(Updated) Finca Platanillo in San Marcos, western Guatemala is the first coffee farm to be verified by Rainforest Alliance (RA) for compliance with the Climate Module of the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN, the standards-setting organization for RA). Less than a week later, it was announced that the well-known Daterra Estate in Minas Gerias, Brazil became the second farm to earn the verification.
I first reported on RA’s plan to develop this module in 2008. It isn’t a certification, but a voluntary add-on to RA certifcation. The module isn’t intended to indicate that a farm is carbon-neutral, or participates in carbon offsets, and doesn’t measure carbon stocks on farms.* The module’s goal is to encourage farmers to assess their climate risks, analyze their greenhouse gas emissions, maintain or increase carbon stocks on their lands (via habitat preservation or restoration), and identify best management practices to help them adapt to future climate change.
Verification occurs if farms comply with 80% of the 15 voluntary criteria of the module (the criteria are available in this PDF). Failure doesn’t effect the compliance score of regular RA certification. Farms can have the Climate Module audit done at the same time as their regular audit for RA certification; thus, it incurs no additional costs.
Finca Platanillo is 350 ha, of which nearly 40 are set aside as a protected area (although the ANACAFE site lists the area as 303 ha, of which 296 are cultivated). The finca grows bourbon, caturra, and catuai varieties at about 1150 to 1450 m; their maragogype is currently being offered by a number of roasters in Europe. In 2007, Finca Platanillo was one of the top-scoring farms in RA’s Cupping for Quality competition.
We reviewed several of Daterra’s coffees and provided background in this post. Daterra was also the first Rainforest Alliance-certified estate in Brazil (it consists of more than one farm). You can read more about the broad range of their long-standing sustainability efforts on their web site.
*RA and its partners have also worked on developing a guide for farmers on how to measure and verify carbon stored on coffee farms to enable producers to receive payments for carbon credits. See this post for details and a link to the guide.