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Rainforest Alliance: Process Update and Information

Welcome to a new regular feature to our news and views.

Certification is a very important element of our business, which sometimes can feel very administration heavy.

To help, we will summarise new and important changes to the certification regime.

We hope you enjoy reading this first one, and we look forward to hearing from you if you have any suggestions or feedback for the next feature.

Rainforest Alliance: update and useful information

In 2018 the Rainforest Alliance and UTZ, two of the world’s leading sustainability certification organisations, merged. The new resulting organisation, named the Rainforest Alliance, continues to tackle worldwide environmental and social issues under a single global certification standard that empowers farmers and companies to build more responsible and efficient supply chains.

As part of the transition, DRWakefield has just completed its 2020 Sustainable Agriculture Standard (SAS) audit, the new Rainforest Alliance certification programme.

Following our transition audit, we would like to share some useful tips to help us comply with the new SAS standard for Rainforest certified coffee.

Green bean coffee in it's cherry form.

For Producers


The SAS supply chain Traceability requirement is managed through the Rainforest Alliance transparent track system, Multitrace.

Reporting transactions under the SAS requirements include both the Sustainability Differential (SD) and Sustainability Investment (SI).

The Sustainability Differential (SD) is the premium price paid for implementing more sustainable farming practices and achieving certification. DRWakefield pays this as the first buyer of certified products in the form of a monetary payment on top of the market price, quality premiums or other differentials and cannot be paid in kind.

The Sustainability Investment (SI) is the mandatory cash or in-kind investment buyers of RFA Certified coffee made for the specific purpose of helping meet the farm requirements of the Sustainable Agriculture Standard.

For more information, visit the Rainforest Alliance 2020 Farm Requirements FAQ.


When filling out contracts under the new SAS requirement, our trade team will need to know:

  • If DRWakefield is a “first buyer”.
  • If the coffee is SAS RA certified, you have completed your transition or full certification audit against the SAS standard.
  • If DRW will be the next certificate holder in the supply chain.

Scenario 1 

Farm – RA ID – RA_000xxxxxxxx

DRW – RA ID – RA_000xxxxxxxx

In this example, DRWakefield would be the first buyer. If the coffee is SAS certified, you will need to negotiate SD and/or SI on this contract.

If the coffee is not SAS certified, you will use the RFA premium for the purpose of entering the transaction into Multi trace. Here the contract will only need to show the RFA premium.

The SD / SI, if applicable, will need to be broken down on both the contract and invoice.

If the separate amounts of SD and SI are not known prior to contracting:

  • The contractual agreements may reference one total amount
  • When an actual sale of the certified product is made, SD and SI amounts must be indicated in MultiTrace.
  • The sum of the SD and SI equals the total amount agreed.

Scenario 2 

Farm – RA ID – RA_000xxxxxxxx

Exporter – RA ID – RA_000xxxxxxxx

DRW – RA ID – RA_00xxxxxxxx

In this scenario, DRWakefield is not the first buyer. Therefore, no SD or SI is payable for this contract.

Traceability level 

  • Identity preserved (IP) – can identify RFA certified coffee back to a farm certificate holder.
  • Segregation – the certified product is kept separate from the non-certified coffee, both physically and in documentation.
  • Mixed IP – if certified coffee is from different certified sources / farms, but IP is preserved throughout the supply chain.

The traceability level for all our RA certified contracts is Identity Preserved.

Please let the trade team know if the traceability level is different, and we can amend the contract. The traceability level on the contract and invoice must match the information entered MultiTrace.


Our compliance department will confirm RA transactions in MultiTrace, the traceability level, SD / SI (if applicable), and the volume must match the information shown on the contract and invoice. When reporting transactions into MultiTrace, please include the DRWakefield contract number so we can match the coffee to the contract.

For Roasters

Ongoing sales of RA certified coffee

The requirements now have a clear end to end traceability platform which reflects the movement of RA certified coffee from certificate holder to certificate holder.

It is not only a requirement to report a change in legal ownership, but the new standard also requires reporting of processing activities which result in a change of the certified volume (e.g., green to roasted coffee, the volume must be converted in multi trace before it is redeemed or sold onward.

Our compliance department is responsible for reporting a new trade of RA certified coffee.

Once a sales invoice has been produced, the ownership of the coffee is transferred to the next supply chain certificate holder.

The buyer must confirm the transaction in Multi trace each time this happens. It’s very important we keep an up-to-date and accurate supply chain list. So please let us know if the status of your certification changes.

Transactions must be reported in multi-trace within two weeks from the end of the calendar quarter.


At DRWakefield, we have a dedicated compliance department for all your certification requirements. So please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions.

Please email compliance@drwakefield.com for all your certification communication.