Ensuring our Integrity -- Training and Technical Assistance
The Rainforest Alliance both certifies and trains with the goal of fulfilling our mission to ensure sustainable land-use and business practices. Our outreach and technical assistance activities in particular help community-based, indigenous and small landowners gain access to the benefits of sustainability certification, but as a matter of policy are kept separate from our certification of farms and forestlands.
TREES Stands Apart
In forestry, our training program, called TREES, is separate from our forestry certification program. In addition to its own staff, TREES has separate budgeting and funding. TREES staff members are not involved in any certification assessments, audits or certification decision-making.
The TREES program provides training in a wide array of sustainable forestry issues. To avoid conflicts of interest, these services are offered on an open invitation basis through group training workshops. One-on-one technical assistance to Rainforest Alliance -- and other FSC-certified companies is provided only in connection with technical areas not covered by FSC principles and criteria or other certification standards. Examples include new product development, assistance with processing efficiencies and business skill development. None of our programs give advice or provide consultancy services to applicants for Rainforest Alliance certification as to methods of dealing with barriers to certification.
Our outreach and technical assistance activities do not affect the confidentiality, objectivity or impartiality of our certifications and do not supply or design timber and non-timber forest products of the type we certify or provide any other products or services that compromise the confidentiality, objectivity or impartiality of our certification process and decisions.
Farmer Training and Tools
Our Sustainable Agriculture staff, along with members of the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN), work with farmers who want to make their businesses more sustainable. Once these entrepreneurs understand what environmental, social and economic changes they need to make to have strong footing on the path toward sustainability, they may seek certification from the Rainforest Alliance or another program. If they choose to proceed with Rainforest Alliance certification, auditors visit the farms and do an in-depth audit, based on 10 principles of sustainability.
Training in Tourism Best Management Practices
Training and technical assistance are principal activities of our Sustainable Tourism program. The Rainforest Alliance does not have a tourism certification program but rather we offer businesses training in best management practices and encourage business owners who have completed the training to voluntarily seek certification with one of the many existing and effective programs.