Rainforest Alliance, Nespresso partner to conserve environment in Latin America

The Rainforest Alliance, an international conservation organization, has teamed up with Nespresso, the espresso manufacturing branch of Nestlé, to promote environmental sustainability and social responsibility on the farms that produce coffee for Nespresso’s gourmet espresso capsules.

With funding by the International Financial Corporation (IFC), the alliance says this effort will spur substantial improvements in both coffee quality and the sustainability of farming techniques in Costa Rica as well as in Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia and Brazil.

“We applaud the effort that Nestlé Nespresso has made in getting farms on the path toward sustainability and success,” said Chris Wille, chief of agriculture at the Rainforest Alliance. “We welcome the opportunity to work with the IFC, which will allow us to bring the benefits of sustainable agriculture to many more farmers and rural communities while protecting the environment on which their future depends.”

With its Sustainable Quality Nespresso AAA program, Nestlé Nespresso will evaluate the more than 4,500 plantations from which it sources coffee. The farms will be appraised using a series of standards developed by the Rainforest Alliance specifically for Nespresso.

The Rainforest Alliance and its partners in the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN), a coalition of locally-based conservation organizations, will support the program by dispatching their in-country agronomy specialists to carry out independent farm evaluations.

Though the Rainforest Alliance and the SAN are known worldwide for certifying farms and forests, they are not certifying the coffee farms in the Nespresso program. Rather, they are working with Nestlé and the Ecom Agronindustrial Corporation, a leading commodities distributor, to develop an innovative system that helps producers learn plantation management practices that can improve the quality of the beans.

The Rainforest Alliance and the SAN verify that the farms in the AAA program are actually implementing better methods and are decreasing their impact on the natural world. Through this program, farmers will learn sustainable farming techniques and how to improve workplace conditions and the quality of their coffee.

The IFC, a World Bank member, will fund the program with a grant of $500,000 over two years.

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