Rooibos Ltd now a UTZ CERTIFIED buyer
Rooibos Ltd has just become a member of the Amsterdam-based global certification agency UTZ CERTIFIED, which sets sustainability standards for the growing and sourcing of coffee, cocoa, tea and Rooibos around the world. UTZ CERTIFIED Good Inside also approved a Code of Conduct for Rooibos with the cooperation of local stakeholders and industry experts.
According to Rooibos Ltd, UTZ certification serves as a benchmark for sustainability and ethical practices. “In essence, it means consumers can now trace our product from the tea bag back to the farm where that particular batch of Rooibos came from. UTZ certification also allows us to ask a premium, which can be reinvested to the benefit of our producers. This money is used, among others, to enhance the working conditions of the workers on these Rooibos farms,” said Johan Brand, technical manager of Rooibos Ltd. Utz means "good" in the Mayan language.
UTZ certification therefore serves as an industry standard for people who buy products that hold proven benefits for social and environmental development. To obtain UTZ certification, farms and other stakeholders have to undergo a rigorous audit of their practices in terms of traceability, record keeping, agriculture, food safety, farm management, energy usage, and social and environmental programmes. The compliance of members is reconfirmed annually by an independent ISO 65 accredited certification body.
“Awareness about sustainability practices and organic produce is increasing all over the world as people are looking for ways to prevent lifestyle diseases and reduce the impact of our actions on the earth. For Rooibos Ltd, UTZ CERTIFIED is like an extra quality label that says people can trust what they are buying,” said Johan Brand.
Rooibos Limited has a 70% share of the international market for Rooibos and it represents over 250 farms. "Although we are processing a natural product, our UTZ certification has made us even more conscious of the environment and the possible negative effects of our processing operation. We were also able to enrich our worker's knowledge by providing health and safety training in our work environment," explained Brand. Find more information at www.utzcertified.org
Rooibos Ltd obtains Rainforest Alliance Certification
Rooibos Ltd and a number of its producers recently obtained Rainforest Alliance Certification after a stringent audit from the Rainforest Alliance organisation in New York, USA. This allows Rooibos Ltd to use the Rainforest Alliance logo of the little green frog as a global quality standard for Rooibos products that have been produced in an environmentally, socially and economically sustainable manner.
“Increasingly, consumers from all over the world want to know that the products they purchase are produced in a way that supports people, profit and the planet. Independent certification authorities such as the Rainforest Alliance reassure consumers that Rooibos has been produced in a way that benefits the environment as well as the lives of the farmers and their workers,” says Martin Bergh, managing director of Rooibos Ltd.
“Rainforest certification therefore serves as a general wide-spectrum guarantee to consumers that these products adhere to certain minimum standards in terms of people management practices, agricultural methods and business principles. People who buy Rainforest Alliance certified Rooibos will know that the farmers who produced these products are not exploiting their labourers, and that they taking good care of their land and follow sound business principles to ensure a sustainable future,” explains Bergh.
All farms that are Rainforest Alliance Certified have met the environmental, social and economic standards of the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) which cover ecosystem conservation, worker rights and safety, wildlife protection, water and soil conservation, agrochemical reduction, decent housing, and legal wages and contracts for workers.
“In essence, the logo of the green frog indicates that Rooibos products carrying this symbol have been produced in a way that respects the environment and the people involved in producing these products,” says Bergh.
Find more information at www.rainforest-alliance.org