Among the more than 3,000 companies and organizations that gathered in Anaheim, California in March for the 36th annual Natural Products Expo West were the Rainforest Alliance and many of our collaborating companies. The 77,000 attendees made this the largest event in the world focused on natural, organic and healthy products, including Rainforest Alliance collaborating companies that proudly demonstrate their commitment to sustainability by sourcing ingredients from Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms.
From large multinational corporations to small, community-based cooperatives, the Rainforest Alliance engages with businesses and consumers worldwide to bring responsibly produced goods to a global marketplace. The Rainforest Alliance Certified™ seal assures consumers that the product they are purchasing includes materials that have been grown and harvested on a farm or forest that promotes environmentally and socially responsible practices.
Here is a sample of the companies that work with the Rainforest Alliance and exhibited at Expo West.
Integrity of ingredients is very important to Bissinger’s. Because not all cocoa is responsibly farmed, they work with Rainforest Alliance Certified farms in Cote d’ I’voire where superior cocoa beans, esteemed for exceptional taste, are grown. “We appreciate the dedication and hard work of so many to ensure our world’s biggest assets, our environment and our farming community, are always protected,” said Dave Owens, VP of Taste-Chief Chocolatier.
Bixby & Co. was founded by Kate McAleer. Kate represents a new breed of young entrepreneurs who are breaking with the traditional career path. They possess a renewed American spirit that drives them to create new businesses that are socially responsible. Bixby & Co. cares about where the ingredients used in its craft candy snack bars come from and how those ingredients impact not only customers but also those that grow and harvest those ingredients. They are committed to ethically sourcing, which is why they use cocoa from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms.
Clif Bar & Company believes that how they select and source ingredients can be a catalyst for change in creating a healthy food system. “We chose the Rainforest Alliance certification for our cocoa because its comprehensive social and environmental commitments closely match our Company’s Five Aspirations business model. The Rainforest Alliance supports a healthy environment and promotes the well-being of workers and their communities,” said Meaghan Praznik of Clif Bar.
Daabon Group of Santa Marta, Colombia, is a family-owned company that has focused on natural and sustainable agriculture and business practices for decades. Its goal for sustainable and organic agricultural production is directly linked to people and the planet – it strives to make a positive environmental impact through comprehensive system design integration of plantations to environmental conservation, empowerment of the family and education. “We’re excited to work with organizations like the Rainforest Alliance to tell our story of the responsible agricultural production of coffee, bananas and palm oil. The Rainforest Alliance Certified seal helps to assure our customer base that our operations are sustainable from the soil to the market,” said Jana Cichowski of Daabon.
You may have noticed a little green frog seal on DAGOBA chocolate packaging. As of 2012, DAGOBA’s entire product line is made with cocoa from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms. “DAGOBA chocolate was founded on a love for the environment, which shaped our decision to use organic and sustainably-grown cocoa from farms that conserve and reinvigorate the rainforest. We chose to work with the Rainforest Alliance because like us, it values environmental protection, social equity and economic viability for a better planet,” said Eduardo Vivas, Senior Brand Manager.
“At Justin’s, we strive to source our ingredients as sustainably and responsibly as possible, and we are proud to use Rainforest Alliance Certified cocoa for our products. It was important for us to team up with an organization that goes to extra lengths to ensure the safety and quality of the farms from where we source our cocoa. When we learned how Rainforest Alliance helps define the criteria for suitable labor conditions and practices, as well as training for the farmers, we knew that the certification was the perfect choice for our organic Dark, Milk and White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups,” said Julianna Abdallah, Earned Media Manager.
“At Miss Jones, we are committed to mitigating the social and environmental impacts of palm oil production by sourcing palm oil solely from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms. As the creator of the first-ever organic ready-to-spread frosting, Miss Jones is paving the way for a clean-label revolution in the frosting category. We believe that the environmental, social, and economic sustainability pillars of the Rainforest Alliance form the foundation from which to grow a sustainable supply chain, and therefore a sustainable business,” said Sarah Jones, Founder and CEO.
“NibMor has prided itself on sourcing cocoa from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms from the beginning and has expanded offerings to include a new all-natural, non-gmo project verified line of 55% dark chocolate with superfruits made with certified cocoa. This line comes in 3 oz full size bars in blueberry, cherry, fruit/nut (raisin walnut) and cacao nib, as well as 1 oz bars in blueberry, cherry and cacao nib, and natural daily dose in cacao nib. This new line is slightly less dark than the organic line, for people who like the creamy texture of milk chocolate, without any dairy. Plus, we use real, whole dried fruits in our chocolate, so you don’t have to worry about funny ingredients or fillers,” said Tara Finlay, Sales Support.
“The Republic of Tea is committed to sourcing premium teas and herbs from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms around the world. Many of our best-selling teas, such as Three Gardens Breakfast, Peppermint Bark, Get Burning and Elderflower SuperHerb, are from farms that have earned this certification. Most recently, we began sourcing tea from certified farms for our Organic Moringa SuperHerb and on our new Organic Mango and Pineapple Coconut Water Iced Teas. Moreover, every blend in our collection that contains South African green rooibos carries the certified seal, which allows us to assure customers that this wonder herb was grown under strict sustainability guidelines. As the leading purveyor of premium teas, The Republic of Tea is committed to ethical and eco-friendly sourcing practices, and is proud to work with the Rainforest Alliance,” said Emily Rancer, Minister of Creative Collaboration.
Teatulia organic tea comes directly from its own organic tea garden. There is no middle man, no long-term warehouse storage and no waiting around to be put into just the right blend as defined by a third-party blender. “Teatulia Organic Tea is proud to source tea from its own garden, which is Rainforest Alliance Certified. Being able to add the seal to our packaging is an excellent reminder to consumers of Teatulia’s commitment to environmental stewardship and the well-being of our garden workers. We feel that every tea company should ultimately carry the seal too, for obvious reasons,” said Chris Olsen, Director of Marketing and Product Development.
Tom’s of Maine was founded with the belief that “both human beings and nature have inherent worth and deserve our respect” and work to operate in a sustainable manner and to be a positive force for good in the communities where they operate. For 45 years, Tom’s of Maine has continuously strived to deliver natural, sustainable and responsible products in the personal care world. Their transition to Rainforest Alliance Certified palm oil in all of their bar soaps in 2015 is one way they are working toward that mission. “It also helps give us more confidence that we are making our products more sustainable each and every day,” said Christopher Murphy, Brand Manager.
At Yogi Tea was founded on the belief that the purpose of business is to serve and its guiding principle is “Feel Good, Be Good, Do Good.” “Yogi is a proud to work with the Rainforest Alliance and to purchase exclusively Organic Rooibos Leaf from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms. Buying Yogi products with the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal of approval promotes the rights and well-being of workers, conserves natural resources and protects wildlife and the environment,” said Alicia Richman, Brand Manager.