Our Work

What do we do?

In the SAN we are working to be a global network promoting a transformation toward sustainable agriculture. To accomplish this, we help farmers to implement best practices and we develop standards for best agricultural and cattle production practices that we coordinate in a certification system.

We implement this certification system jointly with local partners in different countries and with the Rainforest Alliance global organization. Products grown on farms that comply with our standards use the Rainforest Alliance CertifiedTM seal.

At SAN we also work on strengthening our partners’ technical assistance plans and facilitating the flow of information between them so that more farmers can gain access to training in best agricultural practices.

Technical assistance is a critical element for accomplishing our mission, since many farmers benefit from this support in order to implement the best agricultural and social practices inherent in the Sustainable Agriculture Standards.

SAN partners provide support to farmers of all sizes through training, field demonstrations, videos and other educational materials and techniques appropriate for each type of crop, environment, local culture and learning capacity of the participants involved.

These are the SAN’s strategic goals:

Effectiveness: Develop programs and systems that are effective in maximizing the sustainability of agriculture.

Transformation: Build a critical mass to promote and support sustainable agricultural practices.

Global reach: Combine worldwide representation and local influence to ensure that priority areas benefit from SAN.

Institutional resilience: Strengthen and develop SAN in order to provide consistent and high quality delivery of programs.

Who do we work with?

In addition to our partners, our certification program is taken into the field by internationally accredited certification bodies.

These certifiersare responsible for conducting field audits to verify compliance with our Standards for Sustainable Agriculture on the farms seeking to obtain certification and those that remain in the program over the years.

Although our system is open to the involvement of new certifiers, we are currently assessing our global assurance model and temporarily we are not receiving new applications to accredit new certification bodies.

The certification bodies we work with are:


Learning and Support Program

SAN members are involved in a wide variety of technical assistance and support activities to help farmers and other members of the agricultural chain implement the best practices of the Sustainable Agriculture Standard.


These activities include training, field schools for farmers, farm assessments, building management systems for farms and groups, and the provision of templates, forms and other tools for best practices.

Each SAN partner develops its own technical assistance programs and tools, which are financed through service fees as well as funds from donors, international agencies and governmental development agencies.

The SAN Secretariat actively supports the technical assistance activities of its partners in four key areas:

  • Partner access to experts, tools, technologies and training in technical areas.
  • Efficiency, content and delivery of supportto farmers from SAN partners and other technical assistance providers.
  • Research, development and verification of models that incorporate learning activities for farmers within the SAN certification process.
  • Building technical assistance capacity in SAN partners and increasing their technical assistance activities through projects on important crops in their countries and regions.

Accreditation of certification bodies


We have an Accreditation Program for certification bodies that aims to expand certification capacity globally and ensure highly credible certification processes centered on quality, integrity and competitiveness.

The program is focused on preserving the spirit of SAN’s mission while ensuring high quality certification management and the continuing development of a highly qualified pool of auditors.

Our certifier accreditation includes ISO65 requirements and additional SAN criteria to ensure high quality audits. SAN criteria include auditor compliance with the Auditor Competence Program, which ensures that the system has professionals with exceptional skills, professional experience, training and continual development.

How to become an accredited certification body in our system


SAN’s accredited certification bodies must demonstrate a high level of technical and operational capacity to conduct the work effectively and efficiently. Additionally, their objectives should be aligned with the SAN mission.

We aim to build a community of certifiers that not only have the technical ability to conduct audits and award certification, but they also share our conservation mission, our vision and passion for sustainable agriculture,and our commitment to improving the livelihoods of rural communities around the world.

If you are interested in becoming accredited as a certifier in our system, follow these steps:

  1. 1- Send an email to accreditation@san.agrequesting the materials package including the requirements and the Certification Body Application Form.
  2. 2- Complete the form and the application to start the pre-evaluation process. This process can take up to 60 days.
  3. If your pre-evaluation is positive, SAN will send you a letter with instructions for continuing the accreditation process.
  4. Submit these documents to the SAN accreditation body to complete the process.

Although our system is open to the involvement of new certifiers, we are currently assessing our global assurance model and temporarily we are not receiving new applications to accredit new certification bodies.

Auditor Competence Program

The competence of the auditor, his or her continuing development and global level calibration are critical elements in ensuring the quality and the credibility of SAN/Rainforest Alliance certification.

The Sustainable Agriculture Network is proud of its auditors and their understanding of local cultures, languages, policies and ecology. SAN auditors are usually local residents of the country where they participate in certification activity, hired by local accredited certifiers.

Our Auditor Competence Programestablishes a training framework for accredited auditors and trainers as part of the conditions that certification bodiesmust meet in seeking SAN accreditation.

The purpose of this program is to promote the high quality and expertise of SAN accredited auditors worldwide. To accomplish this, the Competence Program sets the guidelines for:

  • Harmonizing the selection and training of auditors and their instructors.
  • Updating the status of the auditors and trainerson a regular basis, evaluating their performance and encouragingcontinuing improvement.

SAN accredited auditors receive periodic technical and field training to optimize their performance. Any professional interested in becoming an accredited SAN auditor must complete and pass the specific training courses for each standard.

To harmonize quality at a global level, the SAN:

  • Defines requirements for the selection and promotion of auditors and their trainers.
  • Defines the content of thetraining materials.
  • Supervises the quality of the training activities and the performance of the auditors and their trainers.

For additional information about the Auditor Competence Program, please contact: srioja@san.ag

Get Certified

Certification for farms and chain of custody operations that want to become Rainforest Alliance Certified™ is offered by accredited certification bodies. If you want to know more about auditing services or if you are a producer interested in certification, please contact the accredited certification body in your region.

You can check the countries in which every certification body works:

Africert (+)
CyD (+)
Imaflora (+)
IMO India (+)
Indocert (+)
NaturaCert (+)
Productos y Procesos Sustentables (+)
RA-Cert (+)
SFC (+)

The SAN/RA system has more than a million of certified farms and operation. Every month you can check the list of active certificates for the following standards, in alphabetical order by country:

  • Sustainable Agriculture Standard – Rainforest Alliance CertifiedTM farms and groups
  • RA-SAN Chain of custody Standard – participating operators
  • SAN Standard for Sustainable Cattle Production Systems
  • SAN Climate Module

Our Members

Transforming Agriculture
for the greater good of all

2017 Sustainable Agriculture Network

Members of:

Phone / Fax (+506) 2272-9312