Non-profit Rainforest Alliance announces Santiago Gowland has joined the organisation as CEO. Gowland previously served as Executive Vice President for Latin America and Global Innovation at The Nature Conservancy and has spearheaded sustainability initiatives at Unilever and Nike
New Rainforest Alliance CEO Santiago Gowland (pictured) has previously held roles at Unilever, Nike, and Estée Lauder | Photo credit: Rainforest Alliance
In his previous roles, Gowland has focused on bridging supply chain and landscape needs through business innovations for leading brands including Unilever, Nike, and Estée Lauder – and most recently, in the global environmental non-profit sphere at The Nature Conservancy.
"I am thrilled to contribute my global conservation and business insights to accelerate the Rainforest Alliance's vision of a world where people and nature thrive together. It's crucial that we leverage social and market forces to protect nature and improve the lives of farmers and forest communities without delay,” Gowland said.
Founded in 1987, the Rainforest Alliance works to support farmers producing cocoa, coffee, tea, bananas, forest products and palm oil in 70 countries worldwide.
In 2020, 6.8 million hectares of land and more than 2.3 million farmers were certified according to Rainforest Alliance's sustainability standards. In the coffee industry, the US-based non-profit works with farmers to improve livelihoods and the health and wellbeing of communities, protect biodiversity and deliver financial benefits to workers. Today, there are more than 370 Rainforest Alliance-certified coffee brands from prominent global companies including Nescafé, Costa Coffee, Lavazza, McDonald’s, Kroger and 7 Eleven.
In February 2018 Rainforest Alliance assimilated
the operations of Netherlands-based sustainability accreditation UTZ following a consultation period in 2017. The merger saw both organisations unify under Rainforest Alliance branding with the intention to foster greater efficacy on tackling climate change, deforestation, poverty, and unsustainable farming.