ACHIEVEMENT BASED ON STRONG FAITH
Daterra is the first farm of the world to achieve highest certification on sustainability
Daterra has been awarded the highest level of sustainability recognition in the world! They are notable for being the first farm in the world to receive Rainforest Alliance” Level A” accreditation.
The Rainforest Alliance (RFA) seal indicates that a farm has been audited to meet sustainability standards relating to environmental, social, and economic factors. To become certified, producers must meet criteria set by the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN), a coalition of conservation groups. SAN standards are built on principles of sustainable farming, including biodiversity conservation, improved livelihoods and human wellbeing, natural resource conservation, and effective planning and farm management systems. Only 30 percent of a producer’s coffee beans must meet RFA conditions for the seal to be used on packaging. Audits are conducted on an annual basis by trained auditors, including teams of biologists and agronomists authorized and monitored by SAN.
With this Rainforest Alliance Certification, Daterra established the fundamental principles of sustainable agriculture, including best management practices; conservation of natural resources, ecosystems, and wildlife; workers’ rights and benefits; and benefits to local communities.
Luis, the owner of Daterra, wanted to prove that sustainability does pay off – both in quality and profitability. Daterra was born to make agriculture less impactful and able to regenerate the environment and give back to the community.
He built up his dream with the first piece of land for the coffee project in 1993. And to ensure the best conditions for formation and development, he needed Leopoldo, the man who had a green thumb and the ability to translate Luis’ vision into reality. Luis also believed and found some of the most brilliant minds in agriculture at the agronomy university, ESALQ. Daterra gradually took shape with the first standards.
Daterra applied for the Rainforest Alliance certification 17 years ago. At the time, no farms in Brazil were RA certified. They then invited RA to use their lands to develop the certification standards applied to Brazilian conditions. Brazil is today the biggest RA-certified coffee producer in the world.
There are very difficult journeys – not only because the process is so challenging, there are many things to learn and invest in, but there are also many invisible things that are difficult to say when developing in an environment with too many prejudices from the old agronomic system, or some persuasion tried to convince them the opposite.
At the time, the word sustainability wasn’t even spoken about. It wasn’t an important concept like today. How to make sustainable agriculture in a time no one seemed to care about things like “saving water,” “protecting the fauna,” and so on? Few people understand how complex it is to grow specialty coffee, and it seemed pointless to insist on a cause that the market didn’t value. Luis and Leo were convinced of their beliefs, though they somehow managed to bring all of Daterra’s team onboard.
Time passed, and as the specialty coffee progressed, the industry’s values became aligned with their own. It took over 20 years until the project “Daterra” became financially profitable. It was a long journey, and they are proud of every bit of it.