Canopy Bridge is a global network helping buyers and suppliers of sustainable crops and wild-harvested products to find each other and build relationships. It allows members from around the world to list, describe, discover and learn more about natural products and the people behind them.
Businesses, farmers and grassroots organizations around the world are harnessing the power of markets to protect nature and foster healthy communities with their commitments to sustainability. Products as diverse as coffee and copaiba oil, quinoa and kapok, shea butter, schisandra and sacha inchi link us in global relationships with a shared commitment to responsible sourcing – including organic, fair trade and other ethical standards.
These products make major contributions to the livelihoods of rural communities – especially women – and can help tip the economic balance in forest conservation and sustainable farming practices. Simply put, these products can leverage the power of markets to build healthy farms and make forests worth more alive than dead, and contribute to lifting communities out of poverty in the process.
But there are huge distances – both geographical and cultural – between local producers in the developing world and companies and consumers in global markets that keep this thriving trade from realizing its full potential. Communities, cooperatives and small businesses have a hard time identifying and reaching buyers – relying on chance connections or prohibitively expensive promotion through trade fairs and outreach. And the greater the distance and number of intermediaries involved, the lower the share of final value that’s likely to reach producers. On the flip side, buyers – especially small and medium side companies – face major transaction costs and risks in finding suppliers, assessing whether they can deliver, and learning the unique stories behind the products. On both sides, evaluating credibility and establishing trust can be a major challenge.
Canopy Bridge’s Mission is to help businesses and people committed to sustainable natural products thrive by making discovery and relationship building easy and transparent.
Canopy Bridge links businesses, producer associations and community groups buying and selling products that aim to contribute to improved livelihoods, social empowerment and healthy ecosystems. It provides an easily accessible, global meeting place that allows potential trading partners to make initial connections, build trust and facilitate communication. Canopy Bridge works by allowing members to create personalized profiles highlighting their capabilities, stories and products, allowing for transparent feedback from business counterparties, and facilitating search and discovery of the vast world of potential products and ingredients available.
Yes. Creating a profile, listing products and searching for products is free. As the site evolves we may add additional paid services, but we are committed to keeping Canopy Bridge open and accessible to make it easy for anyone to list or discover new products, suppliers and partners.
Any other questions, comments, suggestions or ideas you’d like to share with us? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Registration is free and easy. But you can search products, producers and other members on Canopy Bridge without registering. We want to make it as easy as possible to start to find the people you need. However, private messaging through Canopy Bridge to connect directly with members, as well as certain detailed product information and endorsements is restricted to registered members.
Not now. One way to think about Canopy Bridge is as a virtual sustainable products’ trade fair, only that it’s free, ongoing and close to home. Like at a fair, Canopy Bridge is a place for buyers and sellers to meet and connect. But finalizing the relationship and conducting a business transaction takes place directly between the interested parties, not via trade on the site. As it matures we will consider whether integrating e-commerce capability is of interest and beneficial to enough members of the community. Let us know what you think at email@example.com
We are committed to making Canopy Bridge a diverse and open platform to help members committed to sustainability build healthy business relationships. While we recognize that sustainability means different things to different people we reserve the right to review profiles, products and claims in order to maintain Canopy Bridge’s focus on products, services and users:
- Based on farmed or wild-harvested products;
- Demonstrating a commitment to environmental and social responsibility; and
- Complying with our Terms and Conditions regarding appropriate content and community behavior.
In the event that a product or member does not meet these guidelines, we may exercise our discretion to limit, suspend, deactivate or cancel a member’s account. For more information see our Terms and Conditions
Canopy Bridge depends on information generated by the community to provide detail about sustainability and origin of products. There are myriad facets to sustainability and different people and companies concerned with different issues, serving different markets and with legitimate differences in what they consider as crucial to sustainability and ethical commerce. The dozens of different standards and certifications currently listed on Canopy Bridge reflect that diversity.
We believe that transparency and informed decisions are the best way to serve a diverse community with a common interest in understanding and choosing products based on their origin and impacts. Voluntary standards, information from users and feedback from the community are the key elements to look for.
Canopy Bridge does not require producers to hold any specific certification or adhere to a particular standard. It does though require members to be committed to sustainable sourcing and production, with environmental and social goals. We recommend third-party standards (such as Organic, Fairtrade, FSC and others) as an important, independently verified and transparent way to provide credibility and to corroborate sustainability and social responsibility efforts, and have made it easy for members to highlight these.
Nevertheless, Canopy Bridge understands the diverse challenges that attaining one or more certifications can entail, especially for smaller enterprises or for lesser known products. In addition to listing relevant social, environmental and quality standards, Canopy Bridge also encourages members to provide details about environmental and social responsibility efforts and alternative sources (testimonials, reports, research publications) to substantiate their claims.
We believe that community feedback is also critical to transparency and credibility. We encourage members to highlight sustainability issues, challenges and achievements through testimonials, public messages and groups.
See the question: Are there restrictions on who and what can be listed? and How can I be sure that products are truly sustainable?
CREATING AND MANAGING YOUR ACCOUNT
Almost anyone who is involved in the production and trade of sustainable natural products, anywhere in the world. Canopy Bridge is a robust community encompassing all entities involved in the sustainable natural products value chain, including producers and buyers, manufacturers and intermediaries, businesses, individuals and community organizations, and those offering supporting services like certifiers, NGOs, researchers and other businesses.
At first you need to go to the Register page of Canopy Bridge. Then you will be asked to enter your personal or business information.
*If you are creating a non-business personal account, then you don’t need to provide us with an ‘Organization Name’.
You also need to specify the type of user you are going to be: Buyer, Supplier or Other. For Other, you need to specify your interests. Lastly, you need to type a CAPTCHA code and submit the registration form, upon which you will receive a confirmation email. Then you are officially a member on Canopy Bridge!
Canopy Bridge members are grouped into three different categories or types of accounts – Buyer, Supplier or Other. The profile structure for each of these is different, reflecting the specific kinds of information that most users will want to communicate as well as most likely to be useful to other members in the Canopy Bridge community.
Default privacy settings are also different for each user type, under the assumption that most Suppliers and Others (primarily service providers) will want to be easily identifiable to a global marketplace, while Buyers may want to have greater control over their contacts and connections. These privacy settings are customizable.
Yes. Buyer and Supplier profiles are structured differently and provide information likely to respond to the differing needs and interests of other users seeking either to place their products in new markets or to identify reliable sources of supply. A different, unique email address is required for each user account.
Canopy Bridge is designed to make your profile easy to set up and easy to update so that information is current and looks great.
We suggest that you update your profile periodically to reflect changes in your product line as well as news about developments in your organization, events, media coverage, certifications and awards. An obviously outdated profile does little to inspire confidence in potential partners – and updates provide the opportunity to let others know about recent progress.
Updates can be shared with other users that you are connected to in the Canopy Bridge community, through Facebook, Twitter and other social media.
Though we strive to make Canopy Bridge as accessible as possible, language, limited internet access and other barriers can make it hard for everyone to make the most use of Canopy Bridge, particularly grassroots producers in the developing world. In these cases, a cooperative, association or other entity may authorize a third party (for example, a supporting NGO) to manage their profile and listings, with their informed consent.
You can share Canopy Bridge or any of the listed producers via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+ directly through the producers’ profile pages. We also invite you to help us increase the visibility of Canopy Bridge by adding our link or logo to your website, Facebook page, or Twitter feed. This would help us reach more suppliers and buyers and increase our network of sustainable products and producers. Thank you for helping us spread the word!
Some suppliers with extensive product lines and/or multiple services may not want to list all their products and services with individual descriptions on Canopy Bridge. We encourage members to spend a bit of time making sure that their entire range of products and services is reflected on Canopy Bridge. This gives potential clients a more complete picture of what you are offering as well as raising your products’ profile in search results. But as a shortcut for those who don’t find this practical, we suggest aggregating your product lines to one or more generic products to represent different categories, including a summary of your product list in the description with an invitation to contact you directly for more information.
Testimonials are a key part of how Canopy Bridge build trust and credibility. They are an opportunity for business partners or other collaborators to comment on your product and capabilities based on their relationship and experience. Testimonials can come only from other registered members, who are connected. You can also invite a testimonial from any registered Canopy Bridge member. These should be from people, businesses and organizations that know you well and might include trading partners, NGOs and donors, researchers and trade organizations.
Some members may receive negative testimonials or reviews – it happens. These are just as valuable as positive feedback for the broader Canopy Bridge community and for members looking for reliable partners. If you dispute the content of a negative review you are able to post one comment in response. If you believe that the content is inappropriate and violates Canopy Bridge’s content guidelines, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As many as you like. You can feature up to three products which will appear highlighted on your profile page.
On your profile page, click on ‘Edit Profile’. There you can upload your new photo by clicking on ‘Upload Media’ which automatically changes your profile picture.
On your profile page, click on ‘Cover Photo’. There you can upload your new cover photo by clicking on ‘Upload Media’ which automatically changes your cover photo.
All Canopy Bridge members can send messages to other members in a secure and reliable way. Every time you visit another members’ account, you can click on ‘Private Message’. This message will only be seen by the recipient member.
You can also post a ‘Public Message’ which will appear in your Activity updates. These kind of messages can be seen by anyone on Canopy Bridge and you can also tag other registered members. To write such message, you need to login to your profile and click on ‘Updates’. Then write your message under ‘Post an Update’ and finally click on Publish.
Canopy Bridge allows you to create groups in which you can share interests, media, and chat with other members you want to be more closely connected with. You can join a group or you are able to create a new group pending approval. To create a new group, click on ‘Groups’ in the menu and then ‘Suggest Group’. A form will be displayed which you need to complete in order for your group request to be verified.
To join an existing group, you need to click on ‘Groups’ in the main menu. Then, click on ‘Browse Groups’. When you find a group of interest, click on ‘Join Group’. If you would like to leave a group that you are a member of, click on ‘Leave Group’.
You have many options to customize content on your CB profile. In the ‘Trust’ option in the main menu of your profile, you can invite your contacts to provide testimonials to help build your credibility and provide feedback from people you’ve work with.
In ‘Sustainability’, you can add information about the environmental and social sustainability of your products. You can add media content directly to your products or through the ‘Services’ page.
In the main menu of your profile page, choose ‘Connections’. A list of all your active connections will be displayed. Click on ‘Delete Connection’ next to the connection you wish to remove.
When you are logged into your Canopy Bridge account, click on ‘Profile’ in the main menu. Then click on ‘General Settings’. There you will see the option: ‘Delete account’.
*Account deletion is permanent and all account/user information will be lost.