MultiTrace: Traceability User Manual Guidance
  • 21 Mar 2024
  • 23 Minutes to read
  • PDF

MultiTrace: Traceability User Manual Guidance

  • PDF

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This document will help you understand how to use the different features of the MultiTrace traceability platform.

Version 1.3, 24 July 2023

1. Introduction

1.a What is MultiTrace?

MultiTrace is a traceability system facilitating our partners’ growing demand for credible certified farm data. It supports a new and improved way of working between the Rainforest Alliance and certification bodies, farmers and companies which will ensure better data quality, accessibility, and transparency.

MultiTrace lays the foundation for future innovations. In our new vision of certification, the data flow starts at the farmer and in time, this should come to include the smallholder farmer. The future ability to access farmer data and tap into other data sources will create a more holistic view of the supply chain. This will give us all better insights to act upon, so that together we can contribute to a world where people and nature thrive in harmony.

1.b Why Is Traceability Important?

The purpose of MultiTrace is to safeguard the traceability of certified products throughout the supply chain and to enable certification and licensing. Reporting purchases, sales and processing activities of certified products is a requirement of the Rainforest Alliance certification standard.

Our stakeholders–including consumers, brands, other NGOs, and consumer advocacy groups –regularly challenge us to demonstrate how we ensure claims of Rainforest Alliance Certified content. Traceability helps us back up the claim that any products bearing the Rainforest Alliance seal come from Rainforest Alliance Certified sources. It means that consumers and companies can trace a product back to a Rainforest Alliance Certified farm certificate holder. This process helps us safeguard the integrity of the Rainforest Alliance seal.

Collecting this data centrally at the Rainforest Alliance, allows us to have visibility through the entire supply chain, from origin to final distribution, and thus can assure the integrity of the Rainforest Alliance seal.

Companies can also benefit from traceability because it can make their supply chains more transparent, identify possible weak spots, and help them to work on further improvements. And farmers can track farm development, but also gain access to new markets.

1.c Frequency of Reporting

Transactions must be reported in the traceability platform within 2 weeks from the end of the calendar quarter (January – March, April – June, July – September, October December) in which the transaction occurred. To keep a better and clearer overview of your available volumes and open transactions, we recommend you update and announce your transactions as early as possible.

It is very important to perform transactions, so your buyer has the purchased volumes available for their own processing/trading activities in MultiTrace.

The use of the traceability system will be checked during your audit, and when done correctly, it will avoid non-conformities.

2. Entering the Traceability system

MultiTrace is found within the Rainforest Alliance Certification Platform (RACP).

2.a Logging In

The link to the portal is https://portal.ra.org/RA_Certification_Theme/Login and on entering you will see the login page below.

Enter your username. If you forgot your password, please click on ‘forgot password’ in the login page to request a password reset. Please send an email to customersuccess@ra.org in case you have trouble getting a new password or getting access to the system.

Note: If you are trying to access your pre-merger Rainforest Alliance or UTZ account, the link to the portal is https://portal.ra.org/portal/ 
Usernames and passwords may be different between the different portals.

2.b Accessing Traceability

Once you have successfully logged into your account and you have an active license for that account, on the top bar you will see the option for ‘Traceability’. You can select this option and the module for MultiTrace will open in a new tab.

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2.c User Roles

User roles allow you to manage the permissions that different users have in MultiTrace.

2.c.1 Adding Users

Only administrator users can add a new user by clicking ‘Users’ under the Organization tab in their profile and selecting ''Add New User”. You can add the person by filling in their details and creating a username. After logging in, the new user can change their password.

Note: Please use the new user’s e-mail address as their username, as this is unique and easy to remember.

2.c.2 Removing Users

Only administrator users can remove a user by clicking ‘User’ under the Organization tab in their profile. To delete a user from RACP, click on the name and in the sidebar form, use the button ‘Delete’ and confirm your decision.

2.c.3 Updating Users

Only administrator users can update a user’s role by clicking ‘User’ under the Organization tab in their profile. You can update the person by clicking on the user you would like. A sidebar will open on the right where you can select the different settings for the user, such as Admin and Finance.

3. Definitions

3.a Traceability Levels

For more information, watch this video.

Identity Preserved (IP)

This is the traceability option to trace a Rainforest Alliance Certified ingredient or product back to a farm certificate holder. This is the most stringent traceability type. There is no mixing of certified ingredient or product with non-certified ingredient or product, or with certified ingredient or product from different sources. If a certified product is from different certified sources/farms, but identity is preserved throughout the supply chain, the subtype Mixed Identity Preserved (Mixed IP) can be applied.

Segregation (SG)

This is the traceability option in which the certified product is kept separate from the non-certified product, both physically and in documentation. This segregation occurs during all receiving, processing, packaging, storage, and transportation stages of the supply chain. There is no mixing of non-certified product with certified product. This means that the full product content is certified, although it can come from different certified sources/farm certificate holders, including different countries of origin.

Mass Balance (MB)

This is the option for administrative traceability that allows a certificate holder to claim a product which is not certified as Rainforest Alliance Certified when the equivalent quantity was sourced as Rainforest Alliance Certified.

3.b Types of Volumes

Certified Volume

The volume assigned in the certification process to a farm certificate holder, based on a harvest estimate.

Certified Product

The volume designation when the Certified Volume is converted into another sub product in the system by the farm certificate holder (i.e., a tea farm converting their green leaf certified volume to made tea).

Stock

The volume that has been bought from another certificate holder in the system.

3.c Other Terms

Position

A Rainforest Alliance Certified volume of a sub-product, its variety, classification, and traceability level.  A position is created when an estimated volume of a product is certified, attached to a license, and after each activity including, transaction, mix, conversion, or downgrade.

Reference

An identifiable number used in a trade between supplier and client. Some examples include purchase order numbers, container numbers, contract numbers, etc.

Commodity

The crop that is certified.

Subproduct

The resulting product when converting in the system (e.g., when roasting green coffee, the resulting subproduct is roasted coffee).

Variety

A different type of a commodity (i.e., Arabica coffee).

Classification

A specific designation of quality of a commodity (i.e., Arabica coffee).

UoM

This is short for unit of measurement.

4. Overviews

For more information, watch this video.

4.a Position Overview

This is the main overview in the system. This shows what you have available to transact, convert, or mix in the system. Each line in the overview represents a stock position. You can utilize the filters to search for different stock positions that are still available for use.

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4.b Trade Overview

This overview shows all trades, redeems, removals, and reversals that have been performed in the system. You can utilize the filters to search for different activities that have been performed. You can also download an Excel file that will provide more details of each line of data.

4.c Stock Management Overview

This overview shows all conversions, mixes, removals, and multi-ingredient manufacturing that has been performed in the system. You can utilize the filters to search for different stock positions that are still available for use.

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5. Dashboard- Maintain Trade Partners

You can declare other accounts (suppliers and/or clients) as trusted and/or mandated. When accounts are indicated as Trusted, all transactions reported by those “trusted partners” will be automatically confirmed (see Section 7.A).

To perform this action in MultiTrace, watch this video.

When accounts are indicated as Mandated and the seller has the volumes at their location, the buyer will be able to Purchase from the stock positions of the owner (the seller). This can be done using the Purchase function (see Section 6.B). To manage your trade partners, please enter the section “Maintain Trade Partners” under Actions on your Dashboard. Click “Add” on the top right to add a trade partner to your list. Select “trusted” and/or “mandated”. Your selection will give rights to the added trade partner to perform trading and stock activities on your behalf, based on your selection.

To perform this action in MultiTrace, watch this video.

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6. Report Trade

6.a Sell

Sell allows you to report a trade of volume from your stock position to a buyer, representing one or multiple physical deliveries.

The information in the transaction (volume, quality, etc.) must be the same as the information reflected in the documentation accompanying the physical trade(s). Once you make a sell trade, a trade transaction ID will be generated which will appear as a log in your Trade tab.

To process a trade via the Sell button you need to fill in all the mandatory fields (those marked with a red asterisk) on the Report New Trade form:

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To perform this action in MultiTrace, watch this video.

Note: The Buyer Reference field will be used to identify positions for the buyer in the Position Overview for transactions. This reference number will populate in subsequent dropdown menus that utilize those positions when choosing volumes for activities. It is important to fill out this field in agreement with the buyer.

6.b Purchase

When a company has created a Mandated Trade Partner relationship in the system (see Section 5), they can utilize the purchase function. The functionality then works the same way as the sell screen and details should be filled in the same.

To perform this action in MultiTrace, watch this video.

6.c Sustainability Differential (SD), Sustainability Investment (SI), and Premiums

For all trades that are created from Certified Volume or Certified Product, the fields for SD/SI and Premium will be displayed. If SD and SI or Premium requirements are required for that crop, fill in fields as required per the standard (see Annex Chapter 3- Income and Shared Responsibility). If there are no requirements for that crop at the time, then select “Not Required” and choose a reason from the dropdown that will appear.

To perform this action in MultiTrace, watch this video.

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7. Confirming Transactions

To perform this action in MultiTrace, watch this video.

7.a Confirm

By default, all trades to your account must be confirmed. To confirm a transaction, click on the Trade Overview. Select the transaction you would like to confirm by clicking on the ID or Confirm button.

This will take you to the details. At this point, you can only update the reference field in the Buyer section of the transaction and no other details. Once you have completed your review and if all information is correct, click Confirm at the bottom of the screen.

To bypass confirmation, you will need to add your supplier as a Trusted Trade Partner (see Section 5).

7.b Withdraw

If the transaction was made in error and has not been confirmed by the buyer yet, you can withdraw the transaction by selecting Withdraw. This will take you to the transaction. Once you have completed your review, click Withdraw at the bottom of the screen.

7.c Update

Prior to confirming a transaction, if you or your buyer requests that you change the details, you can update the details by selecting Update. This will take you to the transaction. At this point, you can update any field in the transaction. Once you have completed your review, click Submit at the bottom of the screen.

7.d Reject

If a transaction declared to you by a supplier was done in error or is incorrect, you can reject the transaction. This will take you to the transaction. At this point, you can give a reason for rejection. Once you have completed your review, click Reject at the bottom of the screen.

7.e PDF of Transactions

If you need a copy of the transaction to share with a client, you can download a copy of a confirmed transaction by searching for the transaction in the Trade Overview and clicking the icon on the far right of the screen:

8. Conversions

With the conversion functionality, you can reflect your processing activities and change the product into an available subproduct. To perform a conversion, you will need to know the raw material volume input you are using and either the output volume or the conversion rate between the input and output.

Conversion is only allowed in direction of physical processing (forward). The system will give you the possibility to perform the different Conversions based on what activities are listed in your license (i.e. processing including manufacturing gives rights to most conversions).

To perform this action in MultiTrace, watch this video.

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9. Mixing

The activity ‘Mixing’ is used to mix volumes from multiple positions into a new position so that transactions can be reported in accordance with reality. This enhances the credibility of traceability.

To perform this action in MultiTrace, watch this video.

Example:

Mixing the Origin (Creating Mixed IP). Select one or more IP positions with different values for Certificate Holder of Origin.

Example:

  • Input Position 1 = Certificate Holder Origin A,
  • Input Position 2 = Certificate Holder Origin B
  • Output Position = Mix with Certificate Holder Origin A and Certificate Holder Origin B

Mixing cannot be unmixed (in its physical state) but it can be reversed by the certificate holder that has performed the mixing activity. This is only possible if the mix has not been sold onwards.

When stock positions of different traceability levels are mixed, the lowest level of traceability is the default. For example, if IP and Segregation are both components of the mix, then the resulting new position will be Segregation. If Segregation and Mass Balance are both components of the mix, then the resulting new position will be Mass Balance.

  • For cocoa specific guidance on mixing, please see Section 18
  • For tea specific guidance on mixing, please see Section 19
  • For herbs and spices guidance on mixing, please see Section 20

10. Downgrade

The Downgrade option allows you to move the Traceability level of any stock downstream. Certificate Holders can downgrade the Traceability Level of positions available in their Overview.

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To perform this action in MultiTrace, watch this video.

Example: You can only downgrade IP to Segregation and Mass Balance (Likewise Segregation can be downgraded to Mass Balance alone).

11. Redeem

The activity 'Redeem' marks the end of the online traceability system for Rainforest Alliance Certified products. Companies must report the stock activity Redeem for all Rainforest Alliance Certified volumes when the certified product is packaged and labelled as certified.

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To perform this action in MultiTrace, watch this video.

If the brand owner is a retailer or Out of Home brand, and they have opted-in to traceability reporting, then a sales transaction of the certified product is issued.

Note: Redeem is not currently an option or required for multi-ingredient products (see Section 15.E).

12. Remove

Volumes must be removed from the traceability system if:

  • they are spoiled (due to mold, pest, fire, etc.) hence cannot be used.
  • sold under another certification scheme that is not Rainforest Alliance or sold as conventional.

In case of mass balance, the certified volume can physically be sold onwards as conventional, and corresponding mass balance credits may be kept.

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To perform this action in MultiTrace, watch this video.

Note: Remove is not currently an option or required for multi-ingredient products (see Section 15.E)

13. Reverse

Any activity that has been completed in the system (sell, purchase, redeem, remove, mix, conversion, manufacture) can be undone in the system if it has not been processed or sold forward in the system. To undo these activities, you will need to use the Reverse option on the activity you would like to undo. For trades that need to be reversed, the reversal will need to be confirmed by the supplier.

To locate the reverse button for trades, redeems, and removes, go to the Trade overview tab and locate the transaction ID you would like to reverse:

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Note: For reversing a Remove in the system, you will need to add an attachment as supporting documentation in the removal screen.

14. Volume Aggregation

In the traceability system, by default all volumes will be separate when transacting, converting, or mixing in the system.

Note: There is an exception for some cocoa products. Please see Section 18.

14.a Commodity Settings - Aggregate positions

You can adjust certain settings for each commodity in the Dashboard tab and selecting Commodity Settings:

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In the Commodity Settings, ‘Aggregate Positions’ will allow users to merge all trades for the indicated traceability level of similar characteristics into one stock position on confirmation of a trade (i.e., commodity, subproduct, variety, etc.). This setting can be used to help make administration of the traceability system easier. This option will also remove references from the Trade & Stock Overview positions.

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To perform this action in MultiTrace, watch this video.

15. Multi-Ingredient Traceability

Multi-ingredient products are products that include one or more certified ingredients. These could include semi-finished or final products like chocolate couverture, ready-to-drink tea, herbal tea mix, or chocolate hazelnut spread, to name a few examples.

15.a Maintain Multi-Ingredient

To configure a product for use in multi-ingredient reporting, you will need to go to the Report Multi-Ingredient section and click on Maintain Multi-Ingredient.

Fill out the mandatory fields. When you are ready to start using the multi-ingredient reporting and the details look correct, check the Is Active box and click Submit.

There are different ways to create products, depending how you and your clients agree to reporting needs.

To perform this action in MultiTrace, watch this video.

15.a.1 Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) Product Level

This is the most detailed level of multi-ingredient traceability. This example shows how to create a product:

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15.a.2 Product Type Level

Examples of a product category would be a product line of ready to drink iced tea, a product line of confectionery products. This example shows how to create a product:

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15.a.3 Bulk Sale Level

Examples of a bulk sale would be all the different products you sold to a customer in each period (month, quarter, etc.), such as an herbal tea mix or flower bouquet. This example shows how to create a bulk sale level product:

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Once added you will be able to see it in the Product Overview for Multi-Ingredients. Create the finished Product via the Report Manufacturing action.

15.b Report Manufacturing

Once multi-ingredient products are configured, select ‘Report Manufacturing’:

Outline the manufacturing by filling in all required mandatory fields. The products configured in Maintain Multi-Ingredient should now appear in the Product dropdown.

You need to add at least one position in the From Positions section by clicking on the Position dropdown and selecting a position. If your product contains multiple ingredients, you can select another position and select additional ingredients. Report manufacturing represents how much certified volume for a given commodity and its corresponding subproduct(s) will result in an output volume that accounts for all the ingredients being used.

For example, if a chocolate bar is created with cocoa liquor and cocoa butter and contains other non-certified ingredients (such as sugar), you will indicate the amount used of certified cocoa butter and liquor in the ingredients you would like to add, and the output volume would reflect the total chocolate (certified ingredients plus non-certified ingredients) of the final product. In the example below, we have used 200kg of certified cocoa liquor and 100kg of certified cocoa butter to create a product ‘Chocolate Bar’ of 2000kg:

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To perform this action in MultiTrace, watch this video.

Note: The volume created can represent an aggregate over time of how much of a product is being manufactured. In the example above, the manufacturing could represent one months’ worth of production and not the individual unit.

15.c Multi-Ingredient Stock Overview

After trades of multi-ingredient products are confirmed or are created through report manufacture populate on the Position Overview screen (see Section 4.A). To view the positions, click on the option for ‘Multi Ingredient’:

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15.d Selling A Multi-Ingredient Product

Selling a multi-ingredient follows the same process as a single ingredient product (See Section 6.A). To select your multi-ingredient product, choose the option Multi Ingredient on the transaction screen in the Trade section:

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To perform this action in MultiTrace, watch this video.

15.d.1 Masking the Footprint

Since multi-ingredient products may contain sensitive information, companies have the option to mask the footprint of multi-ingredient products when trading. To do so, check the Mask Footprint box in the position section:

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When checking this box, the farm certificate holder, commodity, subproduct, and country of origin information will be hidden from the buyer, but the total volumes and related SD and SI figures will be visible.

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15.e Redeeming and Removing A Multi-Ingredient Product

The option to redeem or remove multi-ingredient products is not available in the system and currently not required in the standard.

16. Excel Upload

To perform this action in MultiTrace, watch this video.

To help report transactions in bulk instead of individual reporting, MultiTrace has the ‘Transaction Upload’ or Excel upload functionality which allows you to process the following actions:

  • Trade (Sell, Purchase, Redeem, Remove) for Single Ingredient (Video)
  • Trade for Multi-ingredient (Video)
  • Mix
  • Conversion
  • Report Manufacturing (Video)

You can find the Transaction Upload feature under the Trade Overview tab, and Upload Transactions:

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16.a Downloading Templates for Use

You will need to fill out the Excel template that is available for download in the system. The different templates can be downloaded directly from the system after clicking on Upload Transactions. Once in the screen, click on Download Templates and select which template you would like to use:

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Note: After downloading each template has a tab for guidance that explains what is and is not required on the Excel template.

16.b Data Mapping

Prior to proceeding with the Excel Upload feature, users need to set up the Data Mapping to 'map’ the language of external systems to MultiTrace language.

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You can click on the Add Mapping button to include a new terminology or else include a new entry to be part of your mapping.

To perform this action in MultiTrace, watch this video.

Note: The mapping is very important as only those fields which are mapped will be picked up when performing the Excel upload.

16.c Uploading the Template

Once you have completed Steps A & B, the next step requires you to upload the populated template.

Click on the Upload Excel button as seen in the following screenshot: Graphical user interface, application  Description automatically generated

MultiTrace will ask you to add the file for upload:

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Please select the type of Template you are uploading by clicking ‘Choose File’, select file you would like to upload, and click ‘Upload’:

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Once the file has been successfully processed, MultiTrace will lead you to step 2 and at this point will outline how many rows it has processed to be uploaded (this varies based on how many lines of data you have added in the file).

If any errors are detected, the system will specify corrections needed. The upload will not proceed until all errors are resolved.

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Once the data has been validated successfully, the system will enable the mass upload activity initially selected. Once the mass upload is initiated, it cannot be cancelled, and transactions created will need to be manually corrected if needed.

17. Coffee Specifics

17.a Delivery & Receipt

Deliver: Without transferring ownership, you can store volumes at another member (a warehouse for example). Use the function ‘Deliver’ to report volumes that you have transferred to another member.

This delivery needs to be confirmed by the receiving member.

Receipt: ‘Receipt’ indicates a change of location of the product, like Delivery but entered from the side of the receiver where the product is stored.

18. Cocoa Specifics

18.a Origin Matching and Mixing

Origin matching was introduced to address the demand for how certified cocoa from a specific country would benefit farmers from that country and require companies to purchase certified cocoa from the countries that match the origin of cocoa used in certified consumer products.

In the traceability system, dried cocoa beans and cocoa nibs from different countries of origin cannot be mixed.

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To perform this action in MultiTrace, watch this video.

19. Tea Specifics

19.a Selling Marks

A selling mark must be selected when reporting the processing activity from Green Leaf to Made Tea or when using the bulk function. Adding a selling mark is always done in the Dashboard tab and clicking on Selling Marks:

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If the selling mark is not listed, a new selling mark needs to be created before reporting. First you will have to click on the add button as shown in the screenshot below:

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You can then name your selling mark and give it a start and end date. If you do not wish to give it an end date, you can use it whenever you require.

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Once positions are processed (blended, decaffeinated, or made into instant tea), they will lose their selling mark.

To perform this action in MultiTrace, watch this video.

Note: If your client indicates that the selling mark name is wrong in the system and you would like to update the name, you can select the selling mark and edit the name. This will be reflected in all transactions from that selling mark.

19.b Mixing

19.b.1 Blending

Blending is an option for mixing for tea. Blending will remove the selling mark from a position.

Blend

To perform this action in MultiTrace, watch this video.

To perform this action via Excel Upload, watch this video.

19.b.2 Bulking

If you click on bulk option, the selling mark appears, and you can assign a new selling mark. You will have to select your positions and the quantity that you would like to bulk and submit your mix activity which will bulk your stock positions.

Please note that you will have to create your own selling mark prior to bulking.

Bulk

To perform this action in MultiTrace, watch this video.

19.c Tea SD/SI

For all volumes of tea that are redeemed (see Section 11) from July 1, 2023, Sustainability Differential (SD) and Sustainability Investment (SI) will be required. At the end of a calendar year quarter, a report will be generated for you to complete. The Administrator(s) of the account will be notified by email when the report is available.

To access the report, click on the ‘SD/SI Reports’ tab. Here you will see an overview of available reports to fill out. If the report has the status ‘Open’, it will need to be completed. To edit a report, click on the Report ID number.

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For instructions on how to fill out a report, see Section 19.C.2.

19.c.1 Setting SD/SI Default Rates

The system automatically sets the rates for SD to $10 per Metric Ton and for SI to $40 per Metric Ton. To set a different default rate to be used in the SD/SI reporting screens, you can configure a rate. To adjust the default rate, click on ‘Configure SD/SI Default Rate’:


This will open a screen where you can edit the rates. When you have completed editing the rates, click ‘Save’:

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19.c.2 Tea SD/SI Reporting

After clicking on the report ID in the overview ‘SD/SI Reports’, you will see a report to complete. It will prefill the SD and SI rates based on what you have configured as a default. The SD and SI rates can be adjusted per line of the report.

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To save the information you have updated and return to the form at a later date, you can click ‘Save’. To reset all information back to the default rates and start over, you can click ‘Reset’.

Once the report is complete and accurate, click ‘Finalize’. You will be prompted with a legal disclaimer. Once you click ‘Agree’, the Rainforest Alliance will issue the invoice for the totals indicated on the finalized form. The invoice will be sent via email.

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20. Herbs & Spices Specifics

20.a Herbal Tea Blends

Blends of herbal tea can be created in the system following the guidance highlighted in Section 15.A.3. Different herbs and spices can be mixed in one bulk sale and sold forward using the Mask Footprint feature.

21. Flowers Specifics

21.a Unit of Measurement

All flowers are reported in the unit of measurement “number of stems” not kilograms.

21.b Bouquets

To report bouquets in the system, companies can utilize the multi-ingredient functionality (see Section 15)

22. Banana & Fresh Fruit Specifics

22.a Units of Measurement

Pineapples, oranges, and bananas have the option to select reporting in different units of measurement to boxes on the transaction. The unit of measurement can be changed in the Position section of the transaction:

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To perform this action in MultiTrace, watch this video.

23. Processed Fruit Specifics

23.a Brix

All transactions of processed fruit juices and purees require companies to fill out the Brix field on the transaction. The Brix can be input in the position section of the transaction.

To perform this action in MultiTrace, watch this video.

24. Royalties

Royalties are calculated for each crop as specified in the Rainforest Alliance License Agreement General Terms and Conditions based on activities performed in traceability. Royalties are charged once in the supply chain.

The Finance tab in the home screen shows royalty per commodity and displays an overview of the invoices. This overview does not include a payment history.

25. Change history

Version no.  

Effective
Date  

Significant Changes  

Previous
Version no.  

1.0 

October 2022 

New version 

N/A

1.1

April 2023

Removed information on tea conversion before the action redeem

1.0

1.2

May 2023

Updated information on aggregation (Section 14) and new mandatory reference field in the screens Sale, Conversion and Redeem.

1.1

1.3

July 2023

New section for tea SD/SI (Section 19.C)

1.2






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