforest Alliance, will have a new role as of Chief Program Officer, Advocacy, Landscapes and Livelihoods – effectively becoming the organization’s chief operating officer.
This new and expanded Rainforest Alliance will still face countless environmental and social challenges despite its boost in size and outreach, including climate change, deforestation, poverty, and unsustainable farming. The merging organizations believes that having one strong certification standard, and a globally recognized brand, will reduce administrative tasks and hence the costs for certified farmers.