Eco-certification of crops such as coffee, oil palm and soybeans is changing the way these crops are grown across large parts of the tropics. Certification bodies reward farmers, co-operatives and companies for farming in an ecologically and socially responsible way, such as by avoiding deforestation, using fewer pesticides and treating workers fairly. However, the benefits of eco-certification have rarely been assessed in a systematic way.
Our project links partners in CCI with the Rainforest Alliance, one of the leading eco-certification bodies. We will work with Rainforest Alliance and other certification bodies to build a database and map of the locations of certified farms in the tropics. We will use the database to assess the distribution of certified crops in relation to areas important for biodiversity, frontiers of land clearance, and places with many smallholder farmers who might potentially benefit from certification. For example, are schemes that prohibit deforestation being taken up in places where deforestation is a problem, or mainly in areas where land clearance has already run its course? We will use our results to identify priority regions with scope for better spatial targeting of eco-certification, and explore realistic ways of making this happen.
This project is funded by the CCI Collaborative Fund for Conservation.