What is the Rainforest Alliance?
At its most simple definition, the Rainforest Alliance is a nonprofit international organization that strives to sustain and conserve biodiversity around the globe. What does that have to do with coffee? Considering that coffee farms and ranches are located in many of the world’s rain forests and sub-tropical regions, it is important. In the effort to sustain the environment, more coffee growers today than ever before are involved in the Rainforest Alliance.
Coffee is one of the most popular imports and exports around the world, and environmentalists have long been concerned regarding the growth and demand of this commodity. Not so much that inhabitants around the world love their coffee, but the effect that growing that coffee has on our planet. The Rainforest Alliance formed in the early 1990s. Their vision and focus is two-pronged; supporting coffee farms that grow coffee in certain areas, as well as providing a protected and safe environment for wildlife.
The Rainforest Alliance and its members promote organic agricultural or forestry systems that not only allow coffee growers to make a living, but also systems that continue to provide safe and natural habitats for local wildlife. By reducing the amount of chemicals utilized to keep coffee trees healthy, pollution and soil erosion has decreased, less land has been destroyed, and more wildlife has survived.
For example, a coffee farmer who is Rainforest Alliance certified receives help and support from the alliance in weathering global market demand, learning about improved methods of farm management, and in their ability to not only improve the quality of their crops but also to stabilize growth production and costs.
Biodiversity is essential to many tropical and sub tropical environments and locations. The Rainforest Alliance mentions how a certified coffee grower can help save the environment while still making a living. They use as an example an El Salvador certified coffee grower who utilizes land that contains more than 100 species of trees, home to a wide variety of wildlife. Such coffee farms and ranches have reduced, or at the very least slowed down deforestation while at the same time providing livable and natural habitats for area wildlife. Do your part. The next time you buy coffee, look for the Rainforest Alliance seal.