Coffee drinkers interested in the impact of their morning cup o’ joe can now visit the website SealYourCup.org, which the Rainforest Alliance launched on January 5th. Through videos, slideshows and written accounts from the field, SealYourCup.org provides a window into the lives of farmers, their families and communities, educating consumers about the benefits of buying coffee that features the Rainforest Alliance Certified™ green frog seal.
More than 400 million cups of coffee are consumed each day in the United States alone, often without a thought about where or how the beans were grown. In fact the world’s coffee is produced in the tropics by more than 25 million people, and most coffee farms are located in areas regarded as high priorities for conservation.
Traditionally cultivated under the shade of the rainforest canopy, a new coffee hybrid was developed in the 1970s to grow in the sun. While sun-grown coffee generates a higher yield, this farming method often leads to deforestation, heavy agrochemical use, soil erosion, land degradation, water pollution and the destruction of wildlife habitat.
The Rainforest Alliance is working to bring coffee back into its natural habitat, restore local ecosystems and protect wildlife habitat. Through Rainforest Alliance certification, farmers learn the importance of protecting their natural resources and are given the financial incentive to do so.
To achieve Rainforest Alliance certification, farms must meet standards for sustainable agriculture that protect the environment and the rights and well-being of workers, their families and communities. Certified farms conserve biodiversity, prevent deforestation, protect waterways, recycle waste, reduce agrochemical use and provide habitat for wildlife. More than 43,300 coffee farms are Rainforest Alliance Certified, which means that 871,587 acres (352,719 hectares) of farmland are sustainably managed.
In addition to the environmental benefits that result from certified farming, workers operate in safe conditions, earn just wages and have access to clean water, medical care, decent housing and education for their children. Farmers often improve their management and business practices, which can increase crop yields and earnings.
To meet increasing consumer demand for sustainably produced goods, more coffee companies around the world are sourcing their beans from certified farms. Coffee from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms makes up an estimated 1.5 percent of global coffee exports, and it is estimated that over 87,583 metric tons of certified coffee were sold in 2009.
A number of conscientious companies have made significant commitments to increase their purchases of Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee beans, and through their support of the Seal Your Cup campaign, are helping consumers understand how their purchases impact farm communities and the environment.
Coffee drinkers can voice their own commitments to environmentally and socially responsible coffee by connecting with Seal Your Cup on Facebook and Twitter.
To learn more, visit www.sealyourcup.org
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