Newsletter Stories

Saturday, 15 March 2003
Rainforest Alliance

Partner Profile

The Rainforest Alliance (RA) is a leading international conservation organization whose mission is to protect endangered ecosystems and the people and wildlife that live within them by transforming land-use practices, business practices, and consumer behavior. Companies, cooperatives, and landowners that participate in their programs meet rigorous standards for protecting the environment, wildlife, workers, and local communities.

The Rainforest Alliance pioneered forestry certification in 1989 with the launch of SmartWood, the world’s first sustainable forestry certification program, and was instrumental in founding the FSC. SmartWood was accredited by the FSC in 1996 and today is one of the most prolific certifiers of FSC forest management and chain-of-custody (COC) operations world-wide, with more than 18 million acres of land certified and more than 800 active COC certificates.

With the early success of its sustainable forestry program, the Rainforest Alliance moved quickly to engage other industries that impact landscapes, wildlife and communities worldwide. Recognizing that agriculture is a leading destroyer of wildlife habitat globally, a principle cause of flora and fauna extinction, and the largest user of fresh water, the Rainforest Alliance, along with several Latin American conservation organizations, developed the Sustainable Agriculture Network. Working with farmers, scientists, companies and local governments, the network partners developed social and environmental standards for farm practices. Today, the “Rainforest Alliance Certified" seal is on products including bananas, coffee, chocolate, citrus and cut flowers.

The Rainforest Alliance and its Ecuadorian partner Conservación y Desarrollo created the “Smart Voyager" certification program in the Galapagos Islands to promote sustainable tour boat operations in the region. The program awards its seal of approval to operators meeting a set of strict conservation standards that were designed with input from scientists, conservation experts and tour operators. The standards cover a host of environmental and social concerns, protecting against potential sources of pollution, setting rules for the sound management of docks and tour boats, and defending against opportunities for introducing alien species. Internationally, the Rainforest Alliance is leading the effort to develop a Sustainable Tourism Stewardship Council (STSC), a global accreditation body for sustainable tourism and ecotourism certifiers.

With more than 18,000 members and projects active in more than 40 countries, the Rainforest Alliance is recognized as a world leader in the successful design and implementation of conservation measures and methods. To learn more about the Rainforest Alliance, please visit