The Rainforest Alliance, an international nonprofit conservation organization, announced its 2009 honorees at its annual gala on May 6 at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Sustainability commitments from global businesses continue to grow despite the current economic recession, helping to further on-the-ground conservation efforts. The annual gala recognizes companies and individuals for their work with the Rainforest Alliance on making sustainable supply chain decisions or for their longtime support of conservation work.
“The honorees we’ve selected have made solid commitments that benefit ecosystems, workers and wildlife worldwide,” said Tensie Whelan, president of the Rainforest Alliance, who was named one of the 100 most influential people in business ethics for the second year in a row by Ethisphere magazine. “By making sustainability a priority in their business decisions, they demonstrate its importance not only for the longevity of their businesses but also for the well-being of the entire planet.”
Community Sustainable Standard-Setter: Napo Wildlife Center [LINK], Comunidad Kichwa Añangu
Napo Wildlife Center, Comunidad Kichwa Añangu [MORE DETAILS ….]
In the early 90s, the Comunidad Kichwa Añangu searched for an alternative to the irresponsible logging and oil extraction that neighboring groups were allowing to destroy their forests. Community members concluded that an eco-lodge could provide jobs while conserving their land in Yasuni National Park. The Napo Wildlife Center, a community-owned and operated business, is the realization of their vision. Proceeds from the center go directly toward the conservation of 82 square miles of pristine rainforest as well as salaries, healthcare and education for staff. In Rainforest Alliance-led tourism workshops, staff members were given the tools and techniques for installing solar panels, treating wastewater and composting. Regular consultation with internationally recognized biologists helps to ensure that that the center’s operations do not disturb local wildlife, including scarlet macaws and golden-mantled tamarins.
Achievements of the 2009 Gala Co-Chairs
Ecuador Ministry of Tourism
Home to 10 percent of the world’s plant species and eight percent of its animal species, Ecuador is truly a biodiversity hotspot. In an effort to conserve the country’s natural riches, Ecuador’s Ministry of Tourism has been working with the Rainforest Alliance since 2006 to establish sustainable management practices for the tourism industry that protect flora and fauna, and promote the well-being of workers and their communities. As a result of this collaboration, 70 businesses have been trained in responsible management, 20 tour operators now favor sustainable companies when designing tour packages and 50 businesses have received SmartVoyager certification for sound management.