What You Think It Means: Products that receive Rainforest Alliance certification have been grown with an eye toward conserving and protecting the environment, including safe guarding waterways, and conserving wildlife. Presumably that would also mean growing organic crops, using organic methods.
What It Really Means: Not so much on the organic part, but certified Rainforest Alliance products must protect the environment and conserve wildlife. Additionally, growers must be paid above average market prices for their crops, men and women are paid equal wages, unions can form, and there are child labor laws in place.
Take Away: The Rainforest Alliance seal is a good indication that the product was grown with a focus on sustainability and care for the workers. The Alliance’s independent auditors ensure that the strict system is being followed. However, some of these stringent rules can shut out the smallest, poorest farmers.