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The Rainforest Alliance Recognizes Excellence in Advancing Sustainability and Climate Goals

The Rainforest Alliance is pleased to announce the recipients of its 2016 awards, which recognize businesses and individuals committed to protecting the environment, implementing climate solutions, and supporting local communities across the globe.

The awards will be presented to the honorees on May 11thin New York City, at the Rainforest Alliance’s annual spring gala at the American Museum of Natural History.

“We are recognizing thought leaders who are addressing some of the most significant challenges we face today,” said Nigel Sizer, the newly appointed president of the Rainforest Alliance. “These companies, individuals, and countries are leading by example, and their efforts show tangible, scalable results. We are proud to work with all of our honorees in protecting forests and supporting farmers and communities across the world. We believe that to bring about real change, we will all have to work together.”

During the day on May 11, honorees and co-chairs will join CEOs, business and thought leaders, and Rainforest Alliance experts at the annual Leadership Summit to discuss strategies for implementing global sustainability and climate goals. Following the summit, participants will gather for an awards dinner, entertainment, and a silent auction.

Special guests at this year’s gala include Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment Vidar Helgesen, community leader and activist Juana Payaba Cachique, and model/climate activist Cameron Russell. Gala proceeds benefit the Rainforest Alliance’s international work in sustainable agriculture, forestry, tourism, human rights, and climate change.

The gala is co-chaired by Avery Dennison and Breyers, and sponsored by Domtar. Awardees include:

2016 Global Standard-Setter:

Government of Norway, represented by the Norwegian Minister of the Climate and Environment, Vidar Helgesen

2016 Community Leadership Award:

Juana Payaba Cachique, former president of Tres Islas, a Peruvian indigenous community

2016 Sustainable Standard-Setter Honorees:

Clearwater Paper Corporation

Clif Bar

2016 Supply Chain Partnership Award:

The Kroger Co.

Awardee Achievements

Here’s a summary of the sustainability achievements of this year’s gala awardees, co-chairs, and sponsor:

Government of Norway

At the UN climate conference in Bali in 2007, the Government of Norway launched its International Climate and Forest Initiative. Within just a few months, the program was underway, supported by an annual budget that now tops $365 million USD. The Government of Norway recognizes the power of tropical forests to mitigate climate change, provide habitat for precious flora and fauna, and serve as socioeconomic safety nets to some of the world’s poorest people.

The initiative, which has been extended until 2030, takes a holistic approach. The Government partners with other countries, including Brazil, to which it has paid US $1billion for successes in reducing deforestation of the Amazon, Colombia, Guyana, Peru, Liberia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, and the Congo Basin. In addition, a sizeable civil society program will spend US$40 to 50 million per year from 2016 to 2020 to support organizations working on indigenous peoples' rights, deforestation-free supply chains, international law enforcement, and other key issues. The Government of Norway also invests heavily in increasing global transparency with regard to forest protection, including through Global Forest Watch. The Government rounds out its impressive and substantive range of efforts by teaming up with companies in the private sector to create deforestation-free supply chains.

Juana Payaba Cachique

It’s vital to respect the rights of native populations. But that entails much more than just considering their needs; it means operating hand-in-hand with indigenous communities to help integrate sustainability into their daily lives. Our efforts are most effective when we partner with a strong community leader, and Juana Payaba Cachique has been among the most notable.

Based in the Madre de Dios region of Peru, Payaba is the former president of Tres Islas, a community that now harvests wood and non-timber forest products sustainably. She has led the fight against illegal logging and destructive mining activities in Tres Islas.

And as the leader of a local production committee, she has worked with other communities and associations to promote sustainable development, including the production of goods derived from the Brazil nut tree—particularly value-added products such as oil and snack foods, which generate more income. Last year, Tres Islas alone produced over 16,000 kg of shelled Brazil nut, which they are now actively marketing through a new brand to reach gourmet retailers in Peru. Through these and other related efforts, Tres Islas has made it possible for more families in the community to benefit economically from harvesting and sales activities, and increased the value of Brazil nut sales by over 18%.

Under Payaba’s inspiring leadership, Tres Islas applied for credit to develop these businesses and received a loan, which has already been repaid. She has shown her neighbors that it’s possible to generate economic value for the community’s conservation practices. And through her efforts, she has proven that economic growth does not have to come at the expense of cultural preservation and indigenous rights. She has also served as a powerful advocate for Tres Islas in public policy matters, ensuring that the community’s rights are upheld and honored.

Clearwater Paper Corporation

Clearwater Paper Corporation is a seven-year-old premier tissue and paperboard company with a 113-year history.  It spun off from its predecessor company in 2008, and since then has continued to raise the bar of sustainable practices.

In 2010 Clearwater became the first companies to manufacture FSC® certified facial tissue with both the FSC logo and the Rainforest Alliance Certified™ seal.

The Spokane, Washington, headquartered company believes that sustainability is a journey, not a destination. Clearwater Paper Corporation’s comprehensive approach to sustainability is what drives it to produce annual corporate social responsibility reports that include goals and outcomes for important issues such as sustainable supply chain management, ethics, and employee health.

Clif Bar

Clif Bar & Company has consistently worked to help create a healthy, just and sustainable food system—which means, for starters, sourcing organic and sustainable ingredients. Since 2012, the company has partnered with the Rainforest Alliance to source 100 percent of its non-organic cacao from Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms. In addition, 100 percent of the company’s organic palm kernel oil is both Rainforest Alliance and RSPO-IP certified. Clif Bar is currently working with the Rainforest Alliance to transition its conventional palm kernel oil sourcing to Rainforest Alliance Certified farms as well. Clif Bar is the first in the energy bar line to publicly commit to using Rainforest Alliance Certified cocoa and palm kernel oil in their products.

But Clif Bar’s commitment to sustainability isn’t limited to sourcing. Its headquarters facility in Emeryville, California was awarded LEED® Platinum certification, the highest standard of building sustainability; it diverts 84 percent of its office waste from local landfills through reduction, recycling and composting; Clif Bar-owned and -operated facilities use 100 percent renewable energy for electricity; 80 percent of electricity at company headquarters comes from rooftop solar panels; 33 new wind turbines have been constructed due to Clif Bar’s purchase of Help Build™ carbon offsets; and the company has achieved 14 years of climate-neutral business operations through a partnership with Native Energy.

The Kroger Co.

The Kroger Co., one of the world’s largest food retailers, operates 2,700 stores under two dozen banners across the United States. But a single theme unifies Kroger’s many businesses: a commitment to sustainability.

“Improving today to protect tomorrow” is the company’s sustainability motto, and for the past decade, The Kroger Co. has been working hard to be known as the responsible retailer driving sustainability and innovation in the supply chain. All of Kroger’s retail locations operate with the goal of producing zero waste, increasing sustainable sourcing, and conserving natural resources. 

The Rainforest Alliance Certified™ seal appears on many of Kroger’s offerings such as coffee, tea, and chocolate. In addition, Kroger’s Corporate Brand roses come from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms in South America, where boosting livelihoods, worker safety, and protecting the land are all key priorities.

The Kroger Co.’s commitment to the environment includes energy efficiency. More than 670 stores are Energy Star certified and the company has reduced overall energy consumption by 35 percent since 2000.

Looking ahead, The Kroger Co. plans to work even more closely with the Rainforest Alliance for the good of our people, our communities, and our planet.

Avery Dennison

As a global labeling and packaging leader, Avery Dennison creates products and solutions in more than 50 countries and employs over 25,000 people worldwide. Stan Avery established the company in 1935 with a bright idea that would pioneer the label industry, and its applications and technologies are now an integral part of products used in every major market.

Today, Avery Dennison is using its scale and buying power to help move the entire industry toward responsible sourcing. Knowing that change starts on the inside, the company looked at its own operations and focused on sourcing sustainably-produced paper. At the end of 2015, 91% of its paper volume came from non-controversial sources, as validated by the Rainforest Alliance. Avery Dennison has also provided grants to the Rainforest Alliance including a $200,000 grant, renewable for two additional years, to support the Rainforest Alliance’s efforts to improve forest management in Honduras, and a $100,000 grant, renewable for two additional years, to support the Rainforest Alliance’s project promoting sustainable forestry in the Southeast region of the United States.

Avery Dennison’s commitment to serve as a force for good extends well into the future. The company established a bold set of 2025 sustainability goals that will push itself and others to think bigger and reach higher.


When William A. Breyer first began selling his ice cream in 1866, he promised his customers that it was made with only the finest ingredients. Today, Breyers® continues this legacy by using only high-quality ingredients, including those that are sustainably farmed, in America’s favorite vanilla ice cream.

All Breyers® vanilla comes from Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms in Madagascar. As one of the world’s largest vanilla buyers, the decision to sustainably source these aromatic vanilla pods helps support the island nation’s biodiversity-rich environment and expand access to healthcare and education for farmers and their families.

The Breyers® commitment to quality through sustainably-sourced ingredients is consistent with the Sustainable Living Plan of parent company Unilever. The Unilever blueprint for sustainable growth focuses on reaching three impressive goals by the year 2020: 1) help more than one billion people improve their health and well-being; 2) halve the environmental footprint of its products; and 3) enhance the livelihoods of millions of people. In keeping with these sustainability goals, Breyers® is now working toward sourcing Rainforest Alliance Certified cocoa as well.


Domtar believes the best way to ensure that their forests, manufacturing, and distribution operations are managed in a responsible, sustainable and transparent manner is through certification by internationally recognized third-party organizations.

Domtar has worked with the Rainforest Alliance for many years on responsible paper production and fiber sourcing, starting in 2000 when Domtar forestlands in the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate New York were awarded Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) certification by the Rainforest Alliance. Domtar has also provided a $200,000 grant, renewable for two additional years, to support the Rainforest Alliance’s project promoting sustainable forestry in the southeast region of the United States.

For more information, please contact Brittany Wienke at


Forest canopy - photo by Sergio Izquierdo

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