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Source: Rainforest Alliance

Did you know that 70% of New Zealanders look for labels that ensure their choices are better for the environment or ensure higher animal welfare? And 67% would make eco-conscious choices, even if it is more expensive. These New Zealand sustainability insights and trends come from the Colmar-Brunton Better Futures 2020 report outlining the top concerns for New Zealand consumers in 2020, and it’s clear consumers are demanding more sustainable food options too.

Rainforest Alliance better for people and nature

The good news is that the Rainforest Alliance’s seal, the green frog, helps New Zealand consumers make choices that are better for them, for people, and for nature. And behind this seal, consumers have the confidence that there is a certified programme that is continually enhanced.

The Rainforest Alliance works with more than two million farmers around the world to produce better crops, adapt to climate change, increase their productivity, and reduce costs.  In line with this commitment, the Rainforest Alliance has recently enhanced its certification programme to support farmers and help businesses to source more sustainable agricultural products through a stronger focus on continuous improvement, transparency and shared responsibility.

The new Rainforest Alliance certification programme has a stronger focus on measuring continuous improvement to help farmers and companies identify and mitigate sustainability risks and build resilience while addressing climate change and tackling deforestationIt introduces a range of innovations including supporting farmers to adopt climate-smart agricultural practices focusing on adaptation and resilience, and protection of more natural ecosystems, including forests, wetlands and peatlands, for more land to be protected and managed sustainably.  The Rainforest Alliance is also using innovative technologies to monitor deforestation risk and develop strategies to address it.

Providing sustainable agricultural products isn’t only about practices on the farm. In the new certification programme buyers will have to reward producers for meeting sustainable agriculture standards by paying a mandatory ‘sustainability differential’  an additional cash payment over and above the market price for the sale of certified crops. Buyers will also need to provide investments to support producers to achieve their sustainability objectives and be transparent about those. Companies in the supply chain identified as having a high risk of negative social and environmental impacts will also need to implement improved practices, including ensuring decent working conditions and labour protections as well as wastewater management.

“The new certification programme incorporates new tools to support farmers and companies to set clear sustainability targets and focus investments to improve positive impacts for people and nature,” says Ruth Rennie, Director of Standards and Assurance at the Rainforest Alliance. “These tools and innovations will support more resilient agriculture and help make responsible business the new normal. This is increasingly urgent in our age of climate change, biodiversity loss, and global inequality,” she added. 

Independent research shows that certification has a positive environmental, social, and economic impact. Credible third-party certification systems enable businesses to demonstrate their commitment to tackling deforestation, protecting natural resources, and contributing towards a living income and decent work for producers and workers across the world.

Rainforest Alliance seal here in New Zealand

The Rainforest Alliance proudly works with several iconic New Zealand local brands such as Whittaker’s chocolate, Red Seal tea and Ti Ora – all founded in here in Aotearoa. In fact, if you check your pantry, you might find other certified products including favourite Kiwi household brands such as Moccona, Milo, Dole bananas and pineapples (available in New World and PAK’nSAVE), as well as Countdown’s own-branded bananas and chocolate products. You may also have spotted the frog seal on your coffee-on-the-go from McCafé.

Fast facts:

·          Brands that demonstrate clear sustainable benefits are winning consumers over (48% of consumers switched to a more sustainable brand option).

·          Consumers want companies (and government) to take leadership and show the way (and majority is prepared to pay for it):

o    83% agree businesses aren’t doing enough to reduce environmental impact

o    70% look for claims/labels that choices I make are environmentally/animal friendly

o    67% will make eco-conscious choices, even if more expensive.

·          Companies with a clearly demonstrated commitment to sustainability outperform others.

·          Environmental/sustainability topics on mind: reuse, reduce, recycle, manage waste, locally sourced ingredients.

·          The Rainforest Alliance has:

  • over five million hectares of global farmland certified against its sustainability standards 
  • more than 100 projects directly benefiting farmers, forest communities, and nature 
  • two million hectares of land covered by integrated landscape management programmes 
  • 44,000 products with the Rainforest Alliance Certified™ seal or UTZ label available 
  • over two million farmers following Rainforest Alliance standards, designed to improve livelihoods and protect nature 
  • more than 400,000 certified coffee farmers; 900k+ certified cocoa farmers; 900k+ certified tea farmers; 2,000+ certified banana farmers 

About the Rainforest Alliance

The Rainforest Alliance is an international non-profit organisation working in more than 70 countries at the intersection of business, agriculture, and forests. The organisation is creating a more sustainable world by using social and market forces to protect nature and improve the lives of farmers and forest communities. By bringing farmers, forest communities, companies, and consumers together, it addresses some of the most pressing social and environmental challenges of today. The organisation changes the way the world produces, sources, and consumes, with a focus on cocoa, coffee, tea, bananas, forest products, and palm oil through its certification programme, tailored supply chain services, landscape and community work, and advocacy. In 2019, more than five million hectares of land and more than two million farmers were certified according to the Rainforest Alliance or UTZ standards, which are designed to improve economic, environmental, and social sustainability. The Rainforest Alliance works toward making responsible business the new normal through our certification programme, landscape and community work, tailored supply chain services, and advocacy. The Rainforest Alliance believes that certification is one tool among many; it works best when tailored to meet farmers’ needs and when supported by long-term commitments from all actors in the supply chain.