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Interactive Version: https://www.rainforest-alliance.org/annual-report

5 Million +

hectares of global farmland certified against our sustainability standards

100 +

projects directly benefiting farmers, forest communities, and nature

2 million

hectares of land covered by integrated landscape management programs


products with the Rainforest Alliance Certified™ seal or UTZ label available for purchase

2 million +

certified farmers following our standards, designed to improve livelihoods and protect the environment

About (https://www.rainforest-alliance.org/about)

The Rainforest Alliance is an international non-profit organization working at the intersection of business, agriculture, and forests to make responsible business the new normal. We are building an alliance to protect forests, improve the livelihoods of farmers and forest communities, promote their human rights, and help them mitigate and adapt to the climate crisis.

FoRewoRd FRom the BoARd chAiR

We Grow Together

From our start in Central America more than 30 years ago, we've built an alliance that includes farmers and forest communities, companies, and consumers—all of us working together to conserve critically important forests and cultivate more sustainable livelihoods. Today, we have sustainable agriculture training and certification, as well as landscape projects, in more than 70 countries around the globe. Our cocoa, tea, and banana certification programs are the largest in the world.


The year 2019 drove the urgency of our climate crisis to the forefront of global public awareness. Only a hermit living on the remotest mountaintop could have avoided the news that average global temperatures reached the second highest levels on record; that droughts around the world brought one-fourth of humanity dangerously close to running out of water; or that millions of schoolchildren were striking weekly for their right to a livable future. And then in late July, man-made fires engulfed massive swaths of the Amazon before our very eyes, ravaging Indigenous communities and stealing away one of the world’s most vital carbon stores.

The fires were a devastating planetary setback that could have pushed even the most optimistic among us to give up hope. Yet remarkably, the opposite happened. The fires incited an unprecedented outcry across the globe—and a massive crisis mobilization by members of our alliance far and wide. Together, we raised USD $1.2 million for frontline organizations across Brazil, Peru, and Colombia. The groups in this new Amazon alliance worked together to coordinate their emergency response and continue to share information in preparation for the next fire season. One positive outcome of the tragedy is a heightened global awareness of the importance of rainforests and biodiversity, and the ongoing threats to their very existence. Accordingly, we intensified our efforts to educate the broader public about the destructive cycle of poverty, unsustainable agriculture, human rights abuses, and deforestation—the very challenges that led to the birth of the Rainforest Alliance more than 30 years ago.

Since then, as activists have built critically important action networks to mount sustained pressure campaigns, we have created an alliance of farming and forest communities, companies, and consumers to transform destructive systems from within. All along, our approach has centered rural communities in vulnerable production landscapes. After all, the health of an ecosystem and the well-being of those who live in and around it are inseparable.   Our capacity to accelerate positive systemic change grew immensely in 2019, the second year after the merger between the Rainforest Alliance and UTZ.

The successful integration of these two organizations is a remarkable accomplishment that we attribute, with deepest gratitude, to Han de Groot, who skillfully led this complex process during his two-year tenure as CEO of the newly merged organization. The achievements outlined in this report are a testament to how Han’s leadership enhanced our mission, our strategy, and the effectiveness of our talented and deeply passionate staff.

As an organization we are focused on achieving systemic change, which means, in part, making responsible business the “new normal.” Achieving this goal requires nothing less than a major paradigm shift—one that has finally begun to take hold—supported by clear pathways and benchmarks to guide businesses in an accelerated journey to sustainability. In 2019, we published the Accountability Framework in partnership with several leading environmental and human rights organizations; the framework serves as a roadmap for companies seeking to eliminate deforestation and human rights abuses from their supply chains.

The Accountability Framework has become an important element of our corporate advisory work with companies to help them achieve their sustainability goals.

Independent, third-party certification has proven to be one of the mostpowerful tools available to motivate widespread change across supply chains and production landscapes. Our decades of experience have shown us that a good system must adapt to changing conditions in business, as well as on the ground. We worked throughout the year to draft our new, unified standard—the first step in our journey to reimagine certification. Our certification and assurance experts convened two rounds of extensive public consultation with companies, farm groups, and others who play important roles in global supply chains; their efforts will culminate in the publication of our new standard in June 2020. In our experience, certification is most effective as part of a broader effort to cultivate thriving and sustainable rural economies across vulnerable landscapes. Throughout the year, we supported farm groups and forest communities in implementing land management strategies that address common concerns affecting their livelihoods and community well-being, such as watershed conservation. We also developed technology for better farming. Our newly expanded FarmGrow initiative, for example, uses mobile devices to deliver individualized farming plans to thousands of cocoa farmers to help them increase their yields as much as three-fold.

The success of all our efforts is greatly enhanced by favorable policies. Our advocacy team works to advance legislation and policies that support farming and forest communities. In Guatemala, for example, we partnered with local groups on a national advocacy effort that yielded a major success in 2019: a 25-year extension contract for the first of nine community forest concessions. These concessions, managed cooperatively by our longtime partner communities in the Maya Biosphere Reserve, have achieved near-zero deforestation and net forest recovery—in tandem with a thriving rural economy. Throughout the year, our advocacy team continued its ongoing local, regional, and international advocacy efforts to advance sustainable forest management, foster shared responsibility across supply chains, and enable climate resilience and economic stability for rural producers.

We share these achievements, along with many others detailed in the following pages, to remind you that despite the overwhelming challenges our world is facing, you are part of a global alliance of visionaries working to create a better future. Your support has helped make all of these accomplishments possible. Together, and only together, we can create a world where people and nature thrive in harmony.


Position: Co -Founder of ENGAGE,a new social venture for the promotion of volunteerism and service and Ideator of Sharing4Good

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