We recently had the pleasure of touring Brazil, and one of our main objectives was to visit Renato Farhat Brito and his father Marcelo Renato Brito who own and operate the Sete Cachoeiras Estate Coffee, Rainforest Alliance farm in Sul De Minas Brazil (Sul De Minas is one of the largest coffee growing areas in Brazil).
The reason we wanted to visit this farm in particular is because it is one of approximately 15 farms in Brazil that are certified Rainforest Alliance. What makes Sete Cachoeiras unique over the other Rainforest Alliance farms is that they go well beyond their requirements for certification, and when they originally applied for this certification, it took very little effort to accomplish this goal as Renato and Marcelo already believed and practiced the philosophy’s of protecting the environment and treating their employees with the respect and compensation that they deserved. This farm is also Utz Kapeh Certified.
Their practices are focused on People and Environment:
-Access to education and health services by all employees.
-Full benefits for permanent and temporary employees.
- On-farm club and sports facilities for all employees.
- 20% of farm area occupied by natural forests and other native vegetation.
- Waste-water from wet milling treated in ponds before safe disposal.·
Environmental, social and economic sustainability standards well above the regional average:
- Modern coffee processing infrastructure designed to get the most quality out of coffee beans in response to market requirements.
They currently employee approximately 180 full time staff who get paid more than double the minimum wage for their work. This is also true for the 300 part time staff who are employed during harvest season.
What really stuck out was that every employee was also eligible to a bonus every month which could reach 30-40% of their wage and are based on the following 5 criteria:·
1) Accuracy in their job
2) Attitude while they work
3) Cleanliness and organization of their homes
4) Ensuring their wives are cared for
5) Ensuring that their children are going to school and doing well
Why we found this amazing is that Renato and Marcelo are basing a lot of their staff’s bonuses on how they care for their families and homes. They are looking to ensure that they not only improve the lives of their staff, but that the wages and bonuses they receive also positively affect their home lives.
This is also evident in seeing the large bus’s on the farm which are used to transport the employee’s back to the cities and towns nearby. Renato and Marcelo both feel that their employees should live at home with their families, not on the farm so they invested in transportion to and from the farm every day.
FINALLY Fratello has have found a certification and an Estate Coffee farm that you can trace back the premium “fair” funds paid on every pound of coffee and see how it is not only effecting the quality and the wages paid to the WORKERS, but also to their FAMILIES.
We are looking forward to importing this superb coffee and sharing it with our own families and friends and look forward to visiting with our new friends the next time we are in Brazil. This coffee will be available March 2008.