Labels What Do They Mean: Rainforest Alliance

As continued consumer interest grows in shopping in a more environmentally conscious way, non-profit organizations and companies are developing “seals of approval”  for things that are evaluated and found to pass the organizations test. As part of a series on this blog I am going to tell you what most of them are so you know what you are buying.

Rainforest Alliance Certified Seal

The Rainforest Alliance is a non-profit organization dedicated to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices and consumer behavior. They created the certification seal to show consumers that the products they are buying adhere to their strict standards that meet their mission.

This information is directly from the Rainforest Alliance website:

What is Rainforest Alliance certification?
Certification, as defined by the Rainforest Alliance, is a conservation tool whereby an independent, third party awards a seal of approval guaranteeing consumers that the products they are buying are the result of practices carried out according to a specific set of criteria balancing ecological, economic and social considerations.

What is the goal of Rainforest Alliance certification?
As a growing human population impacts ecosystems around the world, we see certification as an increasingly important tool for driving continual positive change. It provides an effective method for ensuring that natural resources are managed for the long term. Certification offers land users and businesses guidance on producing goods and providing services according to practical, efficient practices that will not deplete resources or negatively impact the environment or local communities. And through the purchase of certified products, it gives consumers the choice to “vote with their dollars” — to influence corporate commitment to sustainability.

What does the certification process entail?
At the request of a resource user, such as a forest or farm manager, or a tour boat operator, a multidisciplinary team of Rainforest Alliance experts may conduct a “scoping.” This preassessment is designed to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the operation and to outline the steps needed to bring its management practices into compliance with our standards, which are detailed, comprehensive, objective and verifiable.

When a manager feels that an operation is up to par, he or she may request an inspection or “assessment,” where a team of Rainforest Alliance-trained specialists measures compliance with the standards. The team writes a report, which is evaluated by an independent, voluntary committee of outside experts (i.e. peer reviewed), and — based on the team’s recommendations and peer review comments — the Rainforest Alliance decides whether or not to award its seal of approval to the operation. Operations that fail the test may continue making improvements and apply again when ready. Once the standards are met, the operation is permitted to display the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal.

The Rainforest Alliance offers certification in foresty, agriculture, tourism, and carbon services.  You can find products with this label in stores all over the world and you will know that it has gone through a rigrious assement to get that “seal of approval.”

To learn more about the Rainforest Alliance go to:

http://www.rainforest-alliance.org

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