In order to celebrate Earth Day, we wanted to share a little on coffee and sustainability, something really important for us here at Gento Coffee.
So first of all, what on earth is sustainable coffee? Defined generally, it’s coffee that is grown in a way that conserves nature and provides better livelihoods for the people who grow and process it.
How do we at Gento Coffee promote sustainable environmental practices?
98% of Guatemalan coffees are shade-grown so all the coffees we offer are grown under conditions that preserve natural forests and environment. Mostly come from poly-shade eco-systems with native trees that contribute to the biodiversity of the farm.
We seek to promote circular systems (use, re-use, and re-incorporate) with all our producing partners: shade, soil nutrition, composting, wastewater treatment, etc. We strive to promote the most sustainable practices in everything we do and incorporate all byproducts produced at the farm back into the soil to make sure there is no waste. One popular practice is to compost the pulp from coffee cherries together with other natural components, such as manure, becoming a great source of organic fertilizer for our coffee plants.
Prohibiting the Use of Harmful Chemicals
Gento Coffee does not support the use of harmful chemicals. Some chemicals, such as herbicides, are very harmful to the soils, its microorganisms and flora, so we seek to only partner with coffee farms that do not use these chemicals.
Social sustainability, what do livelihoods have to do with it?
Some 120 million people rely on coffee for their livelihoods, the majority of them small-scale farmers and farm workers. As in any other sector, coffee buyers want to buy low and sell high — but in increasingly volatile markets, this does not always work in the favor of farmers and farm workers and can lead to exploitation of workers to maintain artificially low prices. Meeting these low prices can compel farmers to clear more forests, use low-quality pesticides and rely on cheap labor.
Even though we all like budget-friendly products, it’s important to know that cheap can come at a cost, on the environment or on people’s wellbeing.
Here at Gento Coffee, we do not cut corners. We are dedicated to continuing to ensure our family farm and our coffee farming partners continue to implement sustainable farming practices and pay above fair trade prices to ensure higher incomes for farming families in Guatemala.
Read more about our mission and commitment to sustainability here.