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The Rainforest Alliance in Colombia And Ecuador

The Rainforest Alliance in Colombia And Ecuador on

Making the planet a better place

Thirty years ago, the Rainforest Alliance embarked on a mission to save the planet’s most vital and fragile ecosystems by conserving biodiversity and working with communities, farmers, foresters, and tourism professionals to address land-use and business practices. Two nations that have benefitted from the organization’s efforts are Ecuador and Colombia – countries that are the heart and soul of the world’s floral industry.

In addition to environmental concerns, the Rainforest Alliance has worked tirelessly to address social issues as well. When the flower industry exploded in South America, abuses occurred. Many growing operations were unregulated, governments and communities were ill equipped to make changes, and there were allegations of low wages, child labor, and unsafe work conditions.

Through the work of the Rainforest Alliance, though, improvements have been numerous – and more and more products and businesses can proudly display the group’s green frog stamp of approval.

The framework of Rainforest Alliance certification for farms

In order for a farm to receive Rainforest Alliance Certification, it must adhere to the organization’s Sustainable Agriculture Standard, a series of targeted steps or activities or investments. This encompasses:

• Developing and enacting an effective planning and management system, one that monitors the farm’s social, environmental, and economic issues, including energy and water use, hiring protocols, and plans to build upon these efforts.

• Committing to conserving natural ecosystems and not contributing to deforestation, which is a critical issue especially in the Amazon River basin. Conservation also includes maintaining wildlife corridors and aquatic resources and protecting endangered species and native plants and animals.

• Conserving natural resources by minimizing soil erosion and compaction, improving soil fertility, treating wastewater, managing solid waste, reducing the use of pesticides, and conserving water and energy.

• Improving livelihoods and human well-being through the implementation of fair hiring practices: no forced labor, no discrimination, and no hiring of minors younger than 15. In addition, workers are paid at least the legal minimum wage and country-specific overtime rates. Workers must also have access to safe drinking water, healthcare, and education. Community rights and indigenous peoples’ rights are fully respected.

Complementing this framework for farms is the Rainforest Alliance’s Pesticide Management Policies. Through Integrated Pest Management (IPM), hazardous pesticides are prohibited, and pesticide risks to people, wildlife, pollinators, and aquatic ecosystems are minimized.

The role of consumers in promoting sustainability

Even after thirty years, there is still work to be done. Since the Rainforest Alliance began, other industry-specific organizations have entered the fair trade marketplace. In addition, producers have said that in order for them to provide living wages and improved housing, prices for consumers need to be higher.

That being said, today’s consumers – specifically Millennials and Generation Z – have a keen interest in sustainability. For them, there is value in knowing that their product choices are not only helping them to live a sustainable life, but that their money is helping to provide a sustainable life to those manufacturing or growing those products – and they’re willing to pay premium prices.

HOSA International and the logo with the frog

At HOSA International, we’re proud that our flowers display the frog logo indicating that they are Rainforest Alliance Certified. We’ve worked hard to live up and surpass their standards at our farms in Ecuador and Colombia. For more information on the policies that have made HOSA International a Rainforest Alliance Certified flower supplier, or to place a wholesale order, contact us at 305.470.9991 or through our convenient online form.

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Flower Distributor

Flower Distributor