Human Rights

Advancing the Rights of Rural People

What's at Stake

The production of many commonly traded goods—coffee, chocolate, tea, bananas, palm oil, and timber—often involves human rights abuses. While progress has been made in recent years, thorny problems such as child labor, forced labor, poor working conditions, low wages, gender inequality, and the violation of Indigenous land rights are still embedded in many supply chains.

Women harvesting coffee in India

Women harvesting coffee in India

Human rights and sustainability

Advancing the rights of rural people goes hand-in-hand with improving planetary health. Project Drawdown cites gender equality, for instance, as one of the top climate solutions, and in our own work, we have seen that farmers and forest communities can better steward their land when their human rights are respected. Everyone deserves to live and work with dignity, agency, and self-determination—and promoting the rights of rural people is key to a sustainable future.

Our Work

Our Work: Human Rights

The Rainforest Alliance brings together producers, companies, governments, nonprofit organizations, and consumers to advance human rights in the landscapes where we work. We work both to transform business practices and government policy, as well as promote the rights of our partner communities within our certification system and sustainable development initiatives.

A coffee farmer holding coffee beans in Rwanda

On Rainforest Alliance Certified farms, employers must meet legal minimum wages and demonstrate progress toward paying a living wage

Advancing the Human Rights of Rural People

The well-being of farmers and farmworkers is central to the long-term sustainability of any agriculture business—which is one reason that addressing human rights abuses in agriculture is a key focus of our work. We also work to protect the rights of Indigenous and local people, who are the world’s most effective forest guardians.

Learn more about how we are working to achieve our mission.
Our Impact

Our Impact

Improving lives and promoting rights of rural communities is a central part of our mission. Our field results, backed by independent studies, demonstrate, for instance, that workers on certified farms are more likely to enjoy better working conditions and important protections.

amount earned by indigenous and forest communities

96 percent

of workers on Rainforest Alliance Certified tea estates in Tamil Nadu, India, receive paid annual and sick leave

Source: Lalitha N, Nelson V, Martin A, Posthumus H. 2013. Assessing the poverty impact of sustainability standards: Indian tea. Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich, London.

Better Working Conditions on Certified Tea Estates

In Tamil Nadu, India, a study of 300 farmworkers on seven Rainforest Alliance Certified tea estates and one noncertified estate found a significantly higher percentage of workers on certified estates had contracts and annual paid leave, sick leave, and maternity leave.

people trained in earth-friendly land management practices

100 percent

of Rainforest Alliance Certified banana farms studied in Colombia have a health and safety professional for their workers

Based on 2018 survey of newly certified farms in Colombia (Beekman, G. M. Dekkers, and T. Koster (2019). Towards a sustainable banana supply chain in Colombia; Rainforest Alliance certification and economic, social and environmental conditions on small-scale banana plantations in Magdalena, Colombia. Wageningen, Wageningen Economic Research, Report 2019-019: 1-49)

Better Health and Safety on Banana Plantations

A study of 13 newly certified banana plantations in Colombia found health and safety professionals to be practicing on all the farms. These professionals identify risks, conduct trainings, and facilitate medical exams. 50 percent more managers on certified farms than non-certified also reported providing in-kind health benefits to permanent workers.

Learn more ways we are achieving real results.
Get Involved

Get Involved

Join us to create a better future for people and nature.

Tikal ruins, Maya Biosphere Reserve

We’re helping to empower forest-dependent communities while protecting the stunning landscape and biodiversity of the Maya Biosphere Reserve in Guatemala.

Tea plucker

We’re improving life for community members by advocating for workers' rights, advancing projects that promote gender equity, and expanding access to education.

People collecting dirty river water

Around the world, 1.3 billion people live on less than $1.25 a day.