Rainforest Alliance
The Rainforest Alliance is a non-governmental organization
Non-governmental organization
A non-governmental organization is a legally constituted organization created by natural or legal persons that operates independently from any government. The term originated from the United Nations , and is normally used to refer to organizations that do not form part of the government and are...

 (NGO) with the published aims of working to conserve biodiversity
Biodiversity is the degree of variation of life forms within a given ecosystem, biome, or an entire planet. Biodiversity is a measure of the health of ecosystems. Biodiversity is in part a function of climate. In terrestrial habitats, tropical regions are typically rich whereas polar regions...

 and ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices and consumer behavior. It is based in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, and has offices throughout the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and worldwide. The conservation NGO was founded in 1987 by Daniel Katz (environmental activist)
Daniel Katz (environmental activist)
Daniel Katz is an American environmentalist writer, speaker and activist. He is currently the Senior Program Director at The Overbrook Foundation, where he leads environmental giving in the areas of biodiversity conservation, sustainability and climate change.Katz was instrumental in initiating the...

, who is still involved in the organization. Day to day management is the responsibility of its president, Tensie Whelan.

Rainforest Alliance programs

Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Forestry

The Rainforest Alliance launched the world’s first sustainable forestry certification program in 1989 to encourage market-driven and environmentally and socially responsible management of forests, tree farms and forest resources. The organization's SmartWood program helped found the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), a non-profit organization that promotes responsible forest management
Forest management
200px|thumb|right|[[Sustainable development|Sustainable]] forest management carried out by [[Complejo Forestal y Maderero Panguipulli|Complejo Panguipulli]] has contributed to the preservation of the forested landscape around [[Neltume]], a sawmill town in Chile...

 globally, in 1993. SmartWood is accredited to certify forestry operations that meet the FSC's environmental and social standards. Operations that earn certification can use a seal on wood products so consumers know that the wood they are buying comes from forestlands that are managed in a way that conserves biodiversity and ensures the rights of workers and local people. SmartWood has certified more than 108 million acres (43,800,000 hectares)http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/forestry.cfm?id=main of forest worldwide, making it the largest FSC certifier of forestlands in the world. The Rainforest Alliance's SmartWood program was ranked "top of the class" according to "Wood Products Legality Verification Systems: An Assessment," an independent report compiled by Greenpeace
Greenpeace is a non-governmental environmental organization with offices in over forty countries and with an international coordinating body in Amsterdam, The Netherlands...

, a global environmental organization.

The Rainforest Alliance also works to connect certified communities and businesses to buyers of forest products. They work to build sustainable livelihoods by helping certified communities and businesses to market their products effectively and increase technical ability. By promoting green building and helping companies that purchase forest products to incorporate sustainability into their sourcing policies, they are also working to increase the demand for certified products.

The Rainforest Alliance's forestry program also provides training and technical assistance to small forestry operations on how to reach certification and educates consumers and people in the forest products industry about conservation and certification.

Rainforest Alliance Carbon Verification

The Rainforest Alliance verifies carbon offset projects to standards that address greenhouse gas sequestration, biodiversity conservation and sustainable livelihoods http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/certification/carbon.html. The Rainforest Alliance verifies projects to the standards of the Climate, Community & Biodiversity Alliance
Climate, Community & Biodiversity Alliance
The Climate, Community & Biodiversity Alliance is an initiative led by Conservation International, CARE, The Nature Conservancy, Rainforest Alliance, and the Wildlife Conservation Society to promote the development of land management activities that simultaneously deliver significant benefits for...

 http://www.climate-standards.org/, Chicago Climate Exchange
Chicago Climate Exchange
The now defunct Chicago Climate Exchange was North America’s only voluntary, legally binding greenhouse gas reduction and trading system for emission sources and offset projects in North America and Brazil....

 and Plan Vivo http://www.planvivo.org/.

Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Agriculture

The Rainforest Alliance's sustainable agriculture program oversees the certification of farms that produce tropical crops, including coffee
Coffee is a brewed beverage with a dark,init brooo acidic flavor prepared from the roasted seeds of the coffee plant, colloquially called coffee beans. The beans are found in coffee cherries, which grow on trees cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in equatorial Latin America, Southeast Asia,...

, banana
Banana is the common name for herbaceous plants of the genus Musa and for the fruit they produce. Bananas come in a variety of sizes and colors when ripe, including yellow, purple, and red....

s, cocoa, oranges, cut flowers, ferns, and tea
Tea is an aromatic beverage prepared by adding cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant to hot water. The term also refers to the plant itself. After water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world...

. To obtain certification, farms must meet a set of environmental and social standards, including agrochemical reduction, ecosystem
An ecosystem is a biological environment consisting of all the organisms living in a particular area, as well as all the nonliving , physical components of the environment with which the organisms interact, such as air, soil, water and sunlight....

 conservation, and worker health and safety. The Rainforest Alliance first devised its sustainable agriculture standards in 1991 and certified the first banana plantation, owned by Chiquita, in Costa Rica in 1994. By 2000, all Chiquita-owned banana farms in Latin America had earned Rainforest Alliance certification. Daniel Esty, professor of environmental science and policy at Yale University, and Andrew Winston, director of the corporate environmental strategy project at Yale University, report that Chiquita spent $20 million over ten years to bring its farms up to Rainforest Alliance standards. Esty and Winston call the Chiquita - Rainforest Alliance partnership "one of the most strategic and effective in the world." Unilever, the world's largest tea company, plans to have all of its Lipton tea plantations Rainforest Alliance Certified by 2015. The Rainforest Alliance is the secretariat of the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN), a group including conservation organizations in nine countries in Latin America that work together to promote and increase the use of sustainable agricultural practices and manage the certification program. The Rainforest Alliance encourages businesses and consumers to support sustainable agriculture by buying products grown on certified farms. By February 2006, nearly 2,000 square kilometres (nearly 475,000 acres) of land on more than 4,500 farms and cooperatives in 12 countries had obtained Rainforest Alliance certification.

Crop Standards and Criteria

Rainforest Alliance requires that 50% of criteria under a certain principle (group of criteria) be achieved, and 80% overall. Several of these criteria are "critical" and must be complied with for a farm to earn certification. They include an ecosystem conservation program, protection of wild animals and waterways, the prohibition of discrimination in work and hiring practices, the prohibition of contracting children under the age of 15, the use of protective gear for workers, guidelines about agrochemical use and the prohibition of transgenic crops.

Rainforest Alliance Certified Seal

The Rainforest Alliance Certified Seal appears only on products that meet the crop standards and criteria detailed above.
Consumer Reports recently judged the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal on agricultural products to be "highly meaningful." They noted that "The Rainforest Alliance Certified label is clear and meaningful in support of sustainable agriculture, social responsibility and integrated pest management. The label is consistent in meaning among all certified. The label does not consist of farmers and none of the members are certified by the Rainforest Alliance. In this sense, the organizations behind these labels are independent from the products they certify." In February 2008, Ethical Corporation called Rainforest Alliance certification a "rigorous, independently verified scheme."

Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Tourism

The Rainforest Alliance launched a sustainable tourism program in 2000 and provides small- and medium-sized tourism businesses in Latin America with training and tools to minimize their impacts on the environment and local communities. Since there are almost 70 existing sustainable tourism certification initiatives worldwide, the Rainforest Alliance decided that it would be more productive to support local certification programs (rather than creating its own certification body), help increase their international recognition and establish regional networks of certification programs to share resources and information and create standards for certification criteria. They also provide marketing support, training and technical assistance to certified businesses and businesses in the process of becoming certified. In addition, they work internationally to create partnerships with tour operators (hotels,lodges, travel agents, etc...) to green all elements of the tourism supply chain. In March 2008, the Discovery Channel noted that "the Rainforest Alliance has been a leader in developing a sort of meta-analysis of the various programs operating in the Americas - possibly leading to a world-wide standard for what ecotourism ought to achieve."

Sustainable Tourism Certification

The Rainforest Alliance also works to integrate sustainable tourism certification programs in the Americas, through a coalition known as Sustainable Tourism Certification Network of the Americas. The mission of the Network is to promote sustainable tourism in the region through:
strengthening tourism initiatives based on mutual respect and recognition; joint efforts; harmonizing systems; sharing information and experience.

Sustainable Tourism Index

The Rainforest Alliance has developed an index of sustainable tourism destinations. According to the New York Times, "The Eco-Index of Sustainable Tourism is a new Web site developed by the Rainforest Alliance that lists environmentally and socially responsible tourism businesses, including hotels, throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Listings are in English and Spanish. To be included, businesses must be certified by an ecotourism certification program or be recommended by a known conservation organization."

The Rainforest Alliance Education Program

The Rainforest Alliance works to help people of all ages understand the role that every person plays in biodiversity conservation. They do this through their education site—developed in conjunction with education experts—and their Adopt-a-Rainforest program. They also work with several schools around the country, to help teachers implement the lesson plans.

The Learning Site

The Rainforest Alliance developed free, on-line curricula that offers complete lesson plans, stories (in English, Spanish and Portuguese), presentations, posters and articles about societies and flora and fauna in Latin America, plus on-the-ground conservation projects for kindergarten through eighth grade.


Through the Rainforest Alliance's Adopt-A-Rainforest program, individuals and school groups can donate money to support the programs described in the lesson plans. These donations can be made on the Rainforest Alliance website and describe exactly where the money goes and offers fundraising ideas..

The Eco-Index

The Rainforest Alliance developed the Eco-Index Web site, a bilingual (English and Spanish) database of more than 1,250 profiles of conservation projects in North, Central and South America and the Caribbean. The site provides users with information about project summary, objectives, contact information, project budget and funders, accomplishments and goals, lessons learned, and reports and related Web sites. Users can search the Eco-Index by country, category, organization, funder, and/or project name. The site helps to create a cohesive network of conservationists by providing them with a space to share project data and reports, lessons learned, and best practices across language and geographic barriers. All information on the Web site is available in English and Spanish; profiles of conservation projects in Brazil are also available in Portuguese.

A sub-section of the Eco-Index is the Western Hemisphere Migratory Species Initiative Pathway, a bilingual Web site that matches priority migratory species conservation needs with the projects, tools, and resources that are available to address them.

An additional site called the Eco-Index of Sustainable Tourism, launched in January 2006, is a bilingual database of small and medium-sized, sustainable tourism operations in Latin America and the Caribbean. All operations are certified by an independent, third-party sustainable tourism certification program, or recommended by a reputable conservation organization.

Forest Now Declaration

Rainforest Alliance have also endorsed the Forests Now Declaration
Forests Now Declaration
The Forests Now Declaration is a declaration that advocates using carbon credits to protect tropical forests. The Declaration was created by the Global Canopy Programme, and has been signed by over 200 NGOs, business leaders, scientists and conservationists...

, calling for new market based mechanisms to protect tropical forests.


1987- 1988
• Rainforest Alliance is incorporated. First large-scale conference on rainforest destruction is held.

• Rainforest Alliance’s SmartWood program is founded.

• SmartWood certifies its first forest in Indonesia.
• Banana standards are introduced and sustainable agriculture program, initially called ECO-O.K is launched.

• Forests in Honduras, Mexico and Belize are certified.

1992 - 1993
• Adopt-A-Rainforest is launched to channel donations to grassroots conservation projects in Latin America.
• First Rainforest Alliance agriculture certification goes to two banana farms in Costa Rica and Hawaii.
• Forest Stewardship Council, an international sustainable forestry management accreditation body, is established.

• SmartWood expands to temperate and boreal forests in the US and Canada.
• The first two Chiquita-owned banana farms are certified.

• First coffee farms are certified in Guatemala.
• The Rainforest Alliance receives the Peter F. Drucker Award for Non-profit Innovation.

• SmartWood Rediscovered for reuse of old wood is launched.
• SmartWood certifies forestlands owned by indigenous peoples in Mexico and Wisconsin.
• Work with Gibson USA results in the world’s first certified guitars.

• All Chiquita-owned farms in Costa Rica become Rainforest Alliance Certified. Chiquita commits to certifying all its farms throughout Latin America.
• Cocoa program is launched in partnership with Conservación y Desarrollo.
• First Rainforest Alliance certification of citrus groves goes to Del Oro in Northwestern Costa Rica.

• The Conservation Agriculture Network, later renamed the Sustainable Agriculture Network, is formed to develop guidelines for sustainable farming.
• First shade-grown cocoa certification awarded to El Progreso cooperative in Ecuador.

• SmartWood certifies its first non-timber forest products operation.
• The Coffee and Biodiversity Project is launched to address environmental degradation in El Salvador by using shade-grown coffee farms to buffer ecologically sensitive land.
• Rainforest Alliance receives the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) Gold Circle Award for excellence in nonprofit communications.

• Daniel Katz steps down as executive director and becomes board chairman. Tensie Whelan becomes executive director of the organization.
• SmartWood certifies all of New York State’s multiple-use public forestlands. In Guatemala’s Maya Biosphere Reserve, five community forestry operations are certified.
• Fifteen percent of bananas in trade are grown on Rainforest Alliance Certified farms.
• SmartVoyager tourism certification is launched in partnership with Conservación y Desarrollo.
• Eco-Index is launched.

• SmartWood certifications expand to include municipal forests, state parks, maple syrup, pencils and snowboards.
• 100 percent certification of Chiquita's company-owned farms earn certification.
• Fern and flower certification program is launched in Colombia, Ecuador and Costa Rica.
• Training Research Extension Education Systems (TREES) program is established to give small, community and indigenous forestry operations access to certification.

• Twelve hundred companies and cooperatives have adopted Rainforest Alliance sustainable practices.
• SmartWood expands certification to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
• First two banana farms in South-east Asia.
• The first nine fern farms are certified in Costa Rica.

• Total area of certified forestland reaches 25 million acres (100,000 km²).
SmartWood certifies its first US company , the first North America boreal forest, the first certification in Russia and the largest certified forest in Japan.
• Sustainable Tourism Certification Network of the Americas is established to accredit tourism certification programs.
• Rainforest Alliance Learning Site is launched.

• Total area of forests certified reaches 33 million acres (130,000 km²).
• Total combined area of certified coffee farms roughly doubles over 2003 levels—from 46,000 to 93,000 acres (190 to 380 km²).
• Procter & Gamble's introduction of Millstone Rainforest Reserve coffee in the US and Kraft's launch of Kenco Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee in the UK. Gloria Jean's entire line of flavored coffees is certified. Certified coffee becomes available in Belgium, Japan and Canada.
• "Cupping for Quality" is the first formal coffee competition where the emerging field of "certified-sustainable" coffee receives gourmet evaluation by leading coffee experts.
• Certified Sustainable Products Alliance is launched with the aim of bringing to market increased quantities of sustainable bananas, coffee and timber.

• JP Morgan, Citigroup, Johnson & Johnson, McDonald's, Nike, the HSBC Bank and others print their annual and corporate social responsibility reports on certified paper.
• Certified coffee production doubles over 2004 levels.
• Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee wins first place in the World Barista Championship and the second "Cupping for Quality" event.
• Chiquita sells 50 million bananas bearing the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal each week in nine European countries.

• The area of Forest Stewardship Council/Rainforest Alliance Certified forestland reaches 100 million acres (400,000 km²).
• Certified coffee volumes double again for the third year in a row.
• First African coffee farms are certified in Ethiopia.
• Launch of African cocoa program in Côte d'Ivoire.
• Launch of www.eco-indextourism.org, a database of sustainable tourism businesses.
• Launch of Migratory Species Pathway.
• Pineapple certification criteria are established.

• Launch of standards for tea
Tea is an aromatic beverage prepared by adding cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant to hot water. The term also refers to the plant itself. After water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world...

 — Unilever
Unilever is a British-Dutch multinational corporation that owns many of the world's consumer product brands in foods, beverages, cleaning agents and personal care products....

 announces that it is converting all the tea used in its Lipton
Lipton is a brand of tea currently owned by Unilever.-History of Lipton Tea:Lipton was created at the end of the 19th century by a grocer, Sir Thomas Lipton, in Glasgow, Scotland. In 1893, he established the Thomas J. Lipton Co., a tea packing company with its headquarters and factory in Hobo ken,...

 and PG Tips
PG Tips
PG Tips is a brand of tea in the United Kingdom, manufactured by Unilever UK. It is claimed that Britons drink 35 million cups of the tea every day.-Brand name:...

 brands to Rainforest Alliance certified sources. Certification will start in Kenya.

McDonald's Corporation is the world's largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants, serving around 64 million customers daily in 119 countries. Headquartered in the United States, the company began in 1940 as a barbecue restaurant operated by the eponymous Richard and Maurice McDonald; in 1948...

 New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 and Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 switches all McCafe restaurants to Rainforest Alliance certified coffee beans


Rainforest Alliance agricultural certification has been criticized by a range of academics and media sources. The Manchester Evening News notes that critics have dubbed the Rainforest Alliance "Fairtrade lite" therefore offering companies such as Chiquita
Chiquita Brands International
Chiquita Brands International Inc. is an American producer and distributor of bananas and other produce, under a variety of subsidiary brand names, collectively known as Chiquita. Other brands include Fresh Express salads, which it purchased from Performance Food Group in 2005...

 and Kraft
Kraft Foods
Kraft Foods Inc. is an American confectionery, food and beverage conglomerate. It markets many brands in more than 170 countries. 12 of its brands annually earn more than $1 billion worldwide: Cadbury, Jacobs, Kraft, LU, Maxwell House, Milka, Nabisco, Oscar Mayer, Philadelphia, Trident, Tang...

 a cheap way to tap into the ethical consumer market
Ethical consumerism
Ethical consumerism is the intentional purchase of products and services that the customer considers to be made ethically. This may mean with minimal harm to or exploitation of humans, animals and/or the natural environment...

. This is known as greenwashing, as it allows companies and products to appear more ethical and environmentally friendly without actually being either. Alex Nicholls
Alex Nicholls (academic)
Dr Alex Nicholls MBA is the first lecturer in social entrepreneurship appointed at the University of Oxford and was the first staff member of the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship....

, professor of social entrepreneurship
Social entrepreneurship
Social entrepreneurship is the work of social entrepreneurs. A social entrepreneur recognizes a social problem and uses entrepreneurial principles to organize, create and manage a venture to achieve social change . While a business entrepreneur typically measures performance in profit and return, a...

 at Oxford University, called Rainforest Alliance certification "an easy option for companies looking for a "flash in the pan at a cheap price". Beyond the price issue, Michael Conroy, an independent consultant on certification for sustainable development and chairman of the board of Transfair USA http://transfairusa.org/content/about/board.php, criticized Rainforest Alliance in his 2007 book Branded! for having "little tangible impact on the actual conditions under which work is done and workers are paid".

Minimum price issues

Rainforest Alliance sustainable agriculture certification, like the certification scheme UTZ Certified
UTZ Certified
UTZ CERTIFIED is a certification program for agricultural products launched in 2002 which claims to be the largest coffee certifier in the world. It was formerly known as Utz Kapeh. On the 7th of March, 2007, the Utz Kapeh Foundation officially changed its name and logo to UTZ CERTIFIED 'Good Inside'...

 and organic
Organic certification
Organic certification is a certification process for producers of organic food and other organic agricultural products. In general, any business directly involved in food production can be certified, including seed suppliers, farmers, [food] processors, retailers and restaurants.Requirements vary...

 http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/!ut/p/_s.7_0_A/7_0_1OB?navid=ORGANIC_CERTIFICATIO&navtype=RT&parentnav=AGRICULTURE, does not offer producers minimum or guaranteed price, therefore leaving them vulnerable to market price variations: as an example, in the 1980s, a pound of standard-grade coffee sold for around US $1.20. In 2003, a pound sold for about $0.50, which was not enough to cover the costs of production in much of the world. The price of coffee has since rebounded somewhat, with prices for arabica
Coffea arabica
Coffea arabica is a species of Coffea originally indigenous to the mountains of Yemen in the Arabian Peninsula, hence its name, and also from the southwestern highlands of Ethiopia and southeastern Sudan. It is also known as the "coffee shrub of Arabia", "mountain coffee" or "arabica coffee"...

 reaching $1.18/pound by the end of 2007 http://www.beveragedaily.com/news/ng.asp?id=82588.

In March 2007, Ethical Corporation reported that due to higher coffee market prices, Rainforest Alliance Certified farmers on average receive $1.20 per pound, or 9% less than the Fairtrade minimum price and premium and 20% less than the average price paid to Fairtrade certified producers. The same article, however, notes: "And Fairtrade's premiums are not what they were. As commodity prices rise, premiums farmers receive for sustainable coffee diminish in value" and quotes Chris Wille, chief of sustainable agriculture at the Rainforest Alliance: "'It's more than about price … it's about margins.'" In 2008, the publication named Wille one of 10 "ethical leaders."

Michigan State University
Michigan State University
Michigan State University is a public research university in East Lansing, Michigan, USA. Founded in 1855, it was the pioneer land-grant institution and served as a model for future land-grant colleges in the United States under the 1862 Morrill Act.MSU pioneered the studies of packaging,...

 professor of sociology Daniel Jaffee has criticized Rainforest Alliance certification, claiming that its standards are "arguably far lower than fair trade's" and saying "they establish minimum housing and sanitary conditions but do not stipulate a minimum price for coffee. Critically, they require plantation owners only to pay laborers the national minimum wage, a notoriously inadequate standard."

The Economist
The Economist
The Economist is an English-language weekly news and international affairs publication owned by The Economist Newspaper Ltd. and edited in offices in the City of Westminster, London, England. Continuous publication began under founder James Wilson in September 1843...

, however, seems to favor the Rainforest Alliance's method and notes that "guaranteeing a minimum price [as Fairtrade does] means there is no incentive to improve quality." They also note that coffee drinkers say "the quality of Fairtrade brews varies widely. The Rainforest Alliance does things differently. It does not guarantee a minimum price or offer a premium but provides training advice. That consumers are often willing to pay more for a product with the [Rainforest Alliance] logo on it is an added bonus, not the result of a formal subsidy scheme; such products must still fend for themselves in the marketplace."

Minimum price programs, which ensure that farmers receive no less than a given, predetermined amount, regardless of the commodity price, have been criticized by some economists as artificially manipulating markets and counter-intuitively limiting the impact of minimum price goods, by making them too expensive for some consumers to afford.

Crop prefinancing issue

The lack of crop prefinancing has been another point of contention regarding Rainforest Alliance standards in the past years: Rainforest Alliance standards do not require importers to offer crop pre-financing, a key condition described by Whitni Thomas, head of the Access to Finance Initiative at NEF (New Economics Foundation
New Economics Foundation
The New Economics Foundation is a British think-tank.NEF was founded in 1986 by the leaders of The Other Economic Summit with the aim of working for a "new model of wealth creation, based on equality, diversity and economic stability"....

), as a "cornerstone of the Fair Trade
Fair trade
Fair trade is an organized social movement and market-based approach that aims to help producers in developing countries make better trading conditions and promote sustainability. The movement advocates the payment of a higher price to producers as well as higher social and environmental standards...

 philosophy". Thomas further describes crop pre-financing in "Financing Fair Trade" as particularly critical for commodity producers, especially in the context of the recent collapse of formal lending programs in many developing countries.

Use of seal

Rainforest Alliance certification has been criticized for allowing the use of the seal on coffee containing a minimum of 30% of certified coffee beans According to Michael Conroy, chairman of the board for TransFair USA http://transfairusa.org/content/about/board.php, this use of the seal is the "most damaging dimension" of [Rainforest Alliance's] agricultural certification program and "a serious blow to the integrity of certification": "Yuban coffee, a very popular lower-grade canned coffee available nationwide in the US, proudly advertises on the front of its cans that 30% of the contents are Rainforest Alliance Certified. What are consumers to believe about the other 70% of that coffee? That it is pesticide-laced and irresponsible in its water use? In neither of the other certification systems with which [Rainforest Alliance] is associated, FSC forest certification and the Sustainable Tourism certification, would it allow the use of its logo with such a low bar."
The organization counters that this approach encourages larger purchases of beans from certified farms, having a greater global impact on the environment and livelihoods of farm communities as large roasters blend the beans into mainstream brands. Consumer Reports counters Conroy's implication that the label is misleading, judging it to be "clear and meaningful," and calling the Rainforest Alliance Certified label on agricultural products "highly meaningful." On an episode of Britains Really Disgusting Food presented by Alex Riley
Alex Riley
Alex Riley is a TV and radio presenter.Born and brought up in Sheffield, Riley started performing with the city's Crucible Youth Theatre during which time he originated, and appeared in, dozens of sketches and devised pieces, as well as appearing in a number of plays and farces at the Library...

, the comedian questioned the Alliance about its seal of approval for Galaxy chocolate, from 2010, since the product uses palm oil
Palm oil
Palm oil, coconut oil and palm kernel oil are edible plant oils derived from the fruits of palm trees. Palm oil is extracted from the pulp of the fruit of the oil palm Elaeis guineensis; palm kernel oil is derived from the kernel of the oil palm and coconut oil is derived from the kernel of the...

 that is sourced through methods destructive of rainforests. The spokesperson replied that the seal of approval was for the cacao used in the product. Critics maintain that the seal will look to consumers like an endorsement of the bar, and not solely the cacao used in its production.

Focus on plantations

Michigan State University
Michigan State University
Michigan State University is a public research university in East Lansing, Michigan, USA. Founded in 1855, it was the pioneer land-grant institution and served as a model for future land-grant colleges in the United States under the 1862 Morrill Act.MSU pioneered the studies of packaging,...

 professor Daniel Jaffee has criticized Rainforest Alliance certification for targeting large and medium coffee plantations, unlike Fairtrade's focus on small peasant coffee farmer cooperatives.

See also

  • Alan Wilzig
    Alan Wilzig
    Alan Wilzig is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, championship-winning race car driver, and restaurateur. He is also son of the late Siggi Wilzig, a German Holocaust survivor. Alan's father rose to fame after coming to America with nothing and eventually earned his fortune in finance...

     (board member)
  • Conservation ethic
    Conservation ethic
    Conservation is an ethic of resource use, allocation, and protection. Its primary focus is upon maintaining the health of the natural world: its, fisheries, habitats, and biological diversity. Secondary focus is on materials conservation and energy conservation, which are seen as important to...

  • Conservation movement
    Conservation movement
    The conservation movement, also known as nature conservation, is a political, environmental and a social movement that seeks to protect natural resources including animal, fungus and plant species as well as their habitat for the future....

  • Natural landscape
    Natural landscape
    A natural landscape is a landscape that is unaffected by human activity. A natural landscape is intact when all living and nonliving elements are free to move and change. The nonliving elements distinguish a natural landscape from a wilderness. A wilderness includes areas within which natural...

  • Sustainable development
    Sustainable development
    Sustainable development is a pattern of resource use, that aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but also for generations to come...

  • Climate, Community & Biodiversity Alliance
    Climate, Community & Biodiversity Alliance
    The Climate, Community & Biodiversity Alliance is an initiative led by Conservation International, CARE, The Nature Conservancy, Rainforest Alliance, and the Wildlife Conservation Society to promote the development of land management activities that simultaneously deliver significant benefits for...

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.