It has long been known that Costa Rica scores pretty highly when it comes to environmental sustainability.
In 2009 and again last year, the New Economics Foundation put it in pole position on its Happy Planet Index, while also having named it as the greenest country in the world. In 2011, the same programme commended the nation for its efforts across five different environmental categories – namely greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, water use, water access and air pollution. The 2012 Environmental Performance Index placed it fifth in the world.
The UNDP Human Development Report 2011 entitled Sustainability and Equity: A Better Future For All also evidenced the country's commitment to protecting the planet, stating: "Successive governments in Costa Rica have implemented policies and built institutions with environmental objectives in mind."
However, its environmental sustainability efforts have now been further confirmed and proved, as the nation – which has pledged to become the world's first carbon neutral country by 2021 – has come in second place in a ranking of the world's most environmentally sustainable countries.
As far as this index is concerned, the only country to beat Costa Rica was Switzerland, with Albania coming in third and Colombia in fourth position.
What's more, the World Energy Council placed Costa Rica top of the eco-friendly leaderboard among Latin American nations, after it was confirmed that 90 per cent of its electricity came from renewable resources.
The figures speak for themselves
Looking at the statistics more closely, it is not hard to see why the organisation believes that Costa Rica deserves to be commended. Almost 76 per cent of its power comes from hydroelectric sources, while 17.7 per cent is derived from other renewables, such as wind turbines.
The report from the organisation also ranked countries according to their energy security and energy equity, combining the three scores to give an overall rating – for which Costa Rica came in 21st place. With 129 in the listing, this is still an impressive position in which to finish – especially given that the nation had come in 37th place last year.
It is for this reason that we are proud at DR Wakefield to count Costa Rica as one of the primary countries from which we source coffee, safe in the knowledge that we are supporting a trade which is not only kind to the farmers and the people involved, but also to our planet.
Challenges in the future
Nevertheless, the World Energy Council report explained how for countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), the primary challenges going forward will be economic ones, with disparities in income levels leaving a gaping chasm between the wealthier members of society and those who struggle to make ends meet.
That said, the report went on to say: "LAC is expected to see an economic growth rate of 3.5 per cent in 2013, with much higher rates of growth anticipated for Panama, Colombia and Peru."
Learn more about Costa Rican coffee
Anybody who would like to learn more about coffee trading in and with Costa Rica might like to keep an eye out for a relevant cupping session hosted by DR Wakefield – for example, the recent session held at Canning House in Belgrave Square on October 18th.
The event saw industry experts such as Alexis Alvarado and Carlos Rivera, president and director respectively, from the Coope Tarrazu – and many more – talking to attendees, who were given a round-up of news concerning coffee trading in the region.
However, the highlight of the day was arguably the cupping session, which gave people the chance to really get to grips with what constitutes a high-quality Costa Rican brew, as well as to learn more about the meticulous quality control process that we go through to test each and every coffee variety that we trade.
Following the talks and cupping experience, there was a traditional Costa Rican lunch and drinks for all those who wished to sample this. If you missed this, please do get in touch for information about upcoming sessions.