The Rainforest Alliance Celebrates 30 Years of Innovative Partnerships, Forest Conservation

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Annual Leadership Summit and Gala highlight 30 years of protecting forests and supporting sustainable livelihoods.

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To come as far as the Rainforest Alliance has in 30 years, we needed the strength of partnership.

For 30 years, the Rainforest Alliance has been a global leader in the conservation of forests and natural resources while advancing sustainable livelihoods. Such success can only be accomplished through strategic partnerships with players along every link in the supply chain, from producers to large multinational companies. The Rainforest Alliance is pleased to recognize businesses and individuals committed to protecting the environment, implementing climate solutions, and supporting communities across the globe. Awards will be presented to honorees on May 10th in New York City, at the Rainforest Alliance’s 30th Anniversary Gala Celebration at the American Museum of Natural History.

“To come as far as the Rainforest Alliance has in 30 years, we needed the strength of partnership,” said Nigel Sizer, President of the Rainforest Alliance. “Today, we recognize individuals and companies who are addressing some of the most significant challenges humanity has ever faced. These champions are working with us to protect forests and support farmers and communities across the world, affecting real change.”

During the day on May 10, honorees and co-chairs will join CEOs, business and thought leaders, and Rainforest Alliance experts at the annual Leadership Summit to discuss strategies for implementing global sustainability and climate goals. Following the summit, participants will gather in the evening for an awards dinner, entertainment, and a silent auction.

The gala is co-chaired by long-term Rainforest Alliance friends and supporters Maggie Lear, Tessie Nedelman, Laura Ross, and Cathy Taub, and sponsored by Domtar. Gala proceeds benefit the Rainforest Alliance’s international work in sustainable agriculture, forestry, tourism, human rights, and climate change.

2017 Community Leadership Award

The Rainforest Alliance recognizes Felisa Navas Pérez, a three-term president of Asociación Forestal Integral Cruce a La Colorada (AFICC), a forestry concession in the Maya Biosphere Reserve (MBR) in the Petén region of Guatemala. Navas assumed her leadership role shortly after the concession’s board president was murdered, presumably by drug traffickers who want to control local lands so they may clear forest for livestock operations (which in turn serve to launder money).

While nearby concessions have collapsed, AFICC has remained solvent and certified under Navas’s leadership.

Corporate Sustainability Champions award recognizes companies who have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to sustainability, improving livelihoods, and conserving forests all around the world.

Allegro Coffee Company
Barry Callebaut AG
Beef Passion
Bettys & Taylors of Harrogate
Blommer Chocolate Company
Caribou Coffee
C.F. Martin & Co., Inc.
Clearwater Paper Company
Clif Bar
Columbia Forest Products
ECOM / Atlantic (USA)
Kenya Tea Development Agency
Mars, Incorporated
Nestlé Nespresso SA
Olam International Ltd.
Suzano Pulp and Paper

People and Planet Champions award recognizes the visionary individuals, foundations, partner organizations, and government entities who have helped the Rainforest Alliance advance its mission to build strong forests and healthy communities.

Kim Bendheim
John Caulkins
Citi Foundation
Daniel Cohen (In Memoriam)
The Colombian Coffee Growers Federation
Comisión Nacional Forestal de México
Henry Davison
The Ford Foundation
Forest Stewardship Council
Dr. Karl Fossum (In Memoriam)
Global Environment Facility
Inter-American Development Bank
Elysabeth Kleinhans
Dr. Thomas E. Lovejoy
Millennium Challenge Corporation
The Milton and Tamar Maltz Family Foundation
Mitsubishi Corporation Foundation for the Americas
Jeffrey & Tessie Nedelman
Ellen Petersen
Robert W. Wilson Charitable Trust
Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales
Secretaría de Turismo de México
Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN)
The Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH)
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
Alan Wilzig
Ann Ziff

The Sustainable Development Champions award recognizes the extraordinary achievements of a group of individuals and institutions working alongside local and indigenous communities in Guatemala’s Petén region to promote the economic, environmental, and social health of the Maya Biosphere Reserve and its communities.

Asociación de Comunidades Forestales de Petén
Continental Floral Greens
Defensores de la Naturaleza
General Wood Craft
Guatemala Ministry of Environment
Guatemalan Association of Exporters (AGEXPORT)
National Council of Protected Areas
North American Wood Products
United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
University of Minnesota

Maggie Lear, Tessie Nedelman, Laura Ross, and Cathy Taub are enormous fans of the Rainforest Alliance and proud Co-Chairs of tonight’s Gala. While traveling to Peru, Ecuador, and Mexico with Rainforest Alliance Executive Vice President Ana Paula Tavares, they witnessed the important work of the Rainforest Alliance firsthand. These visits provided them with opportunities to meet the knowledgeable farmers, foresters, eco-tourism professionals and Rainforest Alliance’s field experts, who are helping to conserve our planet for their children and future generations.

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Brittany Wienke, Communications and Media Outreach Associate
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