Request for proposals

Consultant for Rainforest Alliance

Rainforest Alliance is seeking a consultant to submit proposals for a study on the cost of certification compliance and implementation of the Sustainability Investments Plan in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana.


Summary information

·      Department: Certification Led Sectors, Markets Transformation

·      Location: Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana

·      Desired start date and duration: January 15, 2023 – May 31, 2023

·      Under direction of Standards & Assurance Officer


Consultancy summary                              

About the Rainforest Alliance

 

Rainforest Alliance (RA) is an international nonprofit organization working at the intersection of business, agriculture, and forests to make responsible business the new normal. We are building an alliance to protect forests, improve the livelihoods of farmers and forest communities, promote their human rights, and help them mitigate and adapt to the climate crisis. We envision a world where people and nature thrive in harmony.

 

We work towards making responsible business the new normal through our certification program, tailored supply chain services, landscape and community work and advocacy.

 

For more information, please visit http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/about.

 

Overview

 

The 2020 Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Agriculture Standard includes the concept of Shared Responsibility – an acknowledgement that all supply chain actors have a role to play in making the cocoa sector truly sustainable. To help realize this vision, our 2020 Sustainable Agriculture Standard outlines two requirements for the buyers of Rainforest Alliance Certified commodities: the Sustainability Differential (SD) and Sustainability Investments (SI). This study will focus on the SI.

 

The SI are mandatory cash or in-kind investments from buyers of Rainforest Alliance Certified products to certified producers for the specific purpose of helping them meet the Farm Requirements of the Sustainable Agriculture Standard.

 

These types of investments include those that are required for producers to fulfill core compliance or mandatory improvement criteria in the standard as well as the cost of achieving certification (i.e., implementation of the Digital Internal Management System and audit costs). The investments must go towards the needs identified by producers in their investment plans, and buyers must report on the investments they make.

 

Main Objectives

Carry out a study at various levels to gather data on and assess how Rainforest Alliance Certified groups of different sizes and maturities have understood the purpose of SI, used the Sustainability Investment Plan Template, and what their costs are to set up and maintain certification and group management. Use this information to provide recommendations on improving the uptake of the Sustainability Investment Plan Template and the design of the Template itself, increasing use of the Plan in conversations with buyers, and to provide an overview of the costs of setting up and maintaining Rainforest Alliance certification for certified farm groups in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana.

  

Contractor Services at a minimum, must include:

 

The main tasks expected as part of this assignment:

 

-1.To conduct research with approximately 20 certified groups to determine their level of understanding of SI, if and how they have used the Sustainability Investment Plan Template, and if not why, if they presented a completed Plan to their buyers, and if not why, and what their costs are to maintain certification and group management. This piece should include as a minimum the following:

1.1. Develop a questionnaire that will enable certified groups to communicate their understanding of the SI, their implementation of the Sustainability Investment Plan Template, and their costs related to certification. Questionnaires need to be developed and implemented in Côte d’Ivoire at a) board level of the cooperative, b) staff level of the cooperative, and in Ghana at the level of the responsible certificate holder (e.g., cooperative, licensed buying company, etc.). Questionnaire to be approved by RA.

1.2. Develop a methodology and proposal on how many certified groups to include in the study and how these should be selected

1.3. Questionnaire delivered on an agreed-with-RA sample of certified groups, and at 2 levels for Côte d’Ivoire: a) board, b) staff,and in Ghana at the level of the responsible certificate holder (e.g., cooperative, licensed buying company, etc.).

1.4. Initiate meetings with the CCC (Conseil du Café-Cacao) and COCOBOD, RA to be present, to understand the challenges that they see regarding the maintenance of certification at group level and of the implementation of Shared Responsibility as well as to collect suggested areas of improvement.

1.5. Conduct a study on a sample of certified groups identified as

a)     Small (fewer than 1,000 members),

                                               i.          new and well-established

                                              ii.          new to Rainforest Alliance certification (less than 3 years) and not (3 years or more)

                                             iii.          trader-led and independent

                                            iv.           other criteria considered to be interesting together with the consultant

b)     medium (between 1,000 and 5,000 members)

                                               i.          new and well-established

                                              ii.          new to Rainforest Alliance certification (less than 3 years) and not (3 years or more)

                                             iii.          trader-led and independent

                                            iv.           other criteria considered to be interesting together with the consultant

c)      large (more than 5,000 members),

                                               i.          new and well-established

                                              ii.          new to Rainforest Alliance certification (less than 3 years) and not (3 years or more)

                                             iii.          trader-led and independent

                                            iv.           other criteria considered to be interesting together with the consultant

to be able to analyze the differences between the various types of groups and use this to inform the recommendations

-2. To hold meetings (either online or face-to-face) with approximately 15 stakeholders, including traders, to understand the support they are currently providing to certified groups to maintain certification. List of stakeholders to be agreed with RA before meetings are scheduled. This part should include as a minimum:

2.1. Traders connected to the certified groups identified in the sample in Section 1 above

2.2. Development of a questionnaire for these stakeholder interviews

2.3. Conduct the interviews

-3. To use all the information collected to identify

3.1. the overall costs incurred by the certified groups to setup and maintain Rainforest Alliance certification,

3.2. what certified groups expected to receive as SI and what that would cover,

3.3. the barriers to uptake of the Sustainability Investment Plan Template,

3.4. for those using the Template, what is currently being included in their Plans and if/how they have been used in conversations with their buyers,

3.5. whether in-kind investments from traders that support maintaining group certification are known and understood by the certified group, and are they included in the Template

 

Deliverables

The deliverables expected according to the scope outlined above are:

1.    Opening meeting with RA

2.    Research Methodology and work plan

3.    Certified group sampling proposal, finally agreed with RA

4.    Questionnaire to be conducted at cooperative board level (Côte d’Ivoire), finally agreed with RA

5.    Questionnaire to be conducted at cooperative staff level (Côte d’Ivoire), finally agreed with RA

6.    Questionnaire to be conducted at responsible certificate holder level (Ghana), finally agreed with RA

7.    Questionnaire to be conducted with traders and other stakeholders, finally agreed with RA

8.    Trader and other stakeholder sampling proposal, finally agreed with RA

9.    Validation workshop with RA to present the findings and recommendations

10. Final report to RA (considering feedback from the validation workshop) on the project, including an analysis, broken down by different types of certified groups, of

a.    the overall costs incurred by the certified groups to set up and maintain Rainforest Alliance certification,

b.    what certified groups expected to receive as SI and what that would cover,

c.    the uptake and barriers to uptake of the Sustainability Investment Plan Template,

d.    for those using the Template, what is currently being included in their Plans and if/how they have been used in conversations with their buyers,

e.    for in-kind investments from traders that support maintaining group certification, are those known and understood by the certified group, and are they included in the Template

and suggestions for addressing the barriers to uptake of the Sustainability Investment Plan.

 

The expected level of effort to be included in the proposed budget should include:

·      Opening meeting with RA: ½ day

·      Documentation review: ½ day

·      Familiarizing with the SI template: 2 hours

·      Developing sampling framework: tbd by consultant

·      Developing questionnaires: tbd by consultant

·      Interviews: tbd by consultant

·      Analysis of results: tbd by consultant

·      Validation workshop with RA: ½ day

·      Writing draft Report: tbd by consultant

·      Writing final report (after feedback from RA): tbd by consultant 


GENERAL TERMS AND CONDITIONS FOR REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL

•     Proposals and/or any additional information received after the submission time and date are subject to rejection by The Rainforest Alliance. Incomplete proposals may be rejected by RA at its discretion.

•     The Rainforest Alliance reserves the right to request additional information at any time during the procurement process.

•     RA is at liberty to make multiple or no selections as part of the proposal process. RA also reserves the right to cancel the procurement.

•     All proposal costs shall be borne by the applicant and will not be reimbursed by RA. 


SELECTION CRITERIA

The Consultant or Consultant Firm should have:

•     Demonstrable experience with and understanding of the cocoa sector in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, at least 5 years or more;

•     Experience and knowledge with Rainforest Alliance and/or UTZ certification are a plus;

•     Previous experience in working with cooperatives, certified groups, or other organizations at management level;

•     Previous experience in designing support programs for cooperatives or other equivalent organizations;A full budget with a breakdown of costs, including all taxes and expenses needs to be presented as part of the proposal; and

•     Specific qualifications, including:

o  Strong analytical and research skills;

o  Fluent in French and English written and spoken;

o  Strong planning and reporting skills to meet agreed deadlines;

o  Authorization to work in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana;

o  Immediate availability.

 

PROPOSAL PROCESS AND FORMAT

Applicants are requested to submit their application by e-mail to wacocoa@ra.org with the title “Study on Sustainability Investments Implementation” before 22nd January, 2022. The following documents must be included:

•     Two-page cover letter providing a summary of the consultant’s relevant experience, expertise and contacts;

•     A clear concise practical proposal of no more than six pages on how to carry out the work, including methodology and timelines;

•     The proposal also needs to clearly state what will be needed from Rainforest Alliance to ensure smooth delivery and conclusion of the consultancy within the stipulated timeframe.

•     An indicative budget clearly outlining consultant fees (daily rates), number of days for proposed activities, travel and logistical expenses;

•     Updated CV(s) of the consultant or consultant team (as Annex)

 

Thank you for your interest in working with The Rainforest Alliance

Apply for position now

Please find below a link to our Data Privacy Policy View Privacy Policy