For a business to achieve long-term sustainability as well as economic viability, the communities and local economies in which it is embedded must see benefits too. For this reason, our approach is designed to boost local economic development.
Sustainable businesses purchase local goods and services, hire locally, offer training and other outreach programs that contribute to local workforce development and promote prosperity in their local economies. In turn, the financial success of these communities creates the kind of healthy economic environment that helps lift responsible companies even higher.
Sustainable Tourism is an Engine of Local Development
When our researchers followed the money trail from five sustainable tourism businesses in Granada, Nicaragua, they found that for each dollar that visitors spent at these businesses, another $1.58 was spent elsewhere in the city, touching virtually all sectors of Granada’s economy and generating significant tax revenue. Our study also found that 96 percent of the businesses’ employees were local people, and 34 percent of the money paid to suppliers went to local companies.
Certified Forests Support Local Jobs and Industry
Pennsylvania’s 2.2 million acres (890,000 hectares) of state-owned forestland has been FSC/Rainforest Alliance Certified since 1998. In 2011 the state’s forestry bureau contracted the sustainable harvesting of 12,000 acres (4,850 hectares) of timber, representing an approximate value of $26 million. The harvested timber supplied the raw materials for an estimated $425 million in private-sector economic activity, helping to support local jobs and industry.
Forestry Cooperatives Keep Money and Jobs Within the Community
After Hurricane Felix devastated northern Nicaragua in 2007, the Rainforest Alliance began working with 30 local communities that comprised more than 2,000 people, helping them establish seven new forestry cooperatives that operate sustainably and keep community members employed in their own villages. We also facilitated the acquisition of equipment and trained community members in value-added processing to increase their income.