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The Rainforest Standard


The Rainforest Standard is the world’s first carbon credit standard to fully integrate requirements and protocols for carbon accounting, socio-cultural and socio-economic impacts, and biodiversity outcomes.

The Rainforest Standard™ (The RFS™) is the world’s first fully integrated forest carbon credit standard, built from the ground up by ‐ Columbia University’s Center for Environment, Economy, and Society, Bolivia’s PUMA Environmental Fund Foundation, Brazil’s Fund for Biodiversity, Colombia’s Environmental Action Fund, Ecuador’s National Environmental Fund, and Peru’s Trust Fund for National Parks and Protected Areas ‐ to accommodate the ecological conditions and social realities of the Amazon region and the demands of emerging carbon markets. It integrates in a single standard all requirements and protocols for carbon accounting, socio‐cultural/socio‐economic impacts, and biodiversity outcomes.

The Rainforest Standard’s overarching goal is to conserve natural forests, their biodiversity, and the sustainable livelihoods they provide using real, additional and permanent reductions in CO2e emissions resulting from forest conservation in order to generate long-term revenue streams from the sale of forest carbon credits.

Our underlying principle is that emission reductions must be permanent to justify credit revenues, and reductions will not be permanent unless economic benefits flow fairly to all local forest users and owners, who would otherwise have no stake in their permanence.

And our commitment to an integrated standard is based on the fundamental understanding that the environment, economy, and society are “in it together”; one cannot thrive if the others do not thrive as well.

The Rainforest Standard launched at Rio+20 on June 18, 2012.


  • Jonathan R. Cole Professor of Sociology
  • G. Unger Vetlesen Professor Emeritus of Earth and Climate Sciences, Professor Emerutus of Applied Physics and Applied Math, Special Research Scientist in the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
  • Donald C. Waite III Professor of Social Enterprise in the Faculty of Business, Professor of International and Public Affairs
  • Alan and Carol Silberstein Professor of Earth and Environmental Engineering and of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, Director, Columbia Water Center in the Earth Institute
  • Thomas Hunt Morgan Professor of Conservation Biology in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology, Professor of Anthropology and Biological Sciences, Director, Center for Environment, Economy and Society