An Immersive Introduction to Sustainability

At the Rainforest Alliance, we believe that confining sustainability education to the classroom is no longer enough; students need to see the benefits of a sustainable economy firsthand to truly understand and embrace it. The experience of meeting with a farmer who has benefited economically, environmentally and socially from improvements in sustainable production will stay in the mind of a student far longer than case studies in a textbook.

That is why we are working with academic institutions to provide students with an immersive study of our sustainability work across agricultural, forestry and tourism supply chains. In doing so, we are helping to ensure that the leaders of tomorrow are socially responsible, globally aware and actively engaged in some of the most pressing challenges of our time.

We developed our first immersive field study in 2012, in partnership with the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management -- a program from which leading businesses including Walmart, Target and Cargill recruit heavily. The Rainforest Alliance curriculum included a trip to Costa Rica, where students spent two weeks visiting Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms supplying Caribou Coffee and Chiquita. Students also stayed in Rainforest Alliance Verified™ hotels.

In many cases, the course gave students their first glimpse of the realities of commodity production and conditions in the field -- allowing them to better understand value chains by starting at the source. The field visits were complemented with intensive coursework, including analysis of production case studies, reviews of corporate social responsibility, and engagement with companies sourcing from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms.

Interested in introducing your students to the on-the-ground impacts of sustainability? Contact Meriwether Hardie for more information.

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