By: Cindy Macdonald, editor
AMSTERDAM AND NEW YORK – The Rainforest Alliance and UTZ, two global sustainability certification organizations, have announced their intention to merge later this year.
The new organization will be named the Rainforest Alliance, and will tackle environmental and social issues, including climate change, deforestation, poverty and unsustainable farming. It will create a single global certification standard known as the Rainforest Alliance standard that will utilize the respective strengths of the current Sustainable Agriculture Network and UTZ standards while creating a single auditing process for certificate holders.
As a result, it is expected to be an easier path for companies to achieve proven sustainability certification.
Adopting the name Rainforest Alliance helps retain well-established engagement with consumers, the organizations say.
Once the two organizations have merged, Han de Groot, current executive director of UTZ, will be the 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.
The future Rainforest Alliance will continue to be a member of the Sustainable Agriculture Network, working in partnership with other organizations to promote sustainable agriculture.
“Our missions are very similar, to work with farmers and communities in an effort to protect the natural environment and help mitigate the effects of climate change on a global scale. By uniting with UTZ, and partnered with SAN, we will combine our strengths to expand our impact on improving the lives of farmers and forest communities, protecting biodiversity and championing companies that are on the path to sustainability,” says Nigel Sizer, president of the Rainforest Alliance.