The Romantic Side of Sustainability

Photo courtesy of Willamette Valley Vineyards

By Debbie Rutstein, Rainforest Alliance Marketing Associate

Valentine’s Day, a time to express your love to the people around you, can result in the opposite effect on the planet. Most people celebrate the holiday by buying gifts for their significant other, but many also show their love to family, friends, coworkers, and even pets. Those are a lot of gifts, that can add up to a lot of environmental impact and even waste. But not every rose has to have its thorn; there is a way to invite sustainability into your Valentine’s Day gift giving.

Stepping back, in the U.S. alone, 55% of consumers are expected to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, spending an estimated total of $19.6 billion, up from $18.2 billion last year, according to the National Retail Federation. Additionally, nearly 3 in 10 adult consumers who indicated they are not celebrating a traditional Valentine’s Day this year still have plans with family or a special treat for themselves. This means that regardless of a consumer’s relationship status, there is big opportunity for people to make a difference with their purchases.

Cards and Flowers

This past December, we reported on the impacts the holiday season can have on the environment, and these same impacts carry over to Valentine’s Day. Greeting card production can contribute to deforestation, and the cut flower industry can have negative effects on the environment if it does not follow sustainable principles. By seeking to #FollowtheFrog and selecting Rainforest Alliance Certified™ products, buyers and consumers can be confident their choices have a positive environmental impact.


There are serious impacts that climate change can have on cocoa harvests, with droughts, floods, rising temperatures, and changing growing seasons jeopardizing the viability of farmers, their products and, ultimately, the chocolate retailers sell and consumers enjoy. The Rainforest Alliance’s response– working with farmers to adapt climate smart agriculture strategies– gives producers, brands and consumers the option of products that are part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

Wine Corks

Whether you are a retailer, a wine aficionado or just want a nice bottle of red, white, or rose, you can look to the cork as well as the content for an environmentally sound wine. Willamette Valley Vineyard is the first winery in the world to use cork that is certified through the Rainforest Alliance to Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) standards. Cork oak trees can provide a sustainable and renewable product for wine or olive oil bottles when forests are properly managed. Unfortunately, they are often threatened by deforestation, agricultural expansion, disease, climate change, and increased demand for alternative wine stoppers. As the market for cork decreases, fewer cork oak landscapes will be conserved and the species will be placed at greater risk. In buying wines stopped with Rainforest Alliance Certified corks, you can help ensure the continued protection of cork oak forests and provide for the families that depend on the cork harvest.


Retailers can be sure consumers can finish setting the mood by offering scented candles. One good choice for buyers and consumers to consider is the Aloha Bay Candles’ Aloha Jar line. This is the world’s first Rainforest Alliance Certified candle line made of eco palm wax sourced from certified palm groves in South America. Palm oil is one of the leading causes of deforestation, with palm tree plantations representing 16 million hectares (more than 40 million acres) of tropical landscapes. The Rainforest Alliance is helping transform palm oil industry practices, partnering with the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and others to prevent deforestation, protect biodiversity, improve farmers’ financial futures, and support the rights and livelihoods of workers and local communities.

And Just In Case…

If you find yourself crying tears of joy from your loved one’s romantic gestures, we have you covered with Rainforest Alliance Certified tissues sustainable produced by Puffs, Seventh Generation, and more.

In whatever way you choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, be sure to show the planet some love too, and #FollowtheFrog to Rainforest Alliance Certified products.

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