Profile: Rainforest Alliance

No Premium
Premium per ton
Small Groups & Cooperatives
Who can be certified
Farming & Environmental Skills
Trained Skills
No Minimum
Minimum price per ton
Positives
Negatives

Small groups can join

Very small groups can get certified (minimum 2 farms). Prices are negotiated between traders and groups/cooperatives.

Productivity

The Rainforest Alliance certification process claims to be aiming at productivity on farm level rather then on price premiums. There are studies which confirm this.

Focus on training of small-hold farmers

Rainforest Alliance focuses on training of individual farmers and trains them in sustainable farming techniques.

No premium

Rainforest Alliance lets farmers negotiate prices with traders which are usually much more powerful. There are no proposed premiums and no minimum prices

Potential for Greenwashing

Alex Nicholls, professor of social entrepreneurship at Oxford University, called Rainforest Alliance certification "a less expensive way for companies to answer consumers’ concerns about sustainability than to achieve Fair Trade certification.

No jobs created outside farming

In Africa, where most cocoa comes form, all the certified cocoa beans leave the country before being transformed into chocolate. Only exporting the raw materials does not create any new jobs.

False Sense of Ethical Buying

While consumers get the feeling of buying a perfectly sustainable product farmers might live well below the poverty line as is the problem with most certifications