Racafe have been exporting coffee from Colombia for 70 years now, since their foundation back in 1953. Our journey with Racafe began over a decade ago and since then they have been a highly valued partner to us. The introduction of their Crecer project really resonated with us, and we knew that it is something we wanted to support from the beginning.
What is the Crecer project?
Crecer was introduced in 2020 as Racafe’s internal sustainability standard with the aim of conserving both biodiversity of the environment and the communities who live and cultivate coffee within those environments.
The project is funded through a premium added to the coffee Racafe sells. This money is kept separate and used to support the participating farmers and producers in a number of ways. Crecer is primarily focused at farmer level, looking how best to assist farmers in sustainable practices which will help them protect the future of their farm and livelihood, as well as increasing the quality of their coffee.
Looking at the ‘sustainability’ of anything can be very hard to do, and it is often difficult to know where to start. Crecer breaks this down into three categories: environmental, social and economic. And within those three categories, there are 21 ‘indicators’ by which to accurately assess the category. For example, some of the indicators to assess how environmentally sustainable a farm is are looking at the biodiversity on a farm, looking at how weeds are controlled and how pesticides may be used. As well as how both organic and inorganic waste is dealt with, and how water is used for irrigation and processing.
However, as you can see, this project does not just look at environmental sustainability, but Racafe recognize the importance of social and economic sustainability, it considers the immediate and future benefit to the farmers involved as well as the benefit to the planet. Through offering training and business advice, amongst other things, it means that Crecer can tangibly improve farmers lives by making their farms more profitable.
Every farmer who is part of the Crecer project is given a field notebook to guide them in making sustainable plans for the future of their farm, and for monitoring the progress. They can chart how their current state for each category against all the indicators on a diagram, see below:
This visualization makes it clear which areas they are already strong in, and where they should focus their efforts to improve. They can then use the notebook to track in detail each different indicator.
Not only does this help keep track and monitor the progress made, it also serves as a detailed story of an individual farm’s history and sustainability journey.
The benefits of Crecer are not only felt at farm level, but throughout the supply chain. Beyond the positive impact on the planet, which of course benefits us all, but it also strengthens the human connection between producers and roaster, and even consumers, offering highly traceable, quality coffee which also promotes sustainable practices.
Want to support the Crecer project? Speak to a member of the trade team about supporting Crecer through your Colombian coffee.