Curbing Climate Change

We are already seeing the dramatic effects of climate change, including rising sea levels, extreme weather shifts and severe flooding. If we don’t act now, conditions are likely to get worse. While some climate change is the result of natural processes, the most significant shifts in the Earth’s temperature are caused by human activities -- specifically, the excessive release of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions into the atmosphere. These emissions are byproducts of deforestation, agricultural conversion and unsustainable tourism.

What We’re Doing

Through training, certification and verification, the Rainforest Alliance and its partners are helping communities and businesses to keep forests standing, plant new trees, earn sustainable livelihoods and adapt to changing climatic conditions. We provide forest managers, farmers and tourism-business owners with the tools to conserve their resources and ensure that they are complying with rigorous environmental, social and economic standards.

On Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms, farmers are prohibited from deforesting their land. They must also maintain healthy soils, protect native ecosystems and decrease their use of energy, water and agrochemicals, thereby reducing GHG emissions and increasing the levels of carbon stored in vegetation on their farms. Together with our partners in the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) and others, we developed the SAN Climate Module: Criteria for the Mitigation of and Adaptation to Climate Change. The module’s criteria reinforce the practices that are already required of Rainforest Alliance Certified farms, highlighting those activities that have demonstrated the greatest impact in mitigating and adapting to climate change.

In the forestry field, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification criteria lead to decreased greenhouse gas emissions through reduced impact logging techniques, fire prevention and other practices. Forest conservation area increases while harvest levels are generally lower on FSC/Rainforest Alliance Certified land. In addition, forests that have been converted to plantations after 1994 are not eligible for certification.

We also work with forest communities to establish sustainable tourism enterprises, which can provide an economic incentive to avoid deforestation. And, through management training, we help existing businesses reduce their carbon footprints and reforest their lands, and we independently audit and verify reforestation projects to ensure that they meet accepted standards for carbon sequestration.

Evaluating Our Impact

To make sure that we are as effective as possible, we routinely conduct and evaluate impact studies on our work and continually adjust our approach. Read more about how we are helping to curb climate change.

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