Rainforest Alliance Announces 2008 Honorees to be Recognized for Leadership in Sustainability and Support of Conservation Work

May 12, 2008

The Rainforest Alliance, an international nonprofit conservation organization, is pleased to announce the 2008 honorees that will be recognized at its annual gala on May 15 at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. The annual gala recognizes companies and individuals for their work with the Rainforest Alliance on making sustainable supply chain decisions or for their longtime support of conservation work.

"We are proud to honor global leaders across sectors ranging from forest products to coffee to finance for big strides they have made in supporting sustainability," said Tensie Whelan, executive director of the Rainforest Alliance, who was listed last year by Ethisphere magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in business ethics. "The Rainforest Alliance was founded more than 20 years ago with the idea of using market forces to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods. Now, this idea has been catching on with a broader audience as businesses and consumers increasingly realize the positive impacts they can have by leveraging their buying power to support sustainable agriculture, forestry and tourism."

The 2008 honorees are:

Flower

Lifetime Achievement Awardee:
His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales

Individual Sustainable Standard-Setter:
Toshishige Nakagoshi, Yusuhara Forest Owners' Cooperative

Corporate Sustainable Standard-Setters (companies that have worked with the Rainforest Alliance and exhibited outstanding leadership in efforts to promote sustainability):
Mohawk Fine Papers
NatureAir

Corporate Green Globe Awardees (businesses that demonstrate an extraordinary commitment to furthering sustainability):
Gloria Jean's Coffees International
Goldman, Sachs & Co.
HSBC
Luigi Lavazza S.p.A.

2008 Gala Co-Chairs:
JPMorgan Chase
Nestlé Nespresso
Potlatch Corporation

The honorees and co-chairs will come together with other business leaders and representatives from the Rainforest Alliance for a day-long workshop on marketing sustainability and certification at the New York headquarters of Goldman, Sachs & Co. Following the workshop, they will join other Rainforest Alliance supporters for an awards dinner, dancing and a silent auction at the American Museum of Natural History. Gala proceeds benefit the Rainforest Alliance's work in sustainable agriculture, forestry and tourism.

Achievements of the 2008 gala honorees:

His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales

For decades, The Prince of Wales has been a staunch environmental advocate, devoting his efforts toward conservation, corporate responsibility, the sustainable use of the Earth's resources and raising awareness of climate change many years before it became an issue of global concern. Through the years, His Royal Highness has developed a wide range of interests which are today reflected in 'The Prince's Charities', a group of 19 not-for-profit organizations for which The Prince of Wales is President. The group is the largest multi-cause charitable enterprise in the United Kingdom, raising over £119 million ($234 million) annually. The organizations are active across a broad range of areas including opportunity and enterprise, education, health, the built environment, social enterprise, responsible business and the natural environment. These interests are also reflected in the list of around 400 organizations of which he is Patron or President. In October 2007 His Royal Highness established The Prince's Rainforests Project to find practical solutions to slow tropical deforestation and combat climate change.

Toshishige Nakagoshi, Yusuhara Forest Owners' Cooperative

Toshishige Nakagoshi's organization, the Yusuhara Forest Owners' Cooperative, has been operating in Yusuhara, a municipality in southwestern Japan, for more than half a century and has been certified by the Rainforest Alliance to the standards of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) since 2000. Certification has helped cooperative members economically: where previously they shipped most of their wood products to wholesalers and auction markets, now their major purchasers are eco-conscious builders in Osaka and other large cities who pay, on average, several hundred dollars more per cubic meter. Mr. Nakagoshi has been with the cooperative for nearly four decades. He was named to its board of directors in 1995 and became board chairman in 1997.

Mohawk Fine Papers

By sourcing fiber from responsibly-managed forests, using high percentages of recycled fiber and reducing the environmental impact of its facilities, Mohawk Fine Papers, based in upstate New York, protects wildlife and conserves natural resources. Mohawk produces many Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified paper products. Mohawk is also one of the largest purchasers of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) among U.S. companies -- it matches 100 percent of the electricity used in its operations with RECs from windpower projects certified by Green-e, a leading renewable energy verification program. And a number of Mohawk products are now being made carbon neutral within the company's production processes.

NatureAir

Based in San José, Costa Rica, family-owned NatureAir was the world's first airline to become carbon neutral and the first to become emissions-free. NatureAir annually offsets 4,650 tons of carbon dioxide and uses the carbon credits to help fund the reforesting of Costa Rica's Osa Peninsula, one of Central America's most biologically diverse rainforests. NatureAir has also been able to reduce emissions by replacing light bulbs, limiting copy paper, recycling and improving its flight plans to conserve fuel. The airline's nonprofit organization NatureKids teaches English reading and writing skills and environmental awareness to low-income children and their families.

Gloria Jean's Coffees International

Australian-owned Gloria Jean's Coffees International -- with more than 900 coffee houses in 32 countries -- continues to increase its commitment to benefiting the people and farms in countries from which it sources coffee. The company first purchased coffee from Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms three years ago and recently committed to buying nearly 3.9 million pounds (1,750 metric tons) of coffee from certified farms in Nicaragua, Brazil, Colombia and Costa Rica this year. In addition, the company has pledged to source up to 85 percent of its total coffee supply from certified farms in the next three years.

Goldman, Sachs & Co.

Pond

Since 2005, when Goldman Sachs formally announced its commitment to environmental sustainability, the investment banking giant has been procuring environmentally sound products, incorporating green building standards and focusing on energy efficiency and conservation. When Goldman Sachs completes its new worldwide headquarters building in New York City, more than half of the wood used in its construction will come from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified forests. The paper used in the company's annual report, client statements, business stationery and research reports also derives from well-managed forestlands. And a full 50 percent of the coffee served in Goldman Sachs' corporate cafeterias, cafes and pantries is sourced from Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms.

HSBC

HSBC, the world's first bank to go carbon neutral in 2005, has created a five-year, $100 million partnership with several leading conservation organizations to reduce the impact of climate change and to help the bank evaluate its environmental practices. HSBC is one of a handful of financial institutions to give preference to Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified businesses when financing forestry projects. HSBC prints major reports on FSC-certified paper and has supported the Rainforest Alliance's education program.

Luigi Lavazza S.p.A.

One of Italy's oldest and most popular coffee roasters and sellers, Lavazza has worked with the Rainforest Alliance on a sustainable development project called ¡Tierra! to help communities of small coffee growers in Honduras, Peru and Colombia improve their living and working standards and become more competitive and self- sufficient in managing their production. The coffee farmers have learned how to help protect wildlife, waterways and forests by using eco-friendly techniques -- including pest control without the use of dangerous pesticides and replacing inefficient coffee mills with modern machinery that use far less water and control pollution. The project has borne fruit: Since 2004, Rainforest Alliance Certified™ ¡Tierra! Coffee, a 100 percent premium Arabica blend, has been sold in specialty and retail stores in many countries including the US and Canada.

Achievements of the 2008 gala co-chairs:

JPMorgan Chase

JPMorgan Chase is committed to sustainability in all of its global operations. The firm is working to reduce its own environmental footprint through the efficient use of energy, by reducing paper consumption and by incorporating green construction practices into major projects. JPMorgan Chase actively invests in renewable energy including wind, solar and geothermal alternatives. The bank is a major participant in carbon trading markets in Europe and the US, and its analysts publish extensively on a range of climate change issues, which inform their financial evaluation of companies.

Nestlé Nespresso SA

In 2003, gourmet coffee producer NestléNespresso SA joined the Rainforest Alliance and its partners in the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) to launch the AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program, which ensures that farmers meet and exceed comprehensive social and environmental standards. The program has resulted in major improvements in coffee quality, environmental sustainability and conditions for farm workers on more than 15,000 farms -- 35 percent of all the farms from which Nespresso sources coffee beans. Nespresso hopes to expand that number to 25,000 -- or 40 percent -- by the end of this year. The company was presented with the Corporate Green Globe award at the Rainforest Alliance's 20th Anniversary Gala in 2007.

Potlatch Corporation

Potlatch Corporation, a Washington State-based forestland management company, owns approximately 1.7 million acres of land in Arkansas, Idaho, Minnesota and Wisconsin -- all of it certified or in the process of being certified to the standards of the Forest Stewardship Council. Potlatch also operates 12 manufacturing facilities that produce lumber, panel and pulp products, including paperboard and tissue. The company, which practices a mix of natural and plantation forest management, has planted more than 190 million trees since 1990. Potlatch received the Rainforest Alliance's Corporate Sustainable Standard-Setter Award at our 20th Anniversary Gala in 2007.

Gala underwriter: Gibson Foundation
Gala sponsors: Domtar and the New York Observer