3 reasons to buy Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee

Costa Coffee has been available in HoReCa units, at home, and at work to the delight of coffee enthusiasts since May. However, for the coffee to get into our cup from the plantation, it must meet a number of sustainability requirements beforehand. In addition to the fact that less than one in twenty coffee beans meets Costa Coffee’s high quality standards, the company only use Rainforest Alliance Certified beans for all their coffees made around the world. What does this certification mean, who can get it, and who benefits from it?
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The great quality of Costa Coffee is guaranteed by the Costa brothers trying 112 different variations to create the now iconic Mocha Italia. Continuous tasting is an important part of the production process, as this is the only way they can be sure that the packages contain only perfect quality roasted coffee. This is not the only reason why Costa is special: beside quality, sustainability is also a priority for the company. That's why for all the Costa Coffee made around the world, they use only Rainforest Alliance (RFA) Certified coffee beans. It is also important for them to use only materials that are certified by the organization when choosing packaging materials, in order to avoid damaging the environment.

What does RFA means and why is it special?

Founded in 1986, the Rainforest Alliance (RFA) aims to preserve tropical forests. The only farms that can get a certification – in this case the coffee plantations Costa Coffee sources its coffee from – are the ones that meet the very strict criteria regarding the protection of rainforests. The certification’s goal is to protect rainforests, as well as the animals and people living near them, along with the sustainable farming of coffee, tea, and other plants. The Standard pays special attention to transparency from the plantation to the consumer, well-documented management systems, and compliance with Rainforest Alliance’s strict guidelines required for the use of their trademark.

Costa Coffee has been working with RFA since 2008 – they were the first coffee brand and franchise in the United Kingdom to source coffee from 100%  RFA Certified farms. Only 5% of the world’s coffee meets these high standards, but for Costa Coffee it’s a non-negotiable.

Good for the people living there

RFA Certified farms are better and safer workplaces. Those employed on large plantations are often the most vulnerable in the sector, so the certification of these farms protects and serves thousands of workers.

Farmers get a training on how to use land, water, and energy as efficiently as possible so that important resources are not wasted. These farming methods ultimately lead to higher productivity at lower production costs. The extra income generated this way is returned to local farmers and their communities. Researchers studied 600 farmers in Uganda and found that poverty rates on RFA Certified farms were 20% lower than for non-certified communities.

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Good for the environment

Farms certified by the Rainforest Alliance are also at the forefront of environmental protection. Satellite images of forests taken in 2005 and 2010 showed that the condition of forests in RFA Certified areas improved over time, while non-certified areas suffered massive degradation and destruction.

Good for business

RFA certification also benefits the business: 33 percent of consumers worldwide is already making purchasing decisions with sustainability in their mind. This is supported by the fact that sales of sustainable coffee products have grown 5.6 times faster than those that cannot claim to be this responsible.

According to Nielsen's research, Hungarian customers also prefer to take the products of environmentally conscious companies off the shelf: 80% of consumers think it is important for a company to be environmentally conscious, and in the case of Generation Y, this ratio is even higher – 33% of young people is willing to change brands or make a purchase decision based on environmental reasons.