On May 7, over 150 business and NGO leaders from around the world will converge on the world headquarters of Citi in Manhattan for a daylong workshop on sustainability and certification, sponsored by the Rainforest Alliance. Participants are in the vanguard of an accelerating trend towards sustainable practices and sourcing, including leaders of major companies such as Nell Newman of Newmanâs Own Organics; Brazilian agricultural conglomerate Grupo JD; McLeod Russel India Limited, the worldâs largest tea producer; guitar maker C.F. Martin & Co., Oriflame Cosmetics; Mattel; Travelocityâs parent company Sabre; Twitter and more. Journalists and bloggers are invited to cover and conduct side interviews.
While concerns about how resource scarcity, climate change and other environmental factors will affect the future of food, forests, supply chains and market shares are growing, sustainable goods, services and lifestyles are surging. Phenomenal growth in production and markets for sustainable commodities like agricultural produce, wood and paper has been underway for years and the range of consumer products integrating sustainable standards and practices is expanding into everything from fashion and cosmetics to toys.
Across 100 countries, there are now a million Rainforest Alliance CertifiedTM farms and Forest Stewardship Council- (FSC) certified forests covering a total land area about the size of Mexico. Sustainable tourism is growing so fast that analysts predict it soon wonât even be an alternative, but the dominant approach to travel. Worldwide, 10 percent of key global markets are now under some sort of sustainability standards and that number is rising rapidly. Leading the growth are emerging economies like Brazil, which now produces everything from sustainable certified beef and leather for Gucci handbags to sustainable plywood used in FSC-certified sets for TV shows. Global demand for sustainable goods and services has continued to grow, right through the downturn and beyond. Consumer engagement online via social media platforms is helping consolidate and accelerate this trend.
Global business leaders, producers, financiers and sustainability experts working with the Rainforest Alliance will participate in the May 7 workshop. Below are some of the panelists and presenters. To request interviews, contact Anna Clark, email@example.com, 646-452-1939 or Stephen Kent, firstname.lastname@example.org, 914-589-5988.
Nell Newman, Co-Founder and President, Newmanâs Own Organics
After working at several environmental nonprofits, Newman co-founded Newmanâs Own Organics in 1993 with a commitment to sustainable agriculture. All the cocoa featured in its Signature Series of chocolate bars comes from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms. Newman has also established her own foundation dedicated to the environment and a sustainable future.
Joel Lunenfeld, VP Global Brand Strategy, Twitter
Prior to joining Twitter, Lunenfeld served as Chief Innovation Officer of Moxie Interactive. Lunenfeld will be participating in the workshop via video conference and will discuss âTwitter for Good,â and how companies, including those participating in the sustainability certification movement, are using social media to achieve social and environmental goals.
Leilani Latimer, Head of Marketing, Sabre
A founding member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, Sabre and its companies–including Travelocity–have been leaders in sustainable travel. Its Eco-Certified Hotel Program is an industry first, providing travelers with an easy way to find and book eco-certified accommodations in over 8,000 hotels. It was among the first companies in any industry to build a LEED certified corporate headquarters, it has implemented sustainable practices in its data centers and facilities and its Less to Landfill waste diversion initiative has inspired other businesses in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Alex Silvester, Senior Sustainability Engineer, Mattel, Inc.
In collaboration with the Rainforest Alliance, Mattel has established a program to assess sourcing risks and increase the transparency and traceability of its supply chain. It is pursuing a goal of using 85 percent recycled and sustainably-sourced paper and wood fiber in its packaging.
Antonia Simon-Stenberg, Senior Advisor Sustainability, Oriflame Cosmetics
Oriflame sells beauty products in 60 countries worldwide and has also been a pioneer buyer and supporter of sustainably sourced palm oil. It tracks its paper consumption and pursues a sustainable paper sourcing strategy to ramp up use of FSC-certified and recycled material. Oriflameâs Ecobeauty is the first global, cross-category cosmetic range to receive accreditation from four leading independent sustainability organizations; Fairtrade, Ecocert, the Vegan Society and FSC.
Rajeev Takru, Director Plantations, McLeod Russel India Limited
McLeod Russel is the worldâs largest private sector tea plantation company, with 87,000 employees in India, Vietnam, Uganda and Rwanda. Of its 62 estates, 43 are Rainforest Alliance Certified and the rest are progressing towards certification. It is also helping its smallholder suppliers achieve certification and has developed effective programs to improve employee health and education and living standards in local communities.
Arnaldo Eijsink, CEO, Grupo JD
In 2012, Grupo JDâs 32,000-acre, 60,000 head cattle operation in Western Brazil became the first ranch in the world to earn Rainforest Alliance certification for sustainable cattle production and it now produces sustainable certified beef and leather. Its practices protect wildlife habitat, manage grasses, cut greenhouse gas emissions and provide training and education for workers and their families. Grupo JD also maintains Rainforest Alliance Certified vineyards in eastern Brazil.
Gregory Paul, Vice President, Business Development, C.F. Martin & Co., Inc.
Martin has long sourced sustainable, third-party-certified timber and has worked to build stronger connections between responsible suppliers and other organizations within the music industry. In 2009, Martin became one of the first guitar manufacturers to produce an acoustic guitar model made entirely of FSC-certified wood.
Kingsley Brown, Nova Scotia Landowners and Forest Fibre Producers Association
NSLFFPA first started organizing woodlot owners in 1967 and were early adopters of FSC standards. Today, more than 230 of its members are FSC-certified, totalling 64,247 acres (26,000 hectares) of certified forestland. It is also working to make forests more climate resilient by managing toward late successional species that are regionally appropriate and educating owners about what they can do to improve resilience and future quality.
Tensie Whelan, President, Rainforest Alliance
The Rainforest Alliance works with people whose livelihoods depend on the land, helping them transform the way they grow food, harvest wood and host travelers. From large multinational corporations to small, community-based cooperatives, businesses and consumers worldwide are involved in the Rainforest Allianceâs efforts to bring responsibly produced goods and services to a global marketplace where the demand for sustainability is growing steadily.
Daniel R. Katz, Founder and Board Chair, Rainforest Alliance
Katz co-founded the Rainforest Alliance in 1986, at the age of 24. It not only changed Katzâs life, but it began a new chapter in American environmental awareness, in time sparking a multi-billion dollar industry aligning the goals of corporations and environmental advocates worldwide.
When & Where?
The May 7, 2014 workshop takes place from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM at the world headquarters of Citi, at 399 Park Avenue in Manhattan. Journalists and bloggers are invited to attend and cover. Participants can grant side interviews during the workshop as well as phone or in-studio interviews at other times, on request. They can also be interviewed the same day from 6:00 to 7:30 PM, May 7 at a cocktail reception preceding the Rainforest Alliance’s gala awards dinner at the American Museum of Natural History, on Central Park West at 79th Street.
To RSVP for the workshop, or to request an interview, contact Anna Clark, email@example.com, 646-452-1939 or Stephen Kent, firstname.lastname@example.org, 914-589-5988.