Daterra just achieved world’s highest Sustainability recognition! We are the first farm in the world to receive “Level A” certification from Rainforest Alliance.
Two years ago our farms received an award from Brazil’s most important agriculture news outlet as the most sustainable farm of Brazil. The award prompted us the thought: what to do next? Lots of new project were implemented since then.
Today, receiving the world’s first Rainforest Alliance – Level A certification is, indeed, a moment of celebration for Daterra – it means we might be on the right direction of our mission: producing coffee for a better world!
How did we get here?
It all started with a dream from Luis. He wanted to prove that sustainability does pay off – both in quality and profitability. That is how Daterra was born 35 years ago – first with milk, then fruits and cattle until we settled in coffee: it was the perfect culture to build Luis’ dream of making agriculture not only less impactful, but also able to regenerate the environment and give back to the community.
He bought his first piece of land for the coffee project in 1993. The farm was in very bad shape, and Luis needed a good agronomist for the mission of restoring it. Our Leopoldo, a.k.a. “Leo”, was the man for the job: he had green thumb, and the ability to translate Luis’ vision into reality.
At the time, the word sustainability wasn’t even spoken about. It wasn’t an important concept like today. How to make a sustainable agriculture in a time no one seemed to care about things like “saving water”, “protecting the fauna”, and so on? Luis counted on some of the most brilliant minds in agriculture at the time to teach us how to do it. The agronomy university, ESALQ, joined the cause and together we developed Daterra’s first environmental standards.
Daterra applied for the Rainforest Alliance certification 15 years ago. At the time, no farms in Brazil were RA certified. We then invited RA to use our lands to develop the certification standards applied to Brazilian conditions. Brazil is today the biggest RA-certified coffee producer in the world.
It was a tough journey. This philosophy threatened an old system that was easier and more profitable: an agricultural system that took as much as possible from the land, returning the least possible to it. Our beliefs were different, and we would stick to them, even when others tried to convince us the opposite.
Few people understand how complex is to grow specialty coffee, and it seemed pointless to insist on a cause that the market didn’t value. Countless times we heard that sustainability was not important because “you can’t taste it”. Luis and Leo were convinced of their beliefs though, and somehow they managed to bring all of Daterra’s team onboard.
Time passed and as the specialty coffee progressed, the industry’s values became aligned our own. It took over 20 years until the project “Daterra” became financially profitable. It was a long journey and we are proud of every bit of it.
Today we celebrate being the first Level A Rainforest Alliance certified farm in the world, and that started with a vision 35 years ago.
Also we celebrate those who shared that same vision with us over the years – our clients, farm workers, partners and friends – we did it together!
And it doesn’t stop here. We promise to keep pushing forward in what we believe.