At a local coffee house recently, I noticed a cute little green frog. Not an actual frog (that would have been alarming beside my Mocha Latte), but a certification seal on a sign. It accompanied the proud announcement that they served only “Rainforest Alliance Certified” coffee beans.
The frog looked familiar, I’ve seen it showing up in other areas and on product labels, so I did some research to find out it’s significance. I was so happy that I did. The frog is a seal that comes from The Rainforest Alliance, and it indicates that the contents of the package were grown on sustainably managed farms. What does that have to do with recycling? Everything!
Consumers around the globe recognize the little green frog as a symbol of environmental, social and economic sustainability. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Rainforest Alliance. With an annual operating budget of $30 million and operations in 66 countries, they are a significant force for positive change, with a true global reach. The Rainforest Alliance (www.rainforest-alliance.org) is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices and consumer behavior.
The organization started with forest conservation in mind and moved into the agricultural industry, first with bananas. Chiquita currently produces 85% of their bananas with the Rainforest Alliance Certified methods, even though they don’t market the seal on their products yet.
You can already find the little frog in many places, so be on the lookout for him, knowing your purchase is helping to promote good farming practices and protecting the rights and wellbeing of farm workers. The company helps workers transform the way they grow food, harvest wood and host travelers. They make sure all workers are paid fair wages and have access to quality education and healthcare and no child labor is allowed.
The conservation methods used by the Rainforest Alliance include composting and recycling waste, and they help protect the forests and wildlife. They established the Forest Stewardship Council, another symbol to look for (FSC) when buying wood products and paper products. They are dedicated to conserving forests and logging in a responsible manner. The Rainforest Alliance has set the standard for all corporations to follow, to insure a more sustainable future for our children.
You can already ‘follow the frog’ at a store near you, finding him on labels such as Lipton Tea, Newman’s Own Chocolate, Mars Cocoa and even on some cosmetics and cleaners. Caribou Coffee, WalMart, Target, Whole Foods, Sam’s Club, Costco, McDonalds, P.F. Chang’s, Goldman Sachs, The Waldorf Astoria, Holiday Inn, Marriott, SeaWorld, Hilton, Hyatt and others have incorporated Rainforest Alliance products.
Think of your shopping choices as enormous decisions. Every time you choose a product, hotel or piece of furniture, you can help the recycling effort, protect rainforests, wildlife and riverbanks. By making a conscious effort to follow the frog, you are making an immediate difference around the globe.