New York – The Rainforest Alliance, an international sustainability nonprofit, is proud to announce the recipients of the 2013 Sustainable Standard-Setter Award, which will be presented at a gala event in New York City on May 15. The award honors businesses and individuals that champion conservation, protect the environment and support local communities.
“The Rainforest Alliance’s extensive on-the-ground impact, promoting environmental stewardship and social responsibility, is supported by new and ongoing collaborations with companies that have adopted our approach to sustainable management,” said Tensie Whelan, president of the Rainforest Alliance. “Our gala awards ceremony provides us with the opportunity to recognize businesses that have worked hard alongside us to drive sustainability in their respective industries.”
The 2013 Sustainable Standard-Setter honorees include:
- Barry Callebaut AG
- IndoTeak Design
- Kapawi Ecolodge & Reserve
- Kingfisher plc
- Olam International Ltd.
- Tata Global Beverages
2013 Gala Co-chairs:
Blommer Chocolate Company
2013 Gala Special Guests:
Deborah Cox – Singer, Actress
Gala honorees and co-chairs will gather on May 15 with business leaders and Rainforest Alliance staff representatives for a day-long, innovation-themed workshop where panelists and presenters will discuss ways in which certification and sustainability are reinventing the future of various industries, including food, forestry and tourism.Following the workshop, participants will gather at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City for an awards dinner, dancing and a silent auction.Gala proceeds benefit the Rainforest Alliance’s work in sustainable agriculture, forestry, tourism and climate change.
Achievements of the 2013 gala honorees:
AMResorts has six luxury resort brands spread across 32 properties in Mexico, Jamaica, Curaçao and the Dominican Republic catering to everyone from young families to honeymooners to adventure travelers. AMResorts has made impressive sustainability investments in local communities. “We want to be good neighbors and be an example for others in the industry,” explains Alex Zozaya, Apple Leisure Group CEO.
AMResorts’ sustainability initiatives include a number of wildlife conservation programs and enterprises designed to benefit local communities. Dreams Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa, for example, has released more than 300,000 baby turtles through its Dreaming of Freedom habitat protection program. At Dreams Puerto Aventuras Resort & Spa, jams and honeys produced by the neighboring Maya community are sold in a gift shop. And Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa cultivates entrepreneurialism among its staff through inviting employees to start their own on-site businesses, including a car wash, barber shop and convenience store.
Barry Callebaut AG
For more than 150 years, Barry Callebaut has been involved in every step of the chocolate manufacturing process–from sourcing cocoa to producing the finest chocolate. The world’s leading manufacturer of cocoa and chocolate products is committed to ensuring the sustainability of the cocoa sector. “We have a long history of engaging directly with farmers,” explains Juergen Steinemann, Barry Callebaut CEO. “Through our initiatives, we aim to find solutions to increase productivity and improve farmer livelihoods.”
In 2005 Barry Callebaut created its Quality Partner Program with cooperatives in Côte d’Ivoire to help train and support cocoa farmers to increase yields and quality and improve the livelihoods of farmers through higher income and improved access to education and basic health care. Since then, the company has expanded this program to Cameroon. Barry Callebaut continues to put farmers first through Cocoa Horizons, a 10-year global cocoa sustainability initiative focusing on farmer practices, education and health.
With the 2008 launch of IndoTeak Design, Frank and Amy Ragen have proven that necessity truly is the mother of invention. While constructing their Balinese-inspired home in California, the couple was dismayed to learn how difficult it was to obtain sustainably produced teak. IndoTeak Design purchases reclaimed teak at auction and uses it to craft flooring, paneling, mosaic tiles and decking. “Our reclaimed teak has already endured for many generations and has a rich history that deserves to be repurposed for another lifetime of use, providing beautiful products and a livelihood for our many Indonesian employees,” explains Frank Ragen.
The company is constantly on the lookout for ways to improve its business operations and reduce its waste and energy consumption. At the IndoTeak Design headquarters, paper waste and packaging are recycled, and employees skip disposable dishes and flatware in favor of reusable alternatives.
Kapawi Ecolodge & Reserve
Nestled in Ecuador’s spectacular Yasuni National Park, Kapawi Ecolodge & Reserve is a 10-day hike from the nearest road. The secluded lodge is surrounded by forests that are home to 19 species of mammals, 37 species of amphibians, 11 species of reptiles and nearly 250 species of birds. Kapawi Ecolodge also provides a vital economic opportunity in a region threatened by unsustainable oil extraction.
The prize-winning hotel–named one of the “50 Top Ecolodges” in 2008 by National Geographic and winner of the UNDP’s Equator Prize in 2010–is owned and managed by the Achuar indigenous people. The Achuar people built the hotel in 1993 using local materials, traditional techniques and low-impact, environmentally friendly technologies, and 90 percent of hotel staff come from local communities. In 2011, Kapawi earned Rainforest Alliance verification for its commitment to sustainable tourism.
“We are proud that tourists can share an extraordinary experience in the jungle,” said Angel, an Achuar employee. That one-of-a-kind experience includes days filled with hiking, canoeing, swimming, fishing, dining on local delicacies and camping.
As Europe’s leading home improvement retail group, Kingfisher plc has a proven commitment to sustainability. The company, which operates over 1,000 stores in eight countries in Europe and Asia, has long been a pioneer of social, environmental and economic responsibility. In 1993, Kingfisher became a founding member of the Forest Stewardship Council, the world’s “gold standard-setter” for responsible forestry. Eighty-six percent of the timber that the group sells across its stores is from proven, well-managed sources, and it aims to scale up to 100 percent by 2020. Kingfisher is also the first retailer to label and cut toxic VOCs in its paints, motivating others to follow suit.
“Our success is dependent on our 80,000 employees,” explains Ian Cheshire, Kingfisher Group Chief Executive. “The key to becoming a net positive company is harnessing the power of these people. Everyone needs to be engaged and involved.” Kingfisher has launched several programs to ensure that it is an active member of the communities where its stores and staff are located. It runs, for example, a community skills swapping group, which has attracted more than 2,000 members to share skills, including dressmaking and DIY craft projects. B&Q, Kingfisher’s largest UK retail brand, also launched Streetclub, an online tool where neighbors and communities share resources and ideas to build a stronger sense of community.
NESCAFÉ has been a pioneer in the global coffee industry for the past 75 years. Launched in 1938 in Switzerland, NESCAFÉ spread to 30 countries across five continents in just two years. Today, NESCAFÉ is the world leader in coffee and the only coffee brand with a presence in more than 180 countries. NESCAFÉ is a key player in the industry’s move toward sustainability. In 2012 alone, the company trained 50,000 farmers in Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Indonesia in farming methods designed to improve productivity and protect the environment. NESCAFÉ is now building new, state of the art, coffee processing factories capable of reducing energy and water consumption by more than 30 percent. “Sustainability is becoming more and more a core driver in consumers’ brand choice, and as the number one coffee brand we are taking this seriously,” explains Carsten Fredholm, Head of the Strategic Business Unit Beverages at Nestlé.
For nearly three years, NESCAFÉ and the Rainforest Alliance have worked together to improve coffee farm management and increase farmer livelihoods through the NESCAFÉ Plan. The Rainforest Alliance works alongside Nestlé, the Sustainable Agriculture Network and 4C–a 260-member community working to improve the sustainability of the coffee industry–to combine traditional farming wisdom with modern science, and give farmers the tools and techniques they need to succeed.
Olam International Ltd.
Olam International’s business depends on the long-term, sustainable supply of agricultural products and food ingredients. With a direct presence in 65 countries, this global supply chain manager has a leadership position in many of its businesses including cocoa and coffee. Olam understands that small-scale farmers are the backbone of the coffee and cocoa industries. Through the Olam Livelihood Charter, as well as several joint initiatives with the Rainforest Alliance, the company is working to improve farmers’ lives and landscapes and lessen its own environmental footprint.
“We are committed to improving livelihoods for the 3.5 million smallholder farmers across the 16 platforms in our supply chain while safeguarding natural resources and biodiversity,” explains Olam Executive Committee member Gerry Manley. Last year, Olam sourced 62,964 million pounds of cocoa and coffee from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms. It was the first company to introduce Rainforest Alliance Certified cocoa to Nigeria, Togo, Indonesia and Uganda, and now has the widest offering of Rainforest Alliance Certified origins for cocoa customers. Olam is also taking a leadership role in climate mitigation, producing the world’s first climate-friendly cocoa in Ghana with the help of the Rainforest Alliance.
Tata Global Beverages
Founded in 1837 by two salt merchant brothers, Tetley Tea has a rich history of reinvention. In 2010 Tetley committed to sourcing 100 percent of its black, green and red teas from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms by 2016. “We want to help create a sustainable global tea industry, and we believe that working closely with organizations such as the Rainforest Alliance is one effective way of achieving this,” explains Katy Tubb, Director of Tea Buying & Blending.
The company has already made impressive progress toward its sustainability goals. Tetley now sources 44 million pounds (20 million kilograms) of tea from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms each year–50 percent of its total tea purchased.
Tetley is also connecting tea growers with tea drinkers. In 2011, the company launched Tetley’s Farmers’ First Hand on Facebook, a page where tea lovers can speak regularly and directly with the farmers who grow, harvest and produce their tea. Tetley joined the Tata Global Beverages portfolio of brands in 2000.
Gala sponsors: Barry Callebaut AG, Domtar and National Geographic Traveler.
Photo credit: Silk Studio, inc.