For nearly 20 years our little green frog has been leaping around appearing on our logo and certification seal, popping up on tea boxes, coffee jars and wood products all over the world. Well, our little green friend has just taken a leap in a new direction, onto a Rainforest Alliance verification mark. This new mark recognises businesses and projects that have achieved significant and measurable sustainability milestones. The new mark is awarded to forest carbon projects and tourism and certain forestry enterprises that meet standards developed by the Rainforest Alliance itself or by other organisations with which we are aligned.
When consumers or businesses see the new Rainforest Alliance verification mark, they can be sure that a particular enterprise or project — whether it be a hotel, carbon-offset project or company selling wood products — has complied with strong standards for sound management that benefits the environment and communities.
An example of how the mark will be used in forestry is the verification of the legality of wood sources, which is particularly important since illegal logging throughout the world continues to undermine efforts to promote social equity, environmental conservation and sustainable economic growth in many nations. We have developed standards for verification of legality to respond to a growing need for companies to provide assurances — to customers, owners, investors and the general public — that answer questions about the legal status of timber sources.
Hotels and tour operators that meet Rainforest Alliance sustainable tourism requirements, which follow the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria, can also earn the right to display the verification mark on brochures or advertisements. Carbon credit projects verified by the Rainforest Alliance to standards such as the Voluntary Carbon Standard can also use the mark on their Web sites, for example, so that consumers know that greenhouse gas sequestration promoted by the project has been credibly demonstrated.
For nearly 20 years the Rainforest Alliance Certified™ seal has been used to designate farms and forestlands that meet the rigorous, third-party standards of the Sustainable Agriculture Network or the Forest Stewardship Council. These standards for environmental, social and economic sustainability are developed through an independent, participatory process. The standards of the Sustainable Agriculture Network and the Forest Stewardship Council are rigorous and transparent, and we continue to believe that achieving independent, third-party certification of sustainability efforts should be the goal of every responsible enterprise.
Along the road to sustainability there are, however, other significant and measurable milestones not yet recognised by third-party certifications. We believe consumers deserve to know which businesses are making long-lasting differences to this planet’s well being.
The new verification mark can be used only on off-product marketing and public-information materials, such as Web sites, brochures and advertisements, never on products. As with the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal, all usages of the verification mark must be approved by the Rainforest Alliance prior to publication.