113,498,000 acres of farmland are grown under sustainable management

1,408,900 people are being trained in earth-friendly farming methods

$94,424,200 have been earned by indigenous and forest communities through sustainable forest and farming enterprises

How has all this been achieved?

It’s all the work of the Rainforest Alliance, a non-profit organisation battling the effects of climate change and deforestation. To achieve its goal, the Rainforest Alliance joined forces with the Sustainable Agricultural Network (of which the RSPB are members) to create the SAN Standard, a set of guidelines encouraging farms to focus on sustainability and wildlife to make this world a better place. The farms who meet the requirements of this standard are awarded the Rainforest Alliance Seal to display on their products.

This logo promises several things for us everyday shoppers:

  • The farm workers are all treated with respect - whilst this seems like a basic requirement, many farms in the third world treat their workers poorly, paying them almost nothing and enlisting child labour. However, farms with the RA logo pay their farmers fairly and offer them healthcare and education benefits.

  • Water is conserved and used wisely, and the certified farms never use fire to prepare new plots for production (which can be very detrimental), instead using organic fertilisers and ground cover vegetation.

  • Any waste from the farming process is reused or treated to minimise impact on the environment.

  • Farms record their energy usage and begin the slow process of relying more on renewable energy

  • Finally, these farms help conserve existing ecosystems by protecting wetlands from erosion and contamination and prohibiting deforestation of the surrounding forests.

This system is hugely beneficial but it can easily become out of date and lose its efficiency. New pesticides are introduced and different farming techniques are adopted, both of which can create loopholes in the Standard. To combat this problem, Rainforest Alliance and SAN have worked together to update the Standard. The main focus behind their efforts was on helping farmers start down the long road to sustainability, by offering different tiers (A, B, C etc.) to aim for.

So, how can you help the cause and further the progression of sustainability? Well, the simplest thing to do is to “Shop the Frog”.  Any shop with the little frog logo has passed the SAN Standard, meaning its practices are sustainable, ethical and trying to make a difference. There are thousands of brands with the Rainforest Alliance Seal: Lidl, Costa Coffee, Tesco, Tetley’s, and Lipton all have products with the Seal, and they’re just a few. So whilst we may not all be able to start our own sustainable farm, we can still do out part and support those who do. 

If you would like to read more about Rainforest Alliance, then please check out their new website: http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/

Rachel

Anonymous