Recent reporting from the Rainforest Alliance has shown real gains in their work and progress to save the rainforest. Overall, their work has shown measurable growth on a global scale, in agriculture, sustainable forestry, tourism, environmental education and climate change. Their president, Tensie Wheland, has explained that companies and consumers together are embracing the Rainforest Alliance’s certification programme, leading to sustainable business models and the protection of natural resources.
Some of the key milestones for 2011 were a 200% plus increase in certified agricultural producers and an additional 500 companies selling and buying certified products. This included a threefold increase in tea production under the certification scheme, which now represents an encouraging 9.4% of global tea production. Certified coffee also grew 20% in production, with sales rising by 13% and major companies increasingly committing to sustainable sourcing practices.
Another great win was a 75% increase in certified cocoa and many of the major production brands are now starting to promote the Rainforest Alliance’s seal of protection, demonstrating their commitment to rainforest protection. South African rooibos and Madagascan vanilla also now both bear this seal.
Other positive signs of progress include Mattel Toys joining the Alliance’s sustainable sourcing list, 1.1 million land hectares achieving Alliance Certification for farming and assistance for 150 indigenous and small forestry operations. Great gains in education were also achieved at both school, consumer, corporate and policy maker level.
It’s great to reflect on success as we continue to raise awareness on the rainforest and the need for greater environmental protection. So these figures are a welcome boost in a long journey of change. It will be very interesting to see how 2012 fares, particularly as the impacts of the dampened economy play out, testing the resolve of economies and big corporates to truly commit to greener operating practices.