FAQ: How is the Rainforest Alliance funded?

We finance our work and sustainability programs through diverse sources of income. The largest of them are participation royalties from certification, grants from governments and foundations, and individual donations.

2019 Revenue, Support by Source, and Expenses

2019 Revenue, Support By Source, And Expenses

Participation royalties

Participation royalties[1] are paid by companies that buy and sell goods produced on Rainforest Alliance Certified or UTZ certified farms. The Rainforest Alliance uses the royalties to support and sustain our certification programs. We invest these royalties in developing standards and policies, training farmers and auditors, managing a quality control system for auditors, tracing certified products throughout the supply chain, measuring impact, and more. This revenue source on average makes up 62 percent of our total revenue.

Grants and contracts (foundations, governments, corporations)

Foundation, bi-lateral government, and multi-lateral government agency grants as well as corporate grants and contracts fund a variety of our on-the-ground programs to accelerate the adoption of more sustainable agricultural and forestry practices throughout the world.

These grants also fund global partnership initiatives designed to advance new solutions to systemic sustainability challenges. These partnerships demonstrate the power of working as an alliance. Examples include the Accountability Framework initiative and LandScale.

Grants and contracts cover direct project costs as well as operating costs. In 2019, these two revenue sources accounted for 23 percent of our total revenue.

Donations (major donors and individuals)

The Rainforest Alliance has a long and robust history of individual philanthropic relationships. Individual donations to the Rainforest Alliance range from $5 to more than $1,000,000. These contributions come from people committed to taking action on some of the most pressing social and environmental challenges of today. They play a critical role in making our work possible as they fund a spectrum of the Rainforest Alliance’s organizational needs—from general operations to distinct sustainability programs in agriculture and forestry. Donations made up eight percent of our total revenue 2019.

Other contract revenue

We work with international companies in agriculture and forestry on tailored programs to make their supply chains more sustainable. Each of these programs is funded by the company that the program is for. In 2019 this revenue source accounted for four percent of our total revenue.

Special events

Our annual Gala is attended by generous donors and business representatives. We invest the revenue from this event in our work and sustainability programs. In 2019 it made up one percent of our total revenue.

In-kind contributions

We also receive donations of goods and services such as legal advice, space, and consulting. These donations accounted for two percent of our total revenue 2019.

More detailed financial summary and our funders list are available in our annual reports and financial statements here.

[1] The equivalent of “participation royalties” in the UTZ program is “volume-based fees.”

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Forest canopy - photo by Sergio Izquierdo

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