Chris Wille

Chief of Agriculture, Sustainable Agriculture Network

Chris Wille

Wille, now based Portland, Oregon, worked for 20 years from the Rainforest Alliance office in Costa Rica.  He led the development of the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN), a coalition of leading Latin American conservation groups that developed the first and most comprehensive standards for eco-friendly, shade-grown coffee and measures to benefit workers and wildlife on farms producing bananas, coffee, tea, cocoa, sugar cane, citrus, cut flowers and other important export crops. SAN groups are in Latin America, India and Italy; many African and Asian NGOs also contribute to the sustainable agriculture standard, and several are preparing to become official SAN members. As of 2012, thousands of farms with a combined total area of more than a million hectares had achieved Rainforest Alliance certification. Coffee, chocolate, tea, fruits and many other products with the Rainforest Alliance Certified™ seal are widely available in consumer markets around the world, and the green frog is one of the best known trustmarks for sustainability.

Wille, a wildlife biologist and journalist, previously worked in the Rainforest Alliance’s Neotropics Communications program, headquartered in Costa Rica. Prior to moving to Costa Rica in 1990, Wille was a vice president at the National Audubon Society in New York and an editor with the National Wildlife Federation in Washington, DC.  For the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Guam Department of Wildlife Conservation, he developed environmental education and public outreach programs and participated in marine and ornithological research projects. He also developed, hosted and produced an award-winning television program on the outdoors for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.