When you see our little frog seal on a product, you're probably aware that it means something positive. But have you ever wanted to know more about what's behind the seal - and exactly how choosing a product that bears the Rainforest Alliance-certified seal helps people and nature thrive in harmony?
The Rainforest Alliance Certification Program
The seal means that the certified product or ingredient was produced using methods that support the three pillars of sustainability: social, economic, and environmental. Independent third-party auditors - critical to the integrity of any certification program - assess farmers against the requirements of all three areas before granting or renewing certification. Our data-based certification programs emphasize our commitment to continuous improvement, sustainability training, and clear benefits for farmers and for coffee production.
Our standards focus on the following topics:
- Forests: These ecological powers are essential for the survival of every living thing on Earth. Our training and certification programs promote best practices for the protection of standing forests, preventing the expansion of cropland into forests; promoting the health of trees, soils, and waterways; and protecting native forests.
- Climate: Standing forests are a strong natural climate solution. Our certification programs promote responsible land management methods that increase carbon storage while avoiding deforestation, which fuels greenhouse gas emissions. Smart climate practices built into our agricultural training and certification programs help farmers build drought, flood, and erosion resistance.
- Human Rights: Certification promotes the rights of people in rural areas. Although no certification program can provide a guarantee against human rights violations, our standards, and insurance systems offer sound strategies for assessing and addressing child labor, forced labor, poor working conditions, low wages, gender inequality, and violation of indigenous rights to land. Independent studies show that workers on certified farms are more likely to have better working conditions, personal protective equipment, and safety at work.
- Livelihoods: Our approach is based on understanding that the health of the ecosystem and the economic stability of rural communities are mutually dependent. Improving sustainable living opportunities for small farmers and forest communities is the most effective way to lift rural people out of poverty, and certification has been shown to bring measurable financial benefits to farmers and forest communities around the world.
Why the frog?
Frogs are what scientists call bioindicators - which means that a healthy population of frogs indicates a healthy environment (the reverse is also true). The Rainforest Alliance chose the red-eyed tree frog as its mascot more than thirty years ago because this bright-eyed amphibian is commonly found in the Neotropics, where our founders began working to protect tropical rainforests. Since then, our frog seal has become an international symbol of sustainability.