Rainforest Alliance and Nestlé form ‘Ecolaboration’ around coffee

June 19, 2009

Rainforest Alliance and the Nestlé Nespresso Company signed the “Ecolaboration pact” on Monday, an agreement that is aimed at benefiting coffee growers in Costa Rica and across the globe.

The accord guarantees that coffee sold by Nespresso is grown in a sustainable manner. Coffee fields are graded based on a set of over 100 criteria.

If a coffee grower meets 80 percent of the overall criteria, and scores no less than 50 percent in any specific area, a Rainforest Alliance Certified stamp will be placed on the packaged coffee.

Rainforest Alliance could not guarantee that growers would receive a higher price for the certified coffee, but Communications Coordinator Jessica Webb said that “consumers usually prefer a sustainable product over a non-sustainable product.” She noted that in many cases, a higher price is associated with sustainably-grown products.

A press release from Rainforest Alliance, an international conservation organization, said that certified fields will “cover all the aspects of sustainable agriculture, including the conservation of water, protection of wildlife…(as well as) good salaries, drinking water and access to schools and health services” for workers.

Nespresso expects that 80 percent of its coffee bags will have a Rainforest Alliance Certified stamp by the year 2013.

Other countries that will participate in the program include Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Kenya and Mexico.

Coffee was once Costa Rica´s number one cash crop until falling to number three in 2006 behind bananas and pineapples.

Search the TT Back Issues for an interview with the president of Rainforest Alliance, Tensie Whelan, about sustainable coffee.

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