San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Rainforest Alliance, Nestlé Form ‘Ecolaboration’ Pact

Rainforest Alliance and the Nestlé Nespresso Company on Monday signed the “Ecolaboration” pact, an agreement 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 sustainablygrown 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 carry 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 in 2006 to number the number three spot behind bananas and pineapples.

–Mike McDonald


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