JAPAN – Japanese beverage firm, Kirin Holdings, has launched a new initiative in Vietnam to support coffee plantations in the country to gain the Rainforest Alliance Certification.

The Rainforest Alliance Certification is an international certification system that allows plantations to monitor their agricultural activities for more sustainability by promoting environmental protection, affordable social equity and maintaining economic competitiveness.

Kirin Holdings said that the initiative in Vietnam is part of its commitment to farmers in areas of production to increase sustainability and to allow for the stable use of quality materials well into the future.

Vietnam ranks second to Brazil as a major coffee producer for the world. Kirin Group says that roughly 30% of the coffee beans imported by the company in 2019 were from Vietnam.

The produce is used by one of the group companies, Kirin Beverages, Hideki Horiguchi, President, in their coffee beverage brands including Kirin Fire.

However, the company noted that with majority of coffee plantations in Vietnam being small in scope, few appropriate agriculture training opportunities emerge resulting to “uninformed” agricultural practices.

Kirin plans to roll our training programmes as part of the support for acquiring certification enabling farmers to gain knowledge on how to reasonably use natural resources and find ways to flexibly respond to environmental changes, including climate changes.

The programmes aim at imparting a wide variety of new knowledge and skills, ranging from reducing the amount of water used and preventing pollution in rivers and streams, understanding biodiversity, to how to use shade cultivation, and how to prevent soil erosion.

This is expected to enable the coffee farmers learn how to bring down production costs while improving the quality of their coffee in addition to reducing environmental impacts.

The company said that support has started off with 400 smaller plantations and plans are underway to support ways to reduce water risks in coffee plantation areas in future.

The support form part of the Kirin Group Environmental Vision 2050, whose goal is to have achieved a society in 2050 that values sustainable biological resources, with a declaration to stand by plantations and to make the regions, where resources are produced, sustainable.

“To ‘Create a plentiful world through positive impacts’, our new efforts will begin to support the coffee plantations in Vietnam, an essential resource production region, as part of the Kirin Group Environmental Vision 2050,” the company said.

The beverage giant, which has been continuing similar initiatives for tea plantations in Sri Lanka since 2013, notes that it will apply experiences and knowledge gained from similar efforts in Sri Lanka to support coffee plantations in Vietnam.

The company initiated the citification system in Sri Lanka in 2013 which culminated to 87 major tea plantations being certified with support from the Kirin Group – as of the end of 2019.

Kirin estimates that this is equivalent to roughly 30% of all major tea plantations in Sri Lanka that have acquired Rainforest Alliance Certification.

From 2018, the company also began efforts to support the acquisition of certification by smaller tea plantations, as well as to conserve and protect the water resources within plantations.

The company targets that by the end of 2025, more than 10,000 smaller tea plantations will have acquired Rainforest Alliance Certification.