AFRICA – The Rainforest Alliance has unveiled new measures to continuously improve and strengthen its pioneering cocoa certification program, the world’s largest initiative to drive more sustainable cocoa farming.

Some of these measures which include reduction of tropical deforestation, boost economic impacts for farmers and address child labour, were announced by Rainforest Alliance CEO, Han de Groot, with the goal of accelerating sustainability transformation throughout the cocoa sector.

“We are confident that these improvements will go a long way in building more comprehensive interventions to help address child labor, improve the lives of farmers, and further curtail the environmental impact,” said Alex Morgan Chief Markets Officer at the Rainforest Alliance

After two years of comprehensive analysis on the necessary evolution of certification, the Rainforest Alliance developed a set of ambitious and pragmatic approaches fortified by advanced monitoring techniques to improve its cocoa certification program. 

These new measures mark the first stage of the Rainforest Alliance’s improved certification program for all sectors.

This will be based on the new certification standard, due to be published in June 2020 and rolled out over the subsequent 12 months.

With its stepped-up Cocoa Certification Program, the 33-year-old organization is amplifying and reiterating its call for all participants in the cocoa industry to take a proactive role in creating improvement through stronger interventions.

Cocoa producers will have the knowledge, resources and incentives to produce in an environmentally, economically and socially responsible fashion.

All supply chain actors will fulfil their role through sourcing and pricing practices that promotes resilience from price volatility and climate change.

Above all, the reinvigorated program aims to increase transparency in the certification process throughout the supply chain.

For West Africa, which produces the vast majority of the world’s cocoa supply and where systemic social and environmental challenges are greatest, the new measures include US$7.1 million in additional investments.

Part of the US$5 million is aimed to support Rainforest Alliance Certified farmers and certificate holders in implementing new standard and assurance requirements.

The other US$2.1 million will be utilized for the implementation of new measures under the existing West Africa cocoa assurance plan, including 15 new employees (11 in Africa) to strengthen the cocoa assurance team.