MEDIA ALERT & INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITIES for May 16, 2012
Evidence that Markets, Consumers and the Planet Are Noticing the Impacts of Sustainability Certification
WHAT? Sustainability certification schemes have clearly raised the profile of sustainable supply chains, reaching producers, communities, companies and consumers virtually everywhere. But what has been the real impact on consumer choice and the global economy? To air the evidence that sustainability certification is achieving its goals, on May 16 the Rainforest Alliance  presents the daylong workshop “Sustainability and Certification Impacts.” Leading executives, producers and sustainability experts from around the world will gather in
WHO? The following business leaders, commodity producers, branding experts and sustainability leaders are among the presenters and panelists at the May 16 workshop, and are also available for side interviews.
- Lee Ballin, Sustainability Manager, Bloomberg
- Monique Barbut, CEO and Chairperson, Global Environment Facility
- Mike Barry, Sustainable Development Manager, Marks and Spencer Group Plc
- Mark Buckley, VP Environmental Affairs, Staples
- Francisco Bustamante, La Arboleda Community Mill
- Apsara Chapagain, The Federation of Community Forestry Users,
- John Gerzema, Executive Chairman of BrandAsset Consulting
- Kurt Holle, Posada Amazonas lodge by Rainforest Expeditions
- Nathalie Ritchie, Senior Manager, Sustainability & Ethical Supply Chain, Kraft Foods
- Roo Rogers, President, Redscout Ventures
- Leonardo Sorice, Fazendas Reunidas Vale do Juliana SA
- Kip Walk, Cocoa Director, Blommer Chocolate Company
- Tensie Whelan, President of the Rainforest
- An executive TBA of ECOM Trading
WHEN & WHERE? The
WHY? The Rainforest Alliance has been certifying sustainable farms and forest operations and verifying tourism businesses and forest-based climate projects for 25 years. In that time, the certification movement has grown rapidly and helped make the goal of sustainability much more salient and familiar to consumers and companies than a generation ago. But global population and general consumer demand are also growing rapidly, and analysts have wondered aloud whether certification can bring the goal within reach. Some ask whether we can shop our way to it through “green consumerism ,” whether certification regimes are benefiting poor producers  who most need help, and whether the sustainable certification movement can make enough of a difference to the planet  to make global-scale economic activity sustainable.
The Rainforest Alliance is marshalling the evidence that it can. Certification’s impacts are complex, global, decentralized and costly and difficult to measure against a hypothetical business-as-usual trajectory. But Rainforest Alliance certification and verification represent a body of 25 years of work in over 100 countries with clear large-scale impacts and well delineated future trends. They include far-reaching changes in production and land use practices, supply chains and business practices, as well as rapid growth in consumer awareness of and demand for sustainable brands.
For foresters and farmers worldwide, certified operation is reducing costs, increasing efficiency and raising incomes -- most dramatically in poor countries like