Fair Trade Protects the Planet
Meet Coocaminas: Brazilian Coffee Cooperative
Coocaminas, Fair Trade Coffee Cooperative, Brazil
“For me it is priceless to see my four-year old child pick up a plastic bag in the yard and say: 'Daddy, you cannot dirty the environment!” – Coffee farmer and father, Poco Fundo, Brazil
At the core of Fair Trade Certified standards is the guarantee of fair prices and labor practices. But did you know that the standards also lay out guidelines for environmental sustainability? In the green hills of Southern Brazil, a small but mighty cooperative takes this requirement very seriously - Coocaminas puts the environment front and center of their coffee production.
Meet Coocaminas - 77 farmers strong and dedicated to preserving the cool, verdant landscape they depend on for their family’s survival. Examining the full production cycle, from seeding to post-harvest, the members of Coocaminas are working to increase environmental awareness within their community.
To green the cooperative's coffee growing techniques, a group of farmers was chosen and trained to be part of an environmental audit team.
This team visits each farmer’s land each year to conduct environmental inspections. The inspections offer an opportunity for cooperative members to exchange green farming techniques and as one farmer says “The awareness of our members today is far greater, and they themselves propose actions that we can implement in the cooperative.”
Community-wide everyone stopped burning trash on their properties and have decreased their children's exposure to toxic inhalants. Coocaminas serves as an example for other coffee-producing organizations and its members are proud to spread a greener philosophy to neighboring communities.
Commitment to protecting the environment has paid off. Coocaminas farmers have seen improvement of soil quality, plant health, and their local habitat. They say “Always, every year we find more ways to improve ourselves and learn!”
This year celebrate Earth Day the Fair Trade way. Brew a cup of Fair Trade Certified coffee, split a gourmet Fair Trade chocolate bar with a friend, or click here to share a green Gift of Fairness with a friend.
In order to obtain Fair Trade certification, producer organizations are required to adhere to baseline Fair Trade environmental standards. Additionally, they must assess the environmental impacts of members’ operations, develop plans designed to mitigate those impacts and monitor the implementation of those plans. Through this environmental impact assessment, organizations are encouraged to progress toward higher standards and to increase their sustainable production.