What Does "Rainforest Alliance Certified" Mean?
The Rainforest Alliance seal promotes collective action for people and nature. It amplifies and reinforces the beneficial impacts of responsible choices, from farms and forests all the way to the supermarket check-out. The seal allows you to recognize and choose products that contribute toward a better future for people and planet.
When you see our little frog seal on a product, you're probably aware that it signifies something positive. But have you ever wanted to know more about what's behind the seal—and exactly how choosing a product bearing the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal helps people and nature thrive in harmony?
The Rainforest Alliance Certification Program
The seal means that the certified product or ingredient was produced using methods that support the three pillars of sustainability: social, economic, and environmental. Independent, third-party auditors—critical to the integrity of any certification program—evaluate farmers against requirements in all three areas before awarding or renewing certification. Our data-informed certification programs emphasize a commitment to continuous improvement, sustainability training, and clear benefits for farmers.
Our standards focus on the following themes:
- Forests: These ecological powerhouses are critical to the survival of every living thing on Earth. Our training and certification programs promote best practices for protecting standing forests, preventing the expansion of cropland into forests; fostering the health of trees, soils, and waterways; and protecting native forests.
- Climate: Standing forests are a powerful natural climate solution. Our certification programs promote responsible land management methods that increase carbon storage while avoiding deforestation, which fuels greenhouse gas emissions. The climate-smart practices embedded in our agricultural training and certification programs help farmers to build resilience to droughts, flooding, and erosion.
- Human Rights: Certification advances the rights of rural people. Although no certification program can provide a guarantee against human rights abuses, our standard and assurance systems provide robust strategies for assessing and addressing child labor, forced labor, poor working conditions, low wages, gender inequality, and the violation of Indigenous land rights. Independent studies demonstrate that workers on certified farms are more likely to have better working conditions, personal protective gear, and labor protections.
- Livelihoods: Our approach is based on the understanding that ecosystem health and the economic stability of rural communities are mutually dependent. Improving sustainable livelihood opportunities for smallholder farmers and forest communities is the most effective way to lift rural people out of poverty, and certification has proven to bring measurable financial benefits to farmers and forest communities around the world.
Why the frog?
Frogs are what scientists call bioindicators—meaning that a healthy population of frogs indicates a healthy environment (the reverse is also true). The Rainforest Alliance chose the red-eyed tree frog as its mascot more than thirty years ago, as this bright-eyed amphibian is commonly found in the neotropics, where our founders first started working to protect tropical rainforests. Since then, our frog seal has become an international symbol of sustainability.
WHICH SUSTAINABILITY STANDARDS DOES OUR FROG REPRESENT?
- Agricultural products: The Rainforest Alliance seal means that the product or specified ingredient was grown on farms certified to the Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Agriculture Standard and/or the UTZ Code of Conduct. For herbs and spices, we recognize the Union for Ethical Biotrade (UEBT) standard, combined with additional requirements from the Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Agriculture Standard.
- Forestry products: On forestry products, such as paper and cardboard packaging, our seal means that the product or package is sourced from forests certified to the standard of the Forest Stewardship Council®, of which the Rainforest Alliance is a founding member. And, that the business applying the seal is a member of our Forest Allies Initiative.
- Tourism businesses: Tourism businesses like hotels and tour operators may use our little green frog when they achieve certification according to Preferred by Nature's (formerly NEPCon) Sustainable Tourism Standard, recognized by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. Visit our Green Your Vacation page to find Rainforest Alliance Certified tourism businesses.
HOW MUCH OF A PRODUCT BEARING THE FROG SEAL IS CERTIFIED? WHAT IS MASS BALANCE?
Learn more about the percentage of certified ingredients required in various seal-bearing products, and about "mass balance"—and most importantly, about how this system helps companies, farmers, and consumers advance on their journeys to sustainability.