In the struggle for a more sustainable and environmentally friendly economic structure, the international corporations of the world have taken a lot of criticism for their less than scrupulous practices.
Many people don’t stop to realize, however, that corporations are in a uniquely appropriate position to facilitate the massive shift in demand that is needed for organic, free trade, and sustainable materials to make it to the mainstream consumer.
Take, for instance, the impact that will soon be made by Kraft Foods in the area of sustainable cocoa farming. The food product giant recently announced its launch of “the first mainstream chocolate products in Europe to carry the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal. The global food company also has committed to increase its current purchases of cocoa beans from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms ten-fold by the end of 2012, to 30,000 tons (Environmental Leader).
Beginning in France and Belgium, Kraft’s Cote d’Or premium dark chocolate will now contain cocoa from farms that meet the sustainability standard of the Rainforest Alliance Certified program. Over the coming months, the certified Cote d’Or range will be rolled out to consumers in over 12 countries, including the United States (EL).
Under the auspices of the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN), an international coalition of leading conservation groups, the Rainforest Alliance works with farmers to ensure compliance with the SAN standards for protecting wildlife, wild lands, workers’ rights and local communities. Farms that meet these rigorous standards are awarded the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal.
Rainforest Alliance Certified means:
Less water pollution as all sources of contamination (pesticides and fertilizers, sediment, wastewaters, garbage, fuels and so on) are controlled.
Less soil erosion as farms implement soil conservation practices such as planting on contours and maintaining ground cover.
Reduced threats to the environment and human health as the most dangerous pesticides are prohibited, all agrochemical use is strictly regulated, farmers must use mechanical and biological pest controls where possible and strive to reduce both the toxicity and quantity of chemicals used.
It might surprise you to learn that Kraft Foods has been working with the Rainforest Alliance and other international trade organizations to support sustainable cocoa production in West Africa since 2005.
The private-public partnership that results from this latest effort will allow six Ivorian cooperatives, representing over 2,000 farmers in the Daloa/Issia and Abengourou areas, to earn the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal.
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