Measuring Our Impact
The Rainforest Alliance conducts and evaluates rigorous scientific research on an ongoing basis to assess the impact of our work and ensure that our programs are as effective as possible. This includes research conducted by our staff and partners, as well as independent impact studies performed by universities, nonprofit groups and research organizations.
Because our work is so broad in scope, various studies cover many subjects, including:
For a more detailed look at how the Rainforest Alliance and our partners have helped protect people and the planet over the past quarter century, read our 25th anniversary report.
We support research that helps us understand the outcomes and impacts of our work and tests assumptions about how our activities help us achieve our mission. In some cases, we commission universities or research institutions to conduct independent impact studies, while in other instances, we build research initiatives into the monitoring and evaluation plans of an ongoing technical assistance project. We also analyze data that is systematically collected during the certification audit process.
The majority of the Rainforest Alliance’s outcome and impacts research is carried out by third parties. Our own research is conducted according to established scientific principles. We make the results of our research publicly available and solicit input from stakeholders, including academics, on our methodologies, statistical analyses and interpretations of results.
The research is employed in two primary ways:
- We use what we learn to improve and adapt our programs and standards; and
- We share the results -- both positive and negative -- with scientists, the general public and our stakeholders, including, of course, the farmers, forest owners and tourism entrepreneurs from whom the raw data was originally collected. In some cases, we do this by publishing the studies in peer-reviewed journals, while other results are described in blog posts or presented at conferences.
Yes, we develop and test new methods of collecting data in a cost-effective, streamlined way. At the moment we are testing a farm-level water-quality monitoring protocol, a methodology to assess changes in the extent and quality of natural and semi-natural habitats, and a livelihood-based methodology that examines access to food, net household income and other variables. For more detail about our approach to monitoring and assessing the results of our farmer training and certification activities on biodiversity and the environment, see our report, Charting Transitions to Conservation-Friendly Agriculture.
Visit our Publications page and enter the appropriate keywords into the “search publications” box.