Production of Rainforest Alliance-certified coffee increased 45 percent in 2012 over 2011, a reflection of the commitments of some huge purchasers, including McDonald’s, Caribou Coffee, GMCR, Second Cup and Nespresso. The nonprofit agency announced last week that coffee produced on its certified farms last year reached 375,000 metric tons, representing 4.5 percent of total global production.
“By choosing to source coffee from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms, companies are having demonstrable impacts on the ground, conserving natural resources and improving the lives and livelihoods of farm communities,” Tensie Whelan, president of the Rainforest Alliance, said in an announcement of the 2012 figures. “More companies are realizing that sustainable certification also makes good business sense, ensuring long-term viability of supply-chains.”
Rainforest Alliance-certified farms are required to meet the social, environmental and economic standards of the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN), designed to also assist farm families, in addition to the ecosystems in which they work.
The exponential uptick in Rainforest Alliance production is tied directly to commitments from some of the world’s largest coffee companies. For example, McDonald’s USA recently began sourcing 100% of its espresso from Rainforest Alliance-certified farms. The fast food company also serves Rainforest Alliance coffees in Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and some European markets. In January 2012, Caribou Coffee became the first major US coffeehouse to source 100 percent of its coffee and espresso beans from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms, although time will tell how the closing of Caribou stores throughout the country will affect the sustainability practices of its ownership group, Joh. A Benckiser.
Second Cup now purchases over 90 percent of its coffees from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms, and all of its tea and tisanes carry the green frog seal. Green Mountain Coffee Roasters’ Timothy’s World Coffee brand achieved its 2012 goal of 50 percent of its sold coffee coming from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms and aims to reach 70 percent by 2013.
The Rainforest Alliance says that there are now 118,000 coffee farms covering almost 800,000 acres (323,500 hectares) of certified farms.