03rd January 2020
“Coffee, one world’s most traded commodities, is the economic backbone of countries throughout Latin America, Asia and Africa. Yet smallholder farmers in these coffee-growing regions face many challenges, including poverty, commodity price fluctuations and increasingly erratic rainfall patterns caused by climate change. Since 1995, the Rainforest Alliance has strengthened the position of sustainable coffee farmers by training them in methods that boost yields and safeguard the health of the land for future generations. All of this is part of our global strategy to ensure the long-term well-being of farm communities, as well as the forests on which we all depend.” – RFA Website.
We envision a world where people and planet prosper together.
The Rainforest Alliance works to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods on coffee farms. The organisation works to promote healthy ecosystems and communities in some of the world’s most vulnerable ecosystems.
Improving the lives of coffee farmers.
While the global coffee industry is valued at $100 billion annually, the vast majority of coffee farmers see meagre earnings because they’re often paid so poorly for their beans. With few available options, many farmers end up either abandoning their land or destroying forests and wildlife habitat by clearing land for monoculture. Rainforest Alliance certification reverses this destructive cycle: Independent studies demonstrate that farmers who use RFA sustainable methods increase yields and achieve cost savings through more efficient farm management. Achieving certification also helps farmers reach new markets, negotiate better prices, improve their access to credit and earn a premium on their beans that they can use to build a more economically secure future.
Protecting the land.
Decades ago, coffee farms were virtually indistinguishable from the surrounding forest. Traditional coffee-growing methods depended on the shade of the forest canopy, which supported local wildlife, migratory birds and better bean quality. In the 1970s the introduction of a new hybrid coffee plant requiring agrochemicals and full-sun exposure led many farmers to cut down their forests and abandon their traditional ways. This high-tech approach to farming has devastated lands throughout the tropics.
On Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms, coffee grows in harmony with nature: soils are healthy, waterways are protected, rubbish is reduced or recycled, wildlife thrives and migratory bird habitat flourishes. In addition, hundreds of RFA farms have adopted climate-smart agriculture techniques that sequester carbon. Most importantly, farm communities learn the importance of protecting their natural resources, and they acquire the tools and resources to do so.
What are the differences between Rainforest Alliance and Fairtrade?
The Rainforest Alliance differs from Fairtrade in the focus and strategy of their missions.
Fairtrade’s standards are designed to tackle poverty and empower producers in the world’s poorest countries, giving them a guaranteed price for their products. Rainforest Alliance certification focuses on how farms are managed, with certification being awarded to farms that meet the comprehensive standards of the Sustainable Agriculture Standard, which encompasses all three pillars of sustainability – social, economic and environmental, and empowers farmers with the knowledge and skills to negotiate for themselves in the global marketplace. Rainforest Alliance certification and training teaches farmers, workers, and their families to farm efficiently and responsibly, growing their bottom lines today and conserving the fertile soils and natural resources on which they and their children will depend on in the future. At the heart of the Rainforest Alliance’s approach is the understanding that the health of the land is inextricably connected to the wellbeing of those who depend on it for their livelihoods.
We at John Street Beverage are incredibly proud that our very own Street&Co brand is a registered RFA product.