How our system works

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Who pays

Farms: The farm pays all costs associated with meeting the standard, for example taking areas out of production to comply with buffer zone widths, implementing practices or building infrastructure to achieve certification.

The farm also pays the CB for its audit services. SAN and RA do not regulate costs of audits, which vary significantly depending on size of the operation. Smallholders may organize an internal management system and seek certification as a group, thus reducing auditing and administrative costs.

CB’s: The CB pays the costs of non-programmed audits and research audits in cases when complaints are not confirmed. They also pay the accreditation body (IOAS) to become accredited.

Participation Royalty

A Participation Fee / Royalty is also levied once within each supply chain, usually with the first buyer of the certified product or importer.

In 2011, the SAN/Rainforest Alliance system introduced the Participation Royalty – a small charge levied once in the supply chain for Rainforest Alliance CertifiedTM (RAC) tea, coffee and cocoa based on volumes traded. In 2016 a fee was developed for bananas, which will become effective in 2017.

The royalty is based on volumes declared by sellers to the RA traceability system. The PR is levied only on tea, coffee, cocoa and will be launched on 1 January 2017 for bananas, and therefore also underpins the wider system that also certifies much smaller volumes of other certified products such as pineapple, vanilla, nuts and flowers. The annual revenue from Participation Agreement royalties are divided between SAN and Rainforest Alliance (25% and 75% respectively).


Who pays?

Participation royalty

Tea Processors of certified tea leaves $0.0125 per kg of made tea going into a blend
Coffee First buyers* of certified green coffee beans after shipment $0.015 per pound of green coffee beans
Cocoa First buyers of certified cocoa beans after shipment $0.015 per kg of cocoa beans
Bananas (as of 1 Jan 2017) 1st buyer or importer US$1.1 for every metric tonne of RAC bananas sold. This equates to US$0.02 per 18.14Kg box, or about one‑tenth of a US cent per kg.

* First buyer is the organization outside the country of origin that first buys green coffee beans/cocoa beans for onward sale or processing.

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Transforming Agriculture
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