We were born more than 20 years ago from a coalition of non-profit conservation organizations in America, Africa, Europe and Asia.


SAN is an association of international, non-profit organizations working for the conservation of biodiversity and sustainable human development. Our secretariat staff are based in Costa Rica, India, and Germany.

For more than two decades SAN has improved the lives and production practices of more than 1.2 million farmers around the world. SAN has helped transform agriculture with more than 3.3 million of hectares certified, especially in the tropical and subtropical regions. Our concept of sustainability recognizes that the welfare of societies and ecosystems is intertwined and dependent on environmental sustainability, as well as on socially just and economically viable development.

For many years we worked to achieve our vision through the lens of agricultural certification and by working in partnership with the Rainforest Alliance. After working on certification for two decades, we recognize the value and multiple benefits of this tool but we also became very aware of the inherant limitations.

The challenges our world faces are huge and are growing fast; we have concluded that to better deliver on our mission, we needed to evolve. Now we have moved beyond certification and work directly with companies, donors and other organizations to accelerate and deepen the positive impact we can make as partners together on a journey of change.

SAN has always been a unique organization. We were formed when a group of NGOs from different countries and continents decided to work together based on the conviction that sustainable agricultural practices could be harnessed as an effective tool for environmental protection and to improve the lives of rural people.

SAN has always been a visionary organization. Two decades ago, we introduced the “Three sustainability pillars” concept for certification, redefining sustainability as something that includes not only the protection of the environment, or workers and producers’ well-being, but also promoted and improved the economics of agricultural operations.