Rainforest Alliance

An accreditation promoting sustainable farming and forestry, ensuring biodiversity conservation and improved livelihoods.

Overall Score:


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Rainforest Alliance






The Rainforest Alliance (RA) Standard is designed for farmers and companies involved in the agricultural sector, particularly those producing cocoa, coffee, tea, nuts, vegetables, and flowers. The certification promotes environmental responsibility, social equity, and economic viability. It covers the entire supply chain, from the farm to the retailer, and includes a Supply Chain Risk Assessment to determine the need for audits or endorsements.

Key Features

  • Promotes strict guidelines on chemical use, including a ban on certain hazardous pesticides and GMOs, but it does not require farms to be organic.
  • Mandates climate risk assessments and adaptive farming practices.
  • Aligned with key UN Conventions on Human Rights and ILO Labor Conventions.


To acquire the certification, companies first need to get a Rainforest Alliance Account ID and sign a license agreement. They then submit information about their activities, crops, and volumes. Depending on the Supply Chain Risk Assessment, an audit may be required. However, the certification process has faced criticism for audit weaknesses and insufficient focus on farmworker justice.

Duration and Renewal

The certification is based on both core and improvement requirements. While the core requirements have strict pass/fail criteria, improvement requirements offer more time for compliance. This implies that companies must establish risk assessment procedures and systems for handling complaints, but there are no specific practices that are outright banned.

Impact and Significance

The certification offers clear benefits for both farmers and consumers by promoting sustainable and ethical practices. It includes a due diligence system focused on prevention and improvement, encouraging farmers and companies to tackle issues rather than hiding them. However, the certification allows for some types of child work under specific conditions, which could be a point of concern for some stakeholders.