What is certified coffee?
Certificated coffee means which takes the industry sustainability into account, either it takes responsibility in environment, brings or increases incoming for farmers, or promote fairness among coffee industry workers. It can involve in all above aspects as well. Certified coffee is a label indicates the company aims to contribute on industry sustainability.
Rainforest Alliance certification
Rainforest alliance is a non-profit organization, it aims to create a more sustainable world which human and nature will thrive harmony. To get certified, means where the coffee grows, the forests, soils, rivers and wildlife are conserved. Certified products or ingredients are produced in a way support one of three pillars-society, economy environment or all of them. Simply put, its where the nature is not compromised to our coffee needs. It focuses on following themes, forests, climates, human rights and livelihoods.
Organic coffee is an official certification by USDA( U.S. Department of Agriculture). It confirms the products comply with the strict organic standards for the whole supply chain. No pesticides, synthetic fertilizers and other artificial chemistries are used during the process from bean to cup. The soil must be chemical free for more than 3 years. It includes every stage of the product, transport, store, roast and final package, processing under the strictest organic guidelines.
Bird friendly certificationBird friendly certification means the coffee grows underneath shade trees, sequester carbon, fight with the climate change and provide habitat for birds and other wildlife. It covers every aspect about the bird habitat, from the canopy height to insect diversity, to protect the wildlife where the coffee grows. Bird friendly certification is also organic, the certified products grow naturally without using any of pesticides or other chemicals. While it puts a lot of weight on environment and biodiversity, farmers’ interest are also cared, Bird Friendly producers can also earn more for their crops. Timber and fruit tress on the farm also bring additional incomes for bird friendly producers.
Fair trade certification
Fair trade certificated products means they meet the rigorous standards on social, economic and environment. Specifically safe working conditions, environmental protection, sustainable livelihoods, and community development funds. Fair trade’ central goal is to eliminate poverty to support the sustainability of the industry, by setting the minimum prices for all commodities to ensure industry workers’ and farmers’ incoming.
Sustainability is a very abstract and broad idea. It involves 3 aspects, profit, environment and people.
1.Higher altitude, higher quality of coffee. As the global climate changes, farmers move to higher mountain to plant, higher altitude means less farm lands.
- cooler environment delays the growing cycle, which creates richer and fuller tastes.
- Extended development also deepens the typical flavor of the region, and ensures the stronger and harder beans.
2.Biodiversity. 80% deforestation are made room for agriculture land, as the demand of coffee increases, we need to find more efficient and productive ways to produce our food.
3.Water shortage is a global challenge, the coffee industry consumes much water during its production, considering the annual rainfall is unpredictable, its
quite a challenge for farmers.
Economic and social sustainabilityThe key to maintain industry sustainability is to guarantee industry workers and farmers’ profit. As a commodity, volatile coffee price has huge impact on
industry labor life quality, including access to education, housing and basic needs. With increasing demands of coffee, farmers have to move to higher
mountain for lands and growing better quality coffee. Geographical isolation increases the harvest transportation cost and the difficulty of have practical
Another fact is the inequality between genders on incoming. Female farm workers earn less than male, as they have limited access to resources. The root cause is the less development in coffee growing community.
Despite the gender issued mentioned, another problem is the child labour. In many farmers cases, the whole families reply on coffee, during the harvest
season, children help to pick coffee cherries instead of going to school. For long time, it forms a vicious cycle.