2012 Highlights of the Rainforest Alliance’s Global Sustainability Efforts

July 30, 2013

During 2012, the Rainforest Alliance once again demonstrated the transformative power of market-based solutions like sustainable certification, with growth rates soaring across its global efforts in sustainable agriculture, forestry, tourism and climate change. This upswing reflects increasing recognition of the Rainforest Alliance Certified™ green frog seal among consumers, companies and producers worldwide.

2012 Sustainable Agriculture Highlights

  • During 2012, the number of farmers who achieved Rainforest Alliance certification surged by 204 percent, bringing the total number to 770,000.
  • The area of Rainforest Alliance Certified farmland doubled, with over 5.4 million acres (2.2 million hectares) of land now managed responsibly on farms that curb deforestation, conserve soil and water and protect wildlife.
  • The year saw the benefits of Rainforest Alliance certification reach 11 million people worldwide, including farmers, workers, their families and communities.
  • Coffee farmers embraced Rainforest Alliance certification, with a 45 percent increase in the amount of coffee produced on certified farms, bringing the total volume up to 377,000 metric tons -- 4.5 percent of the global supply.
  • Cocoa certification boomed, with a staggering 312 percent jump in the amount of cocoa produced on Rainforest Alliance Certified farms, bringing the total volume up to 405,000 metric tons -- 10 percent of the world’s cocoa.
  • 2012 saw tea from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms rise to 11.5 percent of the global supply, with the volume increasing 24 percent to 526,000 metric tons.
  • Demand for products featuring the green frog seal continued to rise, with 450 new companies joining the now 3,400 that buy or sell goods from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms.
  • Caribou Coffee became the nation’s first major coffee house to source 100 percent of its beans from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms.
  • The year saw the world’s first ranchers achieve Rainforest Alliance certification for sustainable cattle production in Brazil.
  • Coffee farmers rallied in the fight against climate change, with 428 Rainforest Alliance Certified producers being awarded climate-smart verification.
  • 62,000 farmers received training on best management practices through the Rainforest Alliance’s work with Nespresso and Nestle combined.

2012 Sustainable Forestry Highlights

  • During 2012, 24.7 million acres (10 million hectares) of forestland achieved Rainforest Alliance certification to Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) standards, which help to protect forest ecosystems and conserve natural resources.
  • The total area of certified forestland reached 182.9 million acres (74.6 million hectares) -- an area larger than the size of Texas -- benefitting the lives and livelihoods of millions of people in forest communities across 78 countries worldwide.
  • The Rainforest Alliance maintained its longstanding position as the leading FSC-certifier, having certified 43 percent of FSC-certified land worldwide.
  • As of 2012, the total number of FSC Chain-of-Custody (CoC) certifications issued by the Rainforest Alliance -- demonstrating supply chain transparency -- climbed to 5,610 spanning 81 countries.
  • The year saw 190 new small- and medium-sized forestry operations in indigenous and forest communities receive training and technical assistance from the Rainforest Alliance, benefitting 8,400 forest-dependent households across 14 countries.
  • During the year, indigenous and forest communities -- both certified and in-process-of-certification -- earned US$14 million in the sales of forest products.
  • Earth Source, The Wood Bank, Wood Master, Mattel, GSK, General Mills, Avery Denison, Danone and ASDA joined the ranks of companies working with the Rainforest Alliance on sustainable sourcing.

2012 Climate Change Highlights

  • During 2012, 18 new forest carbon projects achieved Rainforest Alliance verification or validation, bringing the total number to 61 spanning 5 million acres (2 million hectares) of forestland in 21 countries.
  • The total emissions avoided through verified or validated forest carbon projects soared to 9.27 million tons of carbon -- equivalent to the annual emissions of 1.8 million cars.
  • To promote climate-smart practices, the Rainforest Alliance provided training to 600 community leaders in Ghana, Honduras, Columbia, Indonesia and Mexico.
  • The year saw the world’s largest forest carbon project achieve validation in Peru, covering 1.4 million acres (560,000 hectares) of land in Tambopata National Reserve and Bahuaja-Sonene National Park.
  • In Madagascar, the Makira REDD (Reduced Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) project was validated, which is expected to reduce a staggering 38 million tons of emissions over the next 30 years -- equivalent to the annual emissions of over 4.5 million cars.
  • The Paiter Surui indigenous community-led REDD+ (Reduced Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Plus Forest Conservation) project in Brazil was validated, setting a leading example as the first to achieve both Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS) and Climate Community and Biodiversity (CCB) Gold level validation.
  • During 2012, the first Climate Action Reserve (CAR) project achieved verification -- also the first Improved Forest Management (IFM) project registered with CAR outside of California.
  • The Rainforest Alliance was approved as an Accredited Offset Verification Body under the State of California Air Resources Board (ARB). California is implementing the first compliance, cap-and-trade program in the US.

2012 Sustainable Tourism Highlights

  • To date, the Rainforest Alliance has worked with 717 tourism businesses across 10 Latin American countries to protect fragile ecosystems and support local communities.
  • To promote best management practices among community-based tourism businesses, the Rainforest Alliance provided training and technical assistance to more than 80 businesses in Mexico, Argentina and Brazil. Additionally, more than 20 trainers were trained to support capacity-building efforts in Brazil.
  • More than 9,600 employees at verified hotels in Mexico received training on water conservation and socio-cultural best practices through the pilot phase launch of a new online training platform.

2012 Environmental Education Highlights

  • During 2012, the Rainforest Alliance empowered students with the knowledge and skills to promote environmental conservation in their local communities, working with 12,400 students and 884 teachers, in New York, NY, Newark, NJ, and Jacksonville, FL, and an additional 1,400 students and 112 teachers in Guatemala, Ghana, and Mexico.

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