Talking coffee and sustainability with Jefferson Adorno – Brazilian coffee farmer

“I’m so proud to produce a sustainable coffee. Our Kaynã is a good coffee, good for those who consume it, good for those who help produce it and good for the planet. Knowing that there are people who value all this when they choose which coffee to buy encourages us to continue.

Jefferson Adorno (44), is a coffee farmer who lives and breathes sustainability. Jefferson’s Kaynã coffee grown in the São Paulo state of Brazil, is certified to UTZ and has been recognized with the prestigious Brazil Outstanding Coffee Grower award.

We caught up with Jefferson to find out how sustainability helps drive his work.

Jefferson, first of all: what brought you to coffee farming?

15 years ago I left my career in electronic engineering to start helping my father here on the coffee farm. My parents had already invested in improving conditions for workers on the farm and I built on that work to start developing environmental actions and new management techniques. After five years of hard work and difficulties we received the prestigious award ‘Brazil Outstanding Coffee Grower’ in 2009. This gave us courage and reinforced our belief that we were heading in the right direction.

Today I manage the farm with support from my wife Marianna, an agronomist and professor at UNIPINHAL University. Together with our two sons and daughter we live at the farm.

Why is sustainability important to you?

Sustainability for me is a very broad concept that is present in everything we do in our day-to-day lives. It comes down to the ethics of how we relate to each other – treating others as we would like them to treat us. This is what helps me take the rights decisions day to day whether that involves management issues on the coffee plantation, preservation of water sources, correct disposal of waste, or ensuring a good quality of life for our employees and their families who live here on the farm.

For me, you can’t put a fence around sustainability. We need to think bigger and to consider the impacts of what we do on our neighbours and our municipality and beyond. Whether that is providing services to our neighbourhood, analysing the river water coming out of our farm to make sure it is cleaner than when it came in or inviting school children here to learn about the environment.

How has UTZ certification benefited you?

In 2010 we became Rainforest Alliance certified and achieved UTZ certification in 2013. Becoming UTZ certified was a long-held ambition for us but it was hard to achieve because as a small-scale operation it was hard to cover the costs of two audits per year. Fortunately with the help of Volcafé, the coffee exporter, we were able to overcome this obstacle.

There have been many benefits to UTZ certification particularly in relation to food safety and traceability. We’ve also been able to improve our first aid training, implement better integrated pest management techniques and improve our record keeping in the field. UTZ certification brings credibility to what we do and gives consumers confidence in sustainably produced coffee.

What’s your ambition for the future?

The only way our planet can provide a good future for our children is if the sustainability movement gains scale. Just doing our part isn’t enough – we need to drop seeds of sustainability everywhere, and help create change on a much bigger scale.

Want to read more about what sustainable coffee means to Jefferson and the workers on his plantation? Have a look at his website!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s