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SmartSource Activities and Requirements

Short-Term Steps

When you become a SmartSource client, here are some of the first steps that will take place:

  • A review of your company's current purchasing policies
  • A preliminary sourcing review of your company's current supply chains for one to three specific products or product lines
  • A corporate workshop on responsible sourcing, supply chain management and communications
  • Development of a responsible purchasing policy
  • Development of an action plan that identifies the gaps between your existing supply of forest products and a set of measurable goals.

Long-Term Action Plan


In addition to the activities described above, the Rainforest Alliance can support your sustainable sourcing efforts through a one- to five-year action plan. Specifically, a SmartSource Action Plan will address key areas of improvement in your supply chain, outreach to suppliers and communications and marketing support. An action plan is unique to a company's needs and determined as a result of the short-term activities outlined above, but here are some of the general issues that are typically addressed:

Working with Existing Suppliers

In order to reach your sustainability goals, you will need to communicate your forest-product purchasing policy to all suppliers. We can help your purchasing staff educate existing suppliers on responsible sourcing and on your company's new policy.

To increase your sourcing of certified products within your existing supply chain, we can also provide a host of certification and verification services to your suppliers, including Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Forest Management, Chain of Custody and Controlled Wood certification and verification through our SmartWood program, and SmartStep.

Identifying Alternative Suppliers and Products


If the results of our preliminary sourcing review demonstrate a need for alternative suppliers and products, we can help you identify options and link you with these businesses. Through SmartWood, we can link you to a wide range of FSC-certified companies, while our TREES program can connect you directly to community enterprises that offer a wide variety of alternative certified products.

Training and Education

Training is essential to ensuring that your headquarters and remote staff alike can apply and communicate responsible purchasing policies consistently. Through the design and delivery of a comprehensive training and awareness program for your team (including executive, procurement, sales and marketing staff) and suppliers, we can help them understand and more effectively manage the transition to responsibly sourcing, achieve the maximum benefits of your company's new policy and minimize any anxiety that might accompany these changes. A messaging program can be also developed to help educate your customers.

As part of this process, we can assist you in the development of custom-tailored training materials to achieve specific goals, including hard-copy guides and handouts, live presentation materials and interactive media e-learning tools.

Communications and Marketing Support

Once you have committed to specific annual targets set forth in a SmartSource Action Plan and your progress toward reaching these targets has been verified, the Rainforest Alliance can help promote your efforts -- even before you reach your ultimate goals. Communications and marketing support, however, depends on realistic procurement policies and practices and the verification of these activities.

As clear progress is made towards your sustainability objectives (as defined in the purchasing policy and SmartSource Action Plan), we can support your company in the following ways:


  • Media outreach to promote your achievements, as appropriate
  • Articles in Rainforest Alliance publications and on our Web site
  • The possibility of recognition at our annual gala
  • Written profiles of forests and communities that provide your company with sustainable forest products -- including photos, quotes and statistics that demonstrate how your sourcing of these items has made a difference
  • Rapid review and approval of the use of the Rainforest Alliance logo or seal on promotional material, as appropriate
  • Rapid review of your company publications that feature the Rainforest Alliance
  • Assistance with public information campaigns
  • Outreach to stakeholders at trade shows and events to help you disseminate the message of your company's commitment to sustainability
  • Use of the Rainforest Alliance logo on materials designed for education campaigns aimed at distributors or customers.

Corporate Environmental Messaging

In consultation with your company's senior management, the Rainforest Alliance can assist in the development of a corporate environmental position statement. This position statement will be based on your new responsible sourcing policy and progress achieved toward implementation of the SmartSource Action Plan.

Program Requirements

SmartSource is not a membership-based program; instead we insist that our clients show verifiable progress with their supply chain before any joint communication activities occur. This requirement helps ensure that any claims made by the Rainforest Alliance and your company are credible and transparent.

To demonstrate progress, your company must:

  • Designate a liaison to the Rainforest Alliance
  • Inform relevant staff and contractors of the process and ensure that they are available and willing to cooperate
  • Commit to specific annual targets (established in collaboration with us) and verify movement towards these targets
  • Gather and provide as much supply chain information as possible (though we will provide tools to help facilitate this process, if necessary)
  • Submit all relevant documents and materials that will enable us to better understand your company's objectives and public image (e.g., promotional materials featuring forest products, public statements regarding corporate responsibility, current purchasing policies, off-product claims or labels currently in use, etc.)
  • Obtain company-wide support for a program to train those staff members who will be implementing procurement policies, managing supply chains and handling marketing and communications.

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