The Rainforest Alliance aims to maximize its impact by transforming global agricultural and forestry sectors and protecting landscapes. Certification is a powerful tool to address urgent economic, social and environmental challenges, but it’s not always the entire solution. We support companies in their sustainability commitments within our certification program and beyond. William Crosse, Director of Tailored Programs, explains how the Rainforest Alliance can collaborate with companies to create more sustainable supply chains outside the field of certification.
Adapting to companies’ needs
There are many factors that can lead companies to work with the Rainforest Alliance on a tailored program for their supply chains. “Not all companies are yet able to switch to sourcing only certified commodities for a variety of reasons,” Crosse explains. “Other companies like to test out new, innovative ideas to make their business more sustainable or want to create an impact on a specific issue in their supply chain. In these cases, and more, we can work with businesses to help establish credible commitments and implement them through best practices. In this way, our services can make volumes of commodities that are not Rainforest Alliance Certified™ more sustainable than conventional sourcing. This drives our organizational mission to make responsible business the new normal.”
“In all tailored programs, we want to align the Rainforest Alliance mission with the company’s commitments while adapting our support to their specific profile and needs,” Crosse says. “To this end, we treat companies as partners as much as clients to ensure that we are on the same page and share the same vision.”
Four areas of tailored programs
The Rainforest Alliance offers projects and services in four different areas for our priority sectors, cocoa, coffee, tea, palm oil, forest products and bananas. Firstly, we engage partner companies through our Corporate Advisory services. We support them in shaping and implementing their sustainability commitments using best practices and definitions, such as those outlined in the Accountability Framework. One example of this is the work we do with Kraft Heinz Company (KHC) to deliver their no deforestation, no exploitation commitments for palm oil. Our partnership to date has mapped and assessed KHC’s supply chain to more systematically evaluate their palm oil sourcing risk and determine the corrective actions necessary to realize their sustainability goals over time.
Secondly, we offer Field-Based Monitoring and Evaluation services. With these projects, we assist businesses in both monitoring and evaluating the performance of their own company sustainability initiatives and reporting on industry-wide commitments such as CocoaAction. At the same time, we are harnessing lessons and developing best practices to inform the Rainforest Alliance’s new certification value proposition. Examples include our partnerships with Nestlé on its Cocoa Plan and Nespresso on its AAA Program.
Our third service offering is to co-create Sector Innovation projects with our partners to develop new innovations and tools that accelerate sector change. One example is the Appalachian Woodlands Alliance, our partnership with a coalition of forest products leaders that source from the southern and central Appalachian region in the southeastern United States. In this project, we are building multi-stakeholder consensus to develop a new and replicable solution that increases smallholder forest owner participation in sustainable forest management while maintaining the values, rigor, and confidence of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®) claims.
Finally, we work hand in hand with our regional colleagues and other Rainforest Alliance departments to collaborate with companies on our Sustainable Landscapes projects and partnerships that drive change in the key landscapes in which we work. We are currently designing projects that support companies in establishing self-governing, multi-stakeholder collaborations in important cocoa production regions in West Africa. These partnerships aim to plan, manage and monitor collective actions on landscape-level that enhance livelihoods, mitigate risks to forest reserves and restore degraded areas. These are long-standing, entrenched issues that require a landscape approach and the involvement of many actors.
“Our tailored supply chain programs are powerful vehicles to accelerate innovation and increase impact.”
William Crosse, Director of Tailored programs
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“Our tailored supply chain programs are powerful vehicles to accelerate innovation and increase impact. They are efficient tools to drive value for partner companies who want to mitigate supply chain risks and develop and achieve sustainability goals that are credibly aligned with the Rainforest Alliance mission, industry standards and global frameworks such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals,” Crosse concludes.
Is your company interested in learning more or co-creating a tailored program with the Rainforest Alliance? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.