follow the frog (and save the rainforest)

A three minute video that does an awesome job of empathizing with people’s experience (guilt for not doing enough) and then giving them something simple they can do to help them get the results they’re after (making a difference and saving the rainforest). Also a great example of offering up a new alternative solution to a problem (their certification process). It also communicates a clear point of view about how to solve the problem (don’t ditch your whole life) and does that in a funny way.

So, in that regards, it’s brilliant marketing.

But not everyone is convinced that it delivers on its promises. On Wikipedia it’s noted that “Rainforest Alliance agricultural certification has been criticized by a range of academics and media sources. The Manchester Evening News notes that critics have dubbed the Rainforest Alliance “Fairtrade lite”therefore offering companies such as Chiquita and Kraft a cheap way to tap into the ethical consumer market.” In other words, greenwashing.

The program has almost come under attack for not offering their farmers a minimum or guaranteed price, not prefinancing the crops and for allowing the use of the seal on coffee containing a minimum of 30% of certified coffee beans and for targeting large and medium coffee plantations, unlike Fairtrade‘s focus on independent coffee farmer cooperatives.

If they really delivered on their promises – this would be a fully brilliant piece of honest marketing.


About Tad

  • loni

    Kick Ass Ad! Pain and solution and funny.

  • Anna Clark

    Hi Tad,

    Thanks for sharing our Follow the Frog Week video! But I do want to take the opportunity to address some of your criticism about the Rainforest Alliance.

    Achieving Rainforest Alliance Certification is not a cheap and easy way for large companies to tap into the ethical consumer market. The Rainforest Alliance works with farming operations of all sizes, from small to large. Farms seeking certification must meet a rigorous set of standards addressing social, environmental and economic issues. Criteria that auditors measure farms against are organized according to the ten
    principles of sustainable agriculture: Management system, Ecosystem conservation, Wildlife protection, Water conservation, Working conditions, Occupational health, Community relations, Integrated crop management, Soil conservation and Integrated waste management.

    As you mentioned, Rainforest Alliance certification does not guarantee a minimum price, like FT, but rather it emphasizes improving farming. I’m sure you have heard of the saying, “Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime.” The Rainforest Alliance teaches farmers to farm efficiently and responsibly, growing their bottom line and conserving the fertile soils and natural resources on which their children will depend. Any farmer’s success depends on crop quality, productivity and cost control. The Rainforest Alliance program addresses all of these. Successful farmers learn to control costs, increase production, improve quality, build their own competence in trading, build workforce and community cohesion and pride, manage their precious natural resources and protect the environment.

    Finally, companies are allowed to use our green frog seal if a product contains “30%” Rainforest Alliance Certified content, but companies must clearly display this fact on
    packaging. In part because of the demanding certification standards, which were
    established by grassroots conservation groups, it takes time to build supply. Allowing companies to use the seal before they have reached 100%, but have made a commitment to increase to 100% over a set timeline, is a realistic approach that benefits workers, their families and wildlife. FT has come to agree with this approach since their logo now appears on products that are less than 100% FT Certified. In fact, in the US products with as little as 10% certified content can now use the FT logo.

    Let me know if you want anymore info on the above!