In Print and Online

Category: Certification and sustainable production


Title: Halting Deforestation and Achieving Sustainability

Organization: Rainforest Alliance

Date: 2015

Language: English, Spanish

Number of pages: 9

Eco-Index Summary: This documents highlights that now is a critical moment to pause and consider how the current attention to “deforestation-free” sourcing can support the broader goal of protecting Earth’s natural ecosystems while sustaining a growing population and supporting equitable development. As deforestation-related commitments and claims proliferate, there is the risk of confusion, greenwashing, and the loss of precious time. But, if these commitments are fully honored, effectively implemented, and strategically augmented, they can contribute to sustainability at unprecedented scale. How can we collectively set ourselves on the right path?


Title: Deforestation Trends in the Maya Biosphere Reserve, Guatemala (2000 - 2013)

Organization: Rainforest Alliance, International; Consejo Nacional de Áreas Protegidas (CONAP), Guatemala; Wildlife Conservation Society, International

Date: 2015

Language: English, Spanish

Number of pages: 5

Eco-Index Summary: Covering close to 2.1 million hectares, Guatemala’s Maya Biosphere Reserve (MBR) is the largest protected area in Central America and home to about 180,000 people, as well as globally important biodiversity and cultural heritage. This report by the Rainforest Alliance, CONAP and the Wildlife Conservation Society analyzes deforestation trends in the MBR during 2000-2013 and finds that the deforestation rate was close to zero during this period in active FSC-certified concessions. The paper concludes that FSC-certified forest management has effectively conserved forest cover in about a quarter of the MBR, while also producing significant socioeconomic benefits for local communities--and that community concessions can conserve forest at least as well as protected areas.


Title: A Roadmap to Responsible Soy: Approaches to increase certification and reduce risk

Organization: KPMG International; World Wildlife Fund (WWF); Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH); Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO); International Finance Corporation (IFC)

Date: June 2013

Language: English

Number of pages: 23

Eco-Index summary: Soy, one of the world's most important and profitable crops, is also one of the most controversial—due in large part to mass cultivation in Brazil, where soy farming has led to deforestation of the Amazon. Other top soy exporters include Argentina and the United States. Soy production is predicted to soar over the next ten years, and less than 3% of global production is currently certified as sustainable. This report identifies unsustainable soy farming practices, including ecological degradation and poor labor conditions, and presents four key barriers to mainstreaming responsible soy production such as low market demand for certified soy and cost of certification. It then lays out an action plan to drive the growth of certified soy in addition to recommendations for end-user companies (food, animal feed, and biofuel manufacturers) to develop an effective response strategy.


Title: Protecting Our Planet: Redesigning Land-Use and Business Practices

Organization: Rainforest Alliance

Date: September 2012

Language: English

Number of pages: 72

Eco-Index summary: Twenty-five years after its founding, the Rainforest Alliance has released an impact report demonstrating the effect its work in the agricultural, forestry, and tourism sectors has had on the environment, social standards, and economic viability. The report incorporates dozens of impact studies conducted over the past two-and-a-half decades to assess the Rainforest Alliance's model of sustainable land-use practices and supply chains. The findings state that 4.7 million people are directly impacted and 70 million hectares of land are being protected due to the organization's global work. Furthermore, positive results have been achieved in protecting biodiversity and waterways; promoting labor rights and worker health; engaging communities; increasing economic viability for sustainable farmers, foresters, and tourism business owners; and raising consumer awareness.


Title: Toward Sustainability: The Roles and Limitations of Certification

Organization: Steering Committee of the State-of-Knowledge Assessment of Standards and Certification

Date: June 27, 2012

Language: English

Number of pages: 115

Eco-Index summary: A 12-member Steering Committee composed of international business and civil society leaders and academic experts released this state-of-knowledge assessment that describes what is known and what is most important to learn about the performance and potential of voluntary standards and certification. The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation, and Mars, Incorporated, initiated and funded the consensus-based process that led to this report. The authors sought to determine if certified products are really better for the environment and communities, if they can they catalyze more sustainable production and consumption across whole sectors, and under what circumstances they promote sustainable practices. The authors found that voluntary standards and certification are most effective as part of a suite of integrated public and private sustainability tools. The report concludes with recommendations that actors engaged in certification redouble their efforts to improve the effectiveness of these tools, give more attention to designing them to work in concert with other approaches, and work together to research the impacts of certification and alternative or complementary approaches.


Title: The Contribution of Rainforest Alliance/Forest Stewardship Council Certification to the Conservation of World Heritage Sites

Authors: Deanna Newsom, David Hughell

Organization: Rainforest Alliance

Date: May 12, 2011

Language: English

Number of pages: 8

Eco-Index summary: Since 1972, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has designated 911 properties of outstanding cultural or natural significance as World Heritage Sites. Originally written for the UNESCO World Heritage Centre's "State of Conservation of World Heritage Forests" publication, this report details how Rainforest Alliance/Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification of forests has contributed to the conservation of natural World Heritage sites, which are characterized by exceptional natural beauty and/or outstanding biodiversity. The purpose of this report is to explore the relationship between natural World Heritage sites and FSC-certified forests and to describe the potential contribution of certified forestry to the integrity of World Heritage sites. The authors first describe their evaluation methodology, and then discuss in detail the following sites: Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks and Waterton Glacier International Peace Park, Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve, Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra, Sikhote-Alin Nature Preserve, and Tikal National Park. The report concludes that the future potential for forest certification to enhance the functionality and integrity of World Heritage sites seems high, and that the benefits of certified forestry will likely extend beyond the operation's boundaries and into nearby forests and communities.


Title: Impact of FSC Forest Certification on Agroextractive Communities of the State of Acre, Brazil

Authors: Ana Carolina B. de Lima, André Luiz Novaes Keppe, Marcelo Corréa Alves, Rodrigo Fernando Maule, and Gerd Sparovek

Organization: Instituto de Manejo e Certificação Florestal e Agrícola (IMAFLORA)

Date: 2008

Language: English

Number of pages: 130

Eco-Index summary: In addition to analyzing the effects of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification programs on communities in Acre, Brazil, this comprehensive report provides background information on the history of forest certification in Brazil, the elements involved in community forest management, the history of forest activities in the state of Acre, and a characterization of the region's extractive communities. The report concludes that the impact of FSC forest certification actions in Acre communities was low. However, this low impact is likely because the various government and non-government entities encouraging community forest management in Acre have created an atmosphere that produces positive effects similar to those derived from certification procedures.


Title: Impact of Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) Certification on Coffee Farms: Case Study in the Southern Region and Cerrado Areas of the State of Minas Gerais, Brazil

Authors: Ana Carolina B. de Lima, Andre Luiz Novaes Keppe, Roberto Palmieri, Marcelo Correa Alves, Rodrigo Fernando Maule, and Gerd Sparovek

Organization: Instituto de Manejo e Certificação Florestal e Agrícola (IMAFLORA)

Date: 2008

Language: English

Number of pages: 53

Eco-Index summary: In order to determine the effectiveness of Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) certification procedures on Brazilian coffee farms, the NGO IMAFLORA performed an impact assessment study that analyzed 16 different coffee farms, half of which were Rainforest Alliance Certified and half of which were not. The study examined farms in two different regions within the State of Minas Gerais, and featured methods including field observations, interviews with farm owners and workers, and satellite image analysis. The report concluded that although further, more "robust" research should be conducted, SAN certification has had a positive impact on the coffee producing operations in regards to a variety of important social and environmental issues.


Title: Estudio sobre los mercados de valor para el cacao nacional de origen y con certificaciones (Study on Value-Added Markets for Certified Cocoa in Ecuador)

Author: Claudi Radi

Organizations: Royal Netherlands Embassy in Ecuador, Corporación de Promoción de Exportaciones e Inversiones de Ecuador (CORPEI), GTZ, and Biocomercio Sostenible

Date: July 2005

Language: Spanish

Number of pages: 75

Eco-Index summary: The global confections market was valued at $73.2 billion in 2001 with a 4 percent annual increase from 1996 and 2001. This study examines potential markets for Ecuadorian cacao that is certified organic, fair trade, and Rainforest Alliance Certified. It focuses on the premium Arriba chocolates and its by-products, as well as specialty markets for high quality products.

The study presents market entry strategies, steps to form business-to-business alliances, and accounts of successful ventures. It also includes a summary manual on how to carry out market studies for bio-trade businesses and details on market chains, characteristics of the buyers, prices, competitors, distribution channels, cacao products within the marketplace, and opportunities for cacao from Ecuador.