Image: Green Mountain Coffee
Green Mountain Coffee announced a partnership today with USAID and Fair Trade USA that in theory will build upon fair trade certification to promote biodiversity and environmental education in the coffee-growing communities of Brazil. It's called the Sustainable Sourcing Partnership Project and in addition to promoting organic practices, it's "designed to support Fair Trade certification for new producer organizations and increase the amount of land under enhanced environmental protection through this certification."Laura Ann Sweitzer of Fair Trade USA wrote about the partnership:
The two-year initiative is designed to maximize the sustainability of Brazilian small-holder coffee cooperatives by delivering assistance in three areas:
1) increasing the Brazilian hectareage under cultivation according to Fair Trade's environmental standards
2) strengthening the ability of Brazilian small-holders to produce organic-certified coffees for export to the U.S. marketplace; and
3) building local capacity for more sustainable agronomy.
In essence, the project advocates for a better world by encouraging the production of coffee that is good for the consumer, the farmer and for the earth.
She quoted Beatriz Souza Pereira from Unipasv, a cooperative in Brazil: "Our collaboration with the work of Fair Trade USA has been without a doubt an important experience of professional growth and incomparable success."
A little more about how it works, from the press release:
The new collaboration will build on the success of previous programs from USAID and Fair Trade USA to enable participating farmers to continue to make high-volume sales, while diversifying their client bases with higher-value sales to new sustainability- and quality-oriented customers such as Green Mountain Coffee. Green Mountain Coffee and USAID both contributed $200,000 to fund the initiative, and Fair Trade USA is spearheading the program and providing technical and staff expertise. In 2010, Green Mountain Coffee substantially increased its commitment to responsible sourcing by converting two of its most popular coffees to be Fair Trade Certified™.
No doubt Green Mountain does a lot to promote fair and eco-friendly practices. One gripe, however, about the company: it can do away with its single-use coffee pods, which are far from sustainable. As a green leader in the industry, it can do better than promote plastic and disposable culture.
The partnership in Brazil is a good example of how.
More on Green Mountain and fair trade coffee
Green Mountain Coffee + Jane Goodall = Happy Chimps
Cuban Organic Shade-Grown Coffee from Merchants of Green Coffee
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters' Organic, Fair Trade Frappuccino™ Alternative