2013 Sustainability & Certification Innovation Workshop -- Post-Workshop Resources


May 15, 2013


New York, New York

Agenda and Tensie Whelan's Introductory Presentation

Panelists and Presenters


Event Summary: Innovations in Sustainability and Certification

Report: Innovations by the Rainforest Alliance and Partners

Follow the Frog

President Tensie Whelan gave an update on the Rainforest Alliance's progress and impacts over the past 26 years. Today, Rainforest Alliance Certified farms produce 4.6 percent of the world’s coffee, 10.2 percent of cocoa, 11.2 percent of tea, and 15 percent of bananas. Forest Stewardship Council Certified forests cover an area about the size of Chile. The Rainforest Alliance is expanding sustainability certification into new markets; recent milestones include the first certified cattle ranches and the first FSC Certified TV set. The Rainforest Alliance is developing a Sustainable Finance Initiative, with support from Citi, to scale up sustainable finance in supply chains. As part of this effort, we are designing indicators to better assess the impact of our work. This past year, COSA (Committee on Sustainability Assessment) conducted an in-depth study of certified and noncertified farms in Cote d’Ivoire. The study showed a 70% increase in productivity and a 74% increase in net income on certified farms.

Panel: Innovations in Forestry, in the field and in the supply chain

Sonila Cook, Partner and Global Head of Energy and Environment, Dalberg Global Development Advisors, led a discussion on how climate change is affecting forestry supply chains and leading to innovations in production and manufacturing. The Rainforest Alliance has pioneered market-driven forestry certification since 1989, when it launched SmartWood, the first global sustainable forestry certification program; in 1993 the Rainforest Alliance helped establish the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), now considered the global standard-setter for responsible forestry.

One of the innovations shared by Chris Coates, Director of Sales at IndoTeak Design, was IndoTeak’s redesign of its teak wood panels for more efficient packing into shipping container. This process alone has reduced transportation costs by 40%. Ian Cheshire, Group Chief Executive, Kingfisher plc, discussed Net Positive, Kingfisher’s new approach to doing business: To succeed, business must do more than minimize its negative impact -- it must be designed to have a positive impact. By 2050, Kingfisher aims to restore more forestland than they use and to have every store and customer home be zero carbon. As Cheshire explained, sustainable business initiatives create long-term opportunity. In conclusion, Cook noted the importance of working with companies of all sizes (Kingfisher employees more than 80,000 people while IndoTeak employs around 8,000) to affect change at every scale.

Panel: Innovations in Agriculture, Engaging Farmers and Consumers

Measuring Changes in Water Quality and Quantity

Roger Deromedi, Non-Executive Chairman, Pinnacle Foods, led panelists in a lively discussion about three priorities for innovation in agriculture: sustainable productivity, climate-friendly crops, and biodiversity conservation. As Deromedi shared, agricultural expansion is responsible for 70 percent of global deforestation and is the single greatest threat to tropical forests. Stopping this destruction is at the heart of the Rainforest Alliance’s mission, as it works to change the way farmers grow crops, the way businesses work with the environment, and the way that consumers shop.

Daudi Lelijveld, VP of Sustainability of Barry Callebaut AG, discussed the company’s cocoa and biodiversity conservation project in Tai National Park, Cote d’Ivoire. Lelijveld observed that most cocoa farmers in this area are living below the poverty line. The project therefore aims to increase crop yield and farmer income, preventing the need to expand cropland into the surrounding national forest. Román Irurre Wolfisberg, Creating Shared Value Manager of NESCAFÉ, discussed the Nescafé plan, which includes: a commitment to purchasing 90,000 tons of Rainforest Alliance certified coffee by 2020; new microfinance schemes for coffee farmers; more community projects focused on education, public health and water supply; and the distribution of 220 million high-yield, disease-resistant coffee plants to farmers through partnerships with public and private institutions in Mexico, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines. Gerard A. Manley, Managing Director of Cocoa Business of Olam International Ltd, highlighted its collaboration with the Rainforest Alliance uses an integral “landscape” approach to mitigating climate change and supply chain risks. Olam and the Rainforest Alliance are providing training to cocoa farmers in Ghana who are working to meet climate-friendly farming standards and qualify for REDD (reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) financing. Katy Tubb, Director of Tea Buying and Blending at Tata Global Beverages, discussed Tata’s approach to working collaboratively with competitors to tackle global sustainability challenges. According to Tubb, the company’s most important relationship is with producers.

Panel: Innovations in Travel: Reaching New Markets

Annemieke Wijn, a member of the Rainforest Alliance Board of Directors, led panelists in a discussion about the growing trend towards “experiential tourism.” Today, tourism is one of the world’s largest industries, generating more than 9 percent of the global GDP and employing more than 230 million people worldwide. AMresorts has 13,000 rooms throughout Mexico with 18,000 employees, according to Gonzalo Del Peon, President of AMResorts. As part of its sustainability initiatives, the company has developed a guest education program, resources for staff members who want to start small community businesses and biodegradable laundry products; all new AMresorts hotels are LEED certified. Andrés Ordóñez, the General Manager of ecotourism pioneer Kapawi Lodge in the Ecuadorian Amazon, talked about how remote, small-scale, community-oriented businesses can make a difference in conserving nature and improving peoples´ lives. The company is owned by the local community, which means, Ordóñez quipped, that he has 7,000 bosses.

Panel: Sustainable Finance, Buyers of Sustainable Products

Courtney Lowrance, Director, Environmental and Social Risk Management for Citi Institutional Clients Group, led panelists in a discussion about novel ways to increase farmer access to longer term investment capital, and how supply chain players can provide financing to increase the supply of sustainable products.

Alejandro Escobar, Senior Investment and Operations Officer at IDB, discussed the need for education among local banks throughout Latin America; many of these banks do not understand certification, and are therefore reluctant to lend to farmers. Jorge Cuevas, Director of Trade Operations at Sustainable Harvest, talked about incorporating sustainability into smallholder finance by promoting healthy premiums for producers. Premiums must be embedded in the finance model, Cuevas said, in order to ensure that a portion of the financial benefits reach the farmer. Saurin Nanvati, Director of Financial Advisory Services at Root Capitol, explained improved record-keeping required by many sustainability initiatives helps reduces risk to cooperatives. Better documentation helps prepare a cooperative to apply for loans, track and trace the product for buyers and deliver financial impacts to farmers -- and eventually consumers.

Presentation: Nespresso, Measuring Real Impacts of an Innovative Approach to Sustainability

The session examined the results and methodologies used to quantify the improvements in social, environmental and economic conditions driven by an innovative approach to sustainable coffee sourcing: the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program, which was developed in cooperation with the Rainforest Alliance.

The session was lead by Jean Marc Duvoisin, Chief Executive Officer, Nestlé Nespresso S.A., Guillaume Cunff, International Marketing, Strategy & Sustainability Director, Nestlé Nespresso SA, and Carlos Ariel García Romero, Researcher at Centre for Regional Entrepreneurial and Coffee Studies (CRECE).

Thank you!

The Rainforest Alliance sincerely thanks all participants for their engagement, commitment, passion and creativity. It is through your efforts to certify and promote sustainable management that we are able to achieve our mission to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods.

We would like to give special thanks to Citi Bank for sponsoring the workshop.

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