FAQ: 2020 Supply Chain Requirements
  • 18 Oct 2023
  • 4 Minutes to read
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FAQ: 2020 Supply Chain Requirements

  • PDF

Article summary

In addition to these FAQs about our Supply Chain Requirements, we also have specific FAQs for other areas within our 2020 Certification Program:

  • FAQ: General Questions
  • FAQ: Farm Requirements
  • FAQ: Assurance
  • FAQ: Transitioning to the new standard

What is the scope of the 2020 Supply Chain Requirements?

The scope for supply chain certification begins with the first change in legal ownership after the farm. In the context of increasing shared responsibility through certified supply chains, the scope for certification includes any supply chain actor further upstream – including retailers. There are increasingly more farms that process, package and even label their own produce. For farms that combine characteristics of both a farm and a supply chain actor, a wider set of requirements may apply. For example, some farm operations that buy from other producers will need to comply with traceability requirements. Likewise, farm operations that sell directly to retailers may need to meet requirements for seal use etc. Similarly supply chain actors with a high risk of negative social impacts will need to comply with relevant requirements related to relevant issues such as working conditions, health and safety, child labor, forced labor etc. The Supply Chain Risk Assessment (SCRA) will support the contextualization of standard requirements.

What is the Supply Chain Risk Assessment (SCRA)?

As a part of the assurance system, data is collected through the Supply Chain Risk Assessment (SCRA) which is embedded in the registration and profile completion process. The SCRA evaluates the potential risks of an organization’s operations on individual site level in order to determine the type and frequency of verification required. A company’s profile is based on the activities, location and crop information captured through this process in combination with other internal and third-party data (volumes, compliance, social risks, and others) specific for each individual operation. These factors then feed into a risk calculation which lands an organization in one of the five verification levels.

What is the frequency of the audits for supply chain certificate holders?

The SCRA will determine the verification level of a supply chain certificate holder which impacts the audit frequency and verification method required over the certification cycle, as shown in the table below.

What is a Rainforest Alliance review?

A remote method of verification conducted by Rainforest Alliance that evaluates compliance to the Rainforest Alliance Standard requirements through collected evidence submitted by the Certificate Holder.

What is a Rainforest Alliance automated check?

A system-based method of verification conducted by the Rainforest Alliance Certification Platform that evaluates basic compliance to the Rainforest Alliance program through the collection of data such as up-to-date traceability, submitted seal approvals and valid license agreements.

What is a CB on-site audit?

An audit conducted on site by a third-party certification body using physical means to obtain audit evidence and evaluate compliance against the relevant Standard requirements.

What is a CB desk audit?

An audit conducted remotely by a third-party certification body using electronic means to obtain audit evidence and evaluate compliance against the relevant Standard requirements.

What are the consequences of not complying with the 2020 Supply Chain Requirements?

Depending on the nature and severity of the nonconformity identified, the certification body and/or the Rainforest Alliance may decide to immediately cancel the current certificate of a company and/or decide not to certify the company if it does not comply with the process for getting certified or refuse to close non-conformities. The company will not be able to sell products as Rainforest Alliance certified. For specifics around non-conformities and non-conformity management, please see the Certification and Auditing Rules.

What are the costs of the new Certification Program for other supply chain actors?

Auditing fees

The auditing fees will be determined by the Certification Bodies.


As per the Supply Chain Requirements, companies are required to pay Sustainability Differentials and Sustainability Investments as specified in the Shared Responsibility Annex.


The Rainforest Alliance charges a royalty at one point in the middle of each major supply chain benefiting from our certification. The amount is based on the volume of all company transactions of Rainforest Alliance Certified crops. Find out more here.

How do I know which requirements of the Sustainable Agriculture Standard my company has to comply with? Is there any guidance based on my activities (i.e. retailer, roaster, bottler, etc)?

During registration for the new Certification Program, each organization will be asked to provide details in the Rainforest Alliance Certification Platform. A tailored checklist of requirements will be generated in the platform based on those details.

Based on the specific role in the supply chain and the scope of certification, each site will be informed of the applicable requirements as well as the verification steps needed to get certified. This contextualization allows Rainforest Alliance to identify the highest risk operations within a supply chain and target those areas with the appropriate level of verification.

What is the scope of traceability in the new certification program? Are retailers and brands included?

The scope for traceability is from production up until retail level of certified product. This means that certified product sales to retailers are reported into the traceability platform. The detailed rules around what exactly such reports are to entail can be found in the Traceability Annex.

Which certificate holders is Chapter 3 applicable to?

The Supply Chain Requirements are a set of requirements that form part of the Sustainable Agriculture Standard, a Standard encompassing both Farm and Supply Chain Requirements. Therefore, chapter 3 (Income and Shared Responsibility) includes requirements that are partly applicable to farms, while others apply to supply chain certificate holders.

Broadly speaking, the requirements under chapter 3.1 (Production Costs and Living Income) apply to farm certificate holders, while the requirements in chapter 3.2 (Sustainability Differential) can apply to both farms and supply chain certificate holders. For more detailed information on applicability of the Shared Responsibility requirements, please have a look at the Shared Responsibility Annex.

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