A ‘sustainable’ stamp of approval

Ashley Milne-Tyte May 16, 2007

MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: Today in New York, Goldman Sachs is hosting a gathering of companies who use local suppliers that hold something called a “sustainability certificate.” Suppliers — mostly farmers — have to follow rules that ensure they take care of the environment, and their workers. Ashley Milne-Tyte reports.

ASHLEY MILNE-TYTE: The non-profit Rainforest Alliance does the certifying. Companies like Kraft, Chiquita and Nestle all use certified suppliers. Richard Reed is co-founder of European smoothie company Innocent. He buys 100 percent of that all-important smoothie ingredient — bananas — from certified farms.

RICHARD REED: We’re working with them about what other fruits — and the way that it’s grown — can we bring on to make sure that more of the fruit that we’re buy comes in in a way that generally has an eye to the bigger picture.

Rainforest Alliance head Tensie Whelan says to be certified, the local suppliers have to meet a long list of requirements, and sometimes make changes to their operations.

TENSIE WHELAN:Which would range from changing where they dump their garbage — which in many cases might be directly into the streams — to the housing that they have for the workers.

…to chemicals workers are exposed to. One recent triumph, she says: Publisher Scholastic is printing the final issue of the Harry Potter series on sustainable paper.

In New York, I’m Ashley Milne-Tyte for Marketplace.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.