Rainforest Alliance Lauded for Meeting the Highest Standards for Ethical Trade

July 18, 2007

The Rainforest Alliance is proud to announce that it is one of seven pioneer organizations to achieve the highest standards for credible behavior in ethical trade by complying with the International Social and Environmental Accreditation and Labelling (ISEAL) Code of Good Practice for Setting Social and Environmental Standards.

ISEAL organizations are champions of ethical trade and are recognized as the leading consumer and industry standards across sectors including agriculture, fisheries and manufacturing. Collectively, ISEAL Alliance members represent over $53 billion of retail value in certified products. These products deliver social and environmental benefits to over 288 million acres (117 million hectares) of agricultural land globally and the workers of over 15,000 factories, fisheries and farms worldwide.

ISEAL members are the first organizations to be fully compliant with this Code of Good Practice. They were commended last month for their commitment to best practice in each of their sectors by Richard Howitt, a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) at a private event at Chatham House in London, UK.

Howitt enthused,"The ISEAL Alliance is a leading example of collaboration between labeling initiatives. Its members' compliance with the ISEAL Code of Good Practice gives a clear sign to both governments and industry that these initiatives are the leaders in the field, backed by credible standards and capable of delivering genuine social and environmental change."

School Children

The Rainforest Alliance became compliant with the ISEAL Code of Good Practice to strengthen its own social and environmental initiatives, and to encourage other standard-setters to commit to industry best practice for setting social and environmental standards.

Karin Kreider, director of sustainable agriculture at the Rainforest Alliance said, "The Rainforest Alliance and our partners in the Sustainable Agriculture Network really enjoyed the collaborative learning process that we had in developing the Code of Good Practice with ISEAL. One of the things we have expanded as a result of the process is our work on local indicator development, using a multi-stakeholder process in the countries in Africa and Asia, where we are now expanding our efforts. That has added a new dimension to our work that has deepened our understanding of the local circumstances."

Established in 1987, the Rainforest Alliance is an international, not-for-profit conservation organization that works to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices and consumer behavior. They are a leader in the sustainable certification of agriculture, forestry and tourism operations worldwide. The Rainforest Alliance works with thousands of producers, from small cooperatives to Fortune 500 companies including Kraft (coffee), Chiquita (bananas), Expedia (sustainable tourism), Goldman Sachs (green building and sourcing) and many other household names. It creates billion-dollar impacts on global markets, moving them toward sustainable practices. The Rainforest Alliance has currently certified some 10,000 farms in 14 countries on 600,000 acres (241,000 hectares) of land, benefiting more than a million farm workers and their families, as well as certifying more than 110 million acres (45 million hectares) of forestland.

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The ISEAL Code of Good Practice is the international reference for setting credible voluntary social and environmental standards. It is referenced by a range of governmental and inter-governmental guidelines as the measure of credibility for voluntary social and environmental standards.

Members of the ISEAL Alliance have made changes to their practices in order to comply with the ISEAL Code of Good Practice and ensure they create standards that are developed in transparent, multi-stakeholder processes, certification schemes that consumers can trust, and relevant, high level performance criteria that create genuine social and environmental change.

The ISEAL Code of Good Practice requires that standards be set in open, transparent, participatory processes. It demands there must be a demonstrable need for the standard and includes measures to ensure that even the most marginalized stakeholders have a say in the standard's development.