You may have noticed a new addition to the floral bouquets the co-op offers. Many of them now feature a frog symbol with the words “Rainforest Alliance Certified.” What does that mean? It means that you now have the option to purchase sustainably grown and harvested flowers at your co-op!
In 1987 the Rainforest Alliance was established to connect small growers of all crops from around the world who met the Alliance’s standards of environmental, social and economic sustainability. Today, the Rainforest Alliance represents more than 1.3 million small farmers in 78 nations around the world. Products range from tea and coffee to flowers and bananas.
Rainforest Alliance Standards:
- Environmental: farms are monitored for their air, water, and soil pollution levels, biodiversity around farms is heavily studied to gauge the impact of the farm on the surrounding ecosystem, and wildlife (both plant and animal) protections are being adhered to
- Social: employees are accounted for and paid a minimum wage, no child labor is used, and farms contribute to the communities in which they grow
- Economic: farmers produce a higher quality product and therefore, are able to charge a premium for their environmental efforts
Why does this matter? When it comes to flowers, the crop is much less regulated then consumable produce. Combine that with the fact that only pretty and hardy flowers will sell and you have an industry that relies heavily on pesticides. In South America especially, these agro-chemicals have adversely impacted the soil, water and land in an area that flourishes on biodiversity. The Rainforest Alliance hopes that by spreading its name consumers will look for products that meet their standards and in turn help protect the rainforests.