GNBCC Member Feature: Rainforest Alliance


In 1986, led by founder Daniel Katz, a group of volunteers convened a major conference on the unsustainable forest crisis—and from this event, the Rainforest Alliance was born as an international non-profit organization working at the crossroads of agriculture, forests, and business.  In 1989, we launched our sustainable forestry program to conserve biodiversity and provide economic incentives to businesses that practice responsible forestry with a three-person office in Costa Rica.

As we marked our 15th anniversary in 2002, we celebrated more than 1,200 companies and cooperatives who had adopted our sustainable practices like Kraft Foods committing to purchase Rainforest Alliance Certified™ coffee in 2003—five million pounds in the first two years and the first African coffee farms becoming Rainforest Alliance Certified in 2006 in Ethiopia and 250 farms in Côte d'Ivoire in 2007—our first cocoa certification in Africa. 30 years on, many more companies like Mars, Nestlé Nespresso, Tetley, Costa Coffee, Caribou coffee are committed to sourcing from Rainforest Alliance certified farms and armed with the expertise and longstanding partnerships, we are implementing proven and scalable solutions on the ground while testing innovative ways to drive change.

The organization, as a non-profit, was registered in Ghana in March 2010 as it began its sustainable programs in the TREES project in the Juabeso Bia landscape.

In 2017, when the revised SAN Standard was launched, we published our intent to merge with UTZ, an originally Dutch organization, which became effective in 2018. With the merger fully completed, Rainforest Alliance is the name of the new organization with our main operational offices in Amsterdam and New York . In two years, in 2020, the new Rainforest Alliance launched its new certification program that brings together the best from the premerger Rainforest Alliance and UTZ certification schemes. The new program has reimagined certification to make more impact.

Rainforest Alliance’s Main Activities are:

  1. Promoting sustainable programs (Reimagining certification) by giving support in training, monitoring and assurance services to members on our Rainforest Alliance and UTZ certification schemes. We also work with third party certification bodies to ensure credibility of our assurance system and have oversight of these certification bodies.
  2. Sector Partnerships – In collaboration with different actors in the sustainability industry, implementing various projects that are aimed at making deep-rooted change on some of the most pressing social and environmental issues.
  3. Sustainable Landscapes and Livelihoods – Supporting local communities in different Landscapes across the world to preserve natural forests and landscapes and facilitating alternative source of income to reduce total reliance by communities on natural forests. Currently, Landscape projects are running in the Juabeso-Bia and Sefwi-Wiawso districts in collaboration with our private sector partners.
  4. Reimagining certification. Certification has had a huge impact, but it must continue to evolve to drive greater impact for people and nature and provide more value to farmers and companies. The merger of the Rainforest Alliance and UTZ in 2018 was a natural moment that put us in a unique position to take a step back and look at the future of certification, realizing that we have something that not many other organizations have: scale. With that scale comes both a huge opportunity and responsibility to create greater impact. By reimagining certification, we can combine our extensive history of certification, hands-on expertise, knowledge of diverse sectors, ability to innovate, and scale to take our work to the next level. Thus leading to the developing of our 2020 certification program that takes the best of the Rainforest Alliance and UTZ certification standards to create a stronger, robust and value-adding system that harnesses the power of data, encourages continuous improvement, contextualization and shared responsibility. This is our first step on the journey towards our long-term vision for the future of certification.

Rainforest Alliance is ready to support GNBCC Members by giving inputs in Sustainable agriculture and also contribute to forest protection and management interventions. We are also open to assist to organize field trips and press visit for interested partners on our sustainable initiatives, both in cocoa and the forest communities.

We would also like to collaborate and keep our networks strong with like-minded organizations to ensure that we have a sustainable cocoa sector and thriving forest communities.

You can read more about us on and also here.



36 Abotsi Street, East Legon.

PMB CT 435, Cantonments, Accra.


1st Floor, Yaa Attah Arcade, Oforikrom, Kumasi.

Telephone Contact : +233 274526343 / +233 244412537

Email :

GNBCC | News