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The Rainforest Alliance Celebrates 30 Years of Innovative Partnerships, Forest Conservation

For 30 years, the Rainforest Alliance has been a global leader in the conservation of forests and natural resources while advancing sustainable livelihoods. Such success can only be accomplished through strategic partnerships with players along every link in the supply chain, from producers to large multinational companies.

The Rainforest Alliance is pleased to recognize businesses and individuals committed to protecting the environment, implementing climate solutions, and supporting communities across the globe. Awards will be presented to honorees on May 10th in New York City, at the Rainforest Alliance’s 30th Anniversary Gala Celebration at the American Museum of Natural History.

"To come as far as the Rainforest Alliance has in 30 years, we needed the strength of partnership," said Nigel Sizer, President of the Rainforest Alliance. "Today, we recognize individuals and companies who are addressing some of the most significant challenges humanity has ever faced. These champions are working with us to protect forests and support farmers and communities across the world, affecting real change."

During the day on May 10, 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 in the evening for an awards dinner, entertainment, and a silent auction.

The gala is co-chaired by long-term Rainforest Alliance friends and supporters Maggie Lear, Tessie Nedelman, Laura Ross, and Cathy Taub, and sponsored by Domtar. Gala proceeds benefit the Rainforest Alliance’s international work in sustainable agriculture, forestry, tourism, human rights, and climate change.


2017 Community Leadership Award:

The Rainforest Alliance recognizes Felisa Navas Pérez, a three-term president of Asociación Forestal Integral Cruce a La Colorada (AFICC), a forestry concession in the Maya Biosphere Reserve (MBR) in the Petén region of Guatemala. Navas assumed her leadership role shortly after the concession’s board president was murdered, presumably by drug traffickers who want to control local lands so they may clear forest for livestock operations (which in turn serve to launder money).

While nearby concessions have collapsed, AFICC has remained solvent and certified under Navas’s leadership.

Corporate Sustainability Champions award recognizes companies who have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to sustainability, improving livelihoods, and conserving forests all around the world.

  • Allegro Coffee Company
  • AMResorts
  • Barry Callebaut AG
  • Beef Passion
  • Bettys & Taylors of Harrogate
  • Blommer Chocolate Company
  • Caribou Coffee
  • C.F. Martin & Co., Inc.
  • Chiquita
  • Clearwater Paper Company
  • Clif Bar
  • CMPC
  • Columbia Forest Products
  • Domtar
  • ECOM / Atlantic (USA)
  • Fibria
  • Kenya Tea Development Agency
  • Lavazza
  • Mars, Incorporated
  • Nestlé Nespresso SA
  • Olam International Ltd.
  • Suzano Pulp and Paper
  • Tesco
  • Unilever

People and Planet Champions award recognizes the visionary individuals, foundations, partner organizations, and government entities who have helped the Rainforest Alliance advance its mission to build strong forests and healthy communities.

  • Kim Bendheim
  • John Caulkins
  • Citi Foundation
  • Daniel Cohen (In Memoriam)
  • The Colombian Coffee Growers Federation
  • Comisión Nacional Forestal de México
  • Henry Davison
  • The Ford Foundation
  • Forest Stewardship Council
  • Dr. Karl Fossum (In Memoriam)
  • Global Environment Facility
  • Inter-American Development Bank
  • Elysabeth Kleinhans
  • Dr. Thomas E. Lovejoy
  • Millennium Challenge Corporation
  • The Milton and Tamar Maltz Family Foundation
  • Mitsubishi Corporation Foundation for the Americas
  • Jeffrey & Tessie Nedelman
  • Ellen Petersen
  • Robert W. Wilson Charitable Trust
  • Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales
  • Secretaría de Turismo de México
  • Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN)
  • The Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH)
  • United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
  • Alan Wilzig
  • Ann Ziff

The Sustainable Development Champions award recognizes the extraordinary achievements of a group of individuals and institutions working alongside local and indigenous communities in Guatemala’s Petén region to promote the economic, environmental, and social health of the Maya Biosphere Reserve and its communities.

  • Asociación de Comunidades Forestales de Petén
  • Continental Floral Greens
  • Defensores de la Naturaleza
  • General Wood Craft
  • Guatemala Ministry of Environment
  • Guatemalan Association of Exporters (AGEXPORT)
  • National Council of Protected Areas
  • North American Wood Products
  • United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
  • University of Minnesota

Maggie Lear, Tessie Nedelman, Laura Ross, and Cathy Taub are enormous fans of the Rainforest Alliance and proud Co-Chairs of tonight’s Gala. While traveling to Peru, Ecuador, and Mexico with Rainforest Alliance Executive Vice President Ana Paula Tavares, they witnessed the important work of the Rainforest Alliance firsthand. These visits provided them with opportunities to meet the knowledgeable farmers, foresters, eco-tourism professionals and Rainforest Alliance’s field experts, who are helping to conserve our planet for their children and future generations. They are delighted to be a part of the celebration and honor many outstanding environmental leaders and forward-thinking companies.


Forest canopy - photo by Sergio Izquierdo

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