Why are we following the frog with Rainforest Alliance Certified Coffee? When we started Bristol Twenty Coffee Company, we knew that we wanted quality and responsibility to define us. But when we took the leapt to roasting our own coffee in 2014, that idea of responsibility became paramount. We had to decide how to maintain a focus on quality coffee while being responsible members of the complex supply chain that is coffee. It was through researching this that we got to know the Rainforest Alliance.
Who is the Rainforest Alliance?
When choosing our green coffee from diverse countries around the world, we examined numerous certifying organizations, and found the sustainability-focused values of Rainforest Alliance to be most in line with our own.
Their work goes beyond the environment and into the lives of all who work on the land, including initiatives to improve children’s access to education, promoting gender equity, and working to bring farm families up to a true living wage.
Launching Our New Blend
In 2020, we are hoping to bring more of our blended coffees—the bulk of our roasting operation—further in line with Rainforest Alliance certification. For a while now we have stocked a few single origins that are Rainforest Alliance Certified™, our Colombia Las Acacias Estate being one of our most popular coffees.
February 2020 will see the launch of our first 100% fully Rainforest Alliance Certified™ espresso blend.
A unique blend of coffees from Las Acacias Estate in Colombia, Daterra cooperative in Brazil and the COCAFELOL cooperative in Honduras.
The Road Ahead To Full Certification
Bringing our blend program towards full certification is not going to be a simple task, not only because we will need to purchase from new farms that are already Rainforest Alliance Certified, but because we want to work together with our existing partner farms to help them obtain certification.
Our partnership together will lead us to the iconic “Frog” seal which symbolizes a long-term investment in the quality and sustainability of each farm’s supply chain.
The Rainforest Alliance and their comprehensive certification most closely match our own values and what we would want to include in our own program if we were to build it from the ground up.
We believe that supporting the Rainforest Alliance and their three pillars of sustainability (social, economic and environmental) helps us achieve our goals for sustainability.
In 2018, the Rainforest Alliance merged with UTZ, a leading certification program for coffee, tea, cocoa, and hazelnuts.
We’re now even prouder to have aligned our goals with those of the Rainforest Alliance for our coffees, and are honoured to make their good work better known from our own small corner of the world.
As part of this year’s Rainforest Alliance “Follow the Frog” campaign, we encourage our friends and customers to take closer note of the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal on our packaging, and encourage them to #FollowTheFrog and look for this seal when they purchase agricultural and forestry products, such as coffee, tea, chocolate, flowers, household paper, and dozens more.
Frogs are indicator species, meaning that they are a symbol of environmental health, and they are found on every continent except Antarctica. The Rainforest Alliance green frog certification seal indicates that a farm, forest, or tourism enterprise has been audited to meet standards that require environmental, social, and economic sustainability. Thousands of products bearing the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal are found on shelves, in advertisements, and websites around the world.
Rainforest Alliance Certified™ Farms
In order to become certified, farms must meet the criteria of the Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Agriculture Standard. The Standard encompasses all three pillars of sustainability—social, economic, and environmental.
Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms are audited regularly to verify that farmers are complying with the Standard’s comprehensive requirements, which require continual improvement on the journey to sustainable agriculture. The Standard is built on these important principles of sustainable farming:
- Biodiversity conservation
- Improved livelihoods and human well-being
- Natural resource conservation
- Effective planning and farm management systems
Healthy forests and vibrant communities are an essential part of the global climate solution.
Rainforest Alliance is currently developing a new agriculture certification program, following their 2018 merger with UTZ (a leading certification program for coffee, tea, cocoa and hazelnuts). As part of this, they have begun a process to refresh and modernize the green frog seal, while capitalizing on the existing strong consumer recognition and brand value.
From July 1, 2019, companies can source Rainforest Alliance or UTZ Certified ingredients (or a mixture of both) and then use either the Rainforest Alliance Seal or UTZ label on their packaging. All the same labelling rules still apply.
The two existing certification schemes are similar in terms of objectives and impact, companies using the UTZ logo or the Rainforest Alliance seal have sourced ingredients from farms audited to meet social, environmental and economic standards.
The Rainforest Alliance is one of the founding members of the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®), the largest sustainable forestry standard setter in the world. Products that bear the FSC mark and the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal are sourced from forests that:
- Protect endangered species and forest areas of high conservation value
- Set aside a portion of land as forest reserve
- Provide workers with decent wages
- Follow FSC guidelines that determine how, when, and where timber and non-timber forest products are harvested
- Respect the rights of local communities and indigenous people