As advanced as technology has become, the destruction done to the planet's tropical forests and species casts a shadow on our collective societal progress. Climate change is a broad-reaching culmination of that fact.
Reversing this trend comes down to understanding and minimizing human impact and protecting biodiversity. Through its partnerships with farmers and other entities along the supply chain, the Rainforest Alliance has strived to preserve local ecosystems and waterways and limit deforestation, while promoting better ecological business practices.
The Mission of the Rainforest Alliance
Most are familiar with the Rainforest Alliance in relation to consumer goods and farming, associating it with sustainable practices that support the environment and workers' rights. Biodiversity preservation is a tenet of this mission, and the organization doesn't pursue it alone. Rather, it partners with organizations across the world and works with about two million farmers in roughly 70 countries to support more transparent, sustainable supply chains, protect natural landscapes and encourage the economic prosperity of rural communities.
Upholding this mission are agroforestry practices that blend crops with the natural landscape, preventing deforestation, conserving water, guarding against invasive species and protecting wildlife, particularly endangered species.
How This Mission Unfolds
To protect biodiversity, the Rainforest Alliance uses a multipart strategy:
- Partnerships: It takes more than one individual or entity to drive home the importance of supporting biodiversity. The Rainforest Alliance considers efforts along the supply chain, beginning with land management and waterway preservation among farms, economically supporting the surrounding communities and backing policies that encourage these practices on a broader scale.
- An indirect approach: Our world doesn't have finite resources. Maintaining a region's biodiversity intertwines with natural resources conservation, with both helping to lessen the effects of climate change. The Rainforest Alliance's efforts help farms improve soil quality and reduce erosion, better use wastewater, control pests without restoring to harmful pesticides and conserve energy and water.
Landscape Management and the Benefits of Biodiversity
In more traditional, factory-style farming, land gets cleared to grow crops or graze cattle. This approach, however, reduces, if not eliminates, a region's biodiversity and further fuels climate change. Agroforestry - a method that prioritizes native species along with rotated crop growth - provides a more sustainable and climate-friendly solution that's gradually being adopted, with the Rainforest Alliance leading the way.
This method is the center of the Rainforest Alliance's land management strategy:
- Agriculture techniques don't supersede climate control or economic need, and regions, meanwhile, are encouraged to center and diversify their economic strategy around its natural resources. At the same time, the Rainforest Alliance facilitates this growth through financing and market partnerships, with emphasis placed on developing sustainable products.
- Agriculture techniques decrease deforestation and, instead, focus on weed management and improving soil quality without the use of chemical fertilizers and herbicides to help crops grow. This approach further limits pollution entering waterways, upholding a region's biodiversity and helping absorb carbon emissions.
- On farms overseen by the Rainforest Alliance, the local ecosystem and agriculture can work in conjunction to support wildlife: Any trees or shrubs planted suit the climate and landscape, as well as the dietary needs of animal species living in the region.
Policy Development and Advocacy
Biodiversity protection often begins with farms, but wider-reaching, long-term effects come from advocating for more sustainable farming and supply chain practices. In this direction, the Rainforest Alliance collaborates with governments and civil organizations to develop policies that support farmers and provide them with the resources to make an income from sustainable farming and production practices. Focus areas include workers' rights, deforestation and addressing climate change.
The body of knowledge around humans' impact on the planet continues to grow. The Rainforest Alliance, in response, not only revisits farming practices in relation to current research, but uses this information, as well as goals from the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), to revise and implement updated farming practices that conserve and restore biodiversity and decrease carbon emissions.
The 2020 Certification Program is an example of this, with practices focusing on agroforestry, water resources preservation through natural vegetation and habitat conservation.
As a Buddy to the Planet, Buddy State aims to be part of the broader solution to preserve our world. Our liquid tea concentrate is formulated with Rainforest Alliance-certified tea, and this effect carries through the supply chain, resulting in 65 times less plastic used and 36 times less carbon emissions compared to traditional bottled beverages. We further encourage our customers to reduce the amount of bottled beverages they use for hydration, to turn to reusable water bottles and to lessen the amount of waste needing to be recycled.