These talking points are designed to help you speak about the Rainforest Alliance and our programs. Please feel free to use this information to describe the need for -- and scope of -- our work.
- An international, nonprofit organization committed to conservation and sustainable development
- We were founded in 1987, are at work in more than 70 countries, and maintain offices in ten countries on four continents
- We are conserving biodiversity and ensuring sustainable livelihoods by transforming land use practices, business practices and consumer behavior
- Give communities the incentive to protect biodiversity by offering people who live and work in threatened ecosystems around the world viable alternatives to illegal logging and other destructive practices.
- Ensure that workers, their families and communities are well-treated by making social responsibility one of the three pillars of sustainability and a prerequisite for certification and verification.
- Provide farmers, foresters and hoteliers with the tools and techniques to manage their lands sustainably by teaching them to reduce and recycle waste, improve growing and harvesting method, adopt safe working conditions and increase efficiencies.
- Develop and promote standards for sustainability. Farms are audited against the Sustainable Agriculture Network's standards and forest operations are audited against the Forest Stewardship Council's standards, and if they meet the criteria for responsible management they are awarded the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal of approval.
- Link companies of all sizes to producers of sustainable goods and services.
- Enable all of us to make informed choices about the goods and services we buy. The Rainforest Alliance Certified seal assures consumers that goods were grown and harvested responsibly and the Rainforest Alliance Verified mark shows that businesses have made a verifiable commitment to services or sourcing that are better for people and the planet.
- The global environment is in crisis.
- To date, nearly half of the world's forests have been cleared.
- 32 million acres (13 million hectares) of forests are lost every year.
- Between 150 and 200 species of plant, insect, bird and mammal become extinct every 24 hours.
- Approximately 15 percent of mammal species and 11 percent of bird species are classified as threatened with extinction.
- 70 percent of deforestation is due to agricultural conversion.
- According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, deforestation causes 12 to 15 percent of carbon dioxide emissions globally.
- Unsustainable agriculture threatens more than half of the world's protected areas and 90 percent of the world's forests lie outside of these government protected areas.
- More than 900 million people travel each year -- often to fragile ecosystems. Practiced irresponsibly, tourism can lead to unchecked development, cultural exploitation, habitat destruction, waste and pollution.
- The Sustainable Agriculture Network is a coalition of leading conservation groups that establishes the standards and criteria for farms to achieve the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal of approval.
- The Forest Stewardship Council is an independent, non-governmental, nonprofit organization that offers the world’s most credible forest management certification system.
- Numerous nonprofits and government organizations help us to further our efforts on the ground. They include the United States Agency for International Development, Inter-American Development Bank, World Heritage Alliance, United Nations Environment Program, Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria, United Nations Development Program, and many more.
- More than 3,000 forward-thinking companies engage with the Rainforest Alliance including Kraft, Unilever, Newman's Own Organics, Mars, Inc., Holiday Inn, Staples, Gloria Jean's Coffees, Tetley Tea, Ikea, McDonald's, Costco, Whole Foods, Tesco, Tchibo, Lavazza and Goldman Sachs.
- More than 70 countries worldwide and continually expanding.
The total area of certified farms equals 7,941,570 acres or 3,213,841 hectares and amounts to:
- 5.2 percent of the world's coffee
- 20 percent of the world’s exported bananas
- 14 percent of the world’s tea
- 14.5 percent of the world's cocoa
- The total area of FSC/Rainforest Alliance Certified™ forests is approximately 158,933,203 million acres or 64,317,986 million hectares.
- Rainforest Alliance Certified forests and farms are protecting threatened and endangered species, conserving critical habitat and providing vital ecosystem services.
- Our programs currently benefit more than 4.7 million people in more than 70 countries.
- Workers employed by certified farms and forestry businesses drink clean water, live in decent housing and have access to health clinics, and their children attend school.
- More than 1.1 million farms are Rainforest Alliance Certified.
- The global retail value of Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee, cocoa and bananas exceeds $1 billion.
- More than 3,300 forest operations or forest product companies have been certified by the Rainforest Alliance according to the standards of the FSC.
- Global retail value of FSC/Rainforest Alliance Certified forest products exceeds $10 billion.
- Five percent of all Fortune 500 companies purchase Rainforest Alliance Certified products.
- We helped to launch the Sustainable Tourism Certification Network of the Americas, the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria and train the staff of more than 7,000 tourism operations in eight countries in sustainable management.
- We’ve been instrumental in demonstrating the credibility of forest carbon projects in the market and through policy work.
The Rainforest Alliance receives its funding from a variety of sources. In 2010...
- 31.5 percent of our funding came from certification fees
- 24.2 percent of our funding came from government
- 14.6 percent of our funding came from foundations
- 12.7 percent of our funding came from contributions and memberships
- 3.1 percent of our funding came from special events
- 2.1 percent came from other sources