Everardo Bernstorff is committed to operating Santa Elena as a profitable and socially responsible organic shade coffee farm that conserves and protects biodiversity. The 660-acre (267-hectare) property in Chiapas, Mexico offers living proof that it is possible and profitable to run a business that conserves nature and provides jobs and decent working conditions for local people.
Researchers from the University of the Andes in Colombia used spot satellite imagery to map forest cover within the coffee production landscape. They compared Rainforest Alliance Certified and noncertified coffee farms, and analyzed forest-cover fragmentation. Since most farms in the region grow coffee under shade, forest cover was found to play an important role in the degree of connectivity in the landscape. (The study is only available in Spanish.)
German immigrants, the Keller family established their coffee farm in 1899. Just short of a century later, in 1997, it was the second coffee estate to become Rainforest Alliance Certified for complying with the comprehensive environmental and social standards established by the Sustainable Agriculture Network -- a coalition of conservation groups coordinated by the Rainforest Alliance. Today, Finca Santa Isabel is a model of sustainability.