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¡Tierra! was Lavazza’s first independent CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility). It was also the first sustainability project to be translated into a product — now a line of products — which offers the highest quality and continues to evolve.
The ¡Tierra! project was started in 2002. The first phase, which ended in 2009, involved three communities in Peru, Honduras and Colombia. The second phase, launched in 2010, involves India, Brazil and Tanzania.
Both phases share three key aims:
To achieve these goals, plans have been set up to improve, simplify and make coffee production more efficient; homes, schools and infirmaries have been built or restructured, and micro projects have been established.
The results meet the needs of everyone involved — the project beneficiaries, who have become fully independent producers of a better green coffee, the company, and coffee lovers, who can enjoy two new Lavazza blends which are sustainable and excellent at the same time.
In 2005 the three communities involved in the first phase of the project received the important Rainforest Alliance certification.
Stefano Arienti, Vanessa Beecroft, Maurizio Donzelli, Mihret Kebede, Nico Vascellari and Francesco Vezzoli are the six internationally-acclaimed artists chosen by Lavazza to design the ¡Tierra! Limited Edition for 2013.
As part of the Vogue Talents project promoted by Vogue Italia, Lavazza has put on sale a limited-edition series of six designer coffee tins, and will be donating the proceeds to Fashion 4 Development, the UN programme intended to promote the work of African women through fashion.
The work of the ¡Tierra! project in Tanzania is leading the communities to improve the quality of the coffee they grow. The usual attention is being paid to providing ongoing training to the caficultores, through pilot schemes and courses on production management and sustainable farming techniques.
In this region, the ¡Tierra! project has involved more than 750 local producers and their families. The first milestone on this journey was the building and inauguration of the MaseRing Nursery School in the village of Maande in the Kirua region, at an altitude of 1,200m on the slopes of Kilimanjaro. The project was made possible by the collaboration between the Kirua Children Association and the Lavazza Foundation.
The school was inaugurated in July 2012 in the presence of the project managers including Cristina Barettini, representative of the Kirua Children Association, Father Peter Kilasara of CSSp and MaseRing School Director, Francesca Lavazza, children from the local villages and their parents. It has been enthusiastically received by the whole community.
Lavazza produces ¡Tierra! Limited Edition for Africa, with the help of six of Italy's top fashion names: Marni, Cavalli, Versace, Missoni, Etro and Moschino, who have designed and “dressed” the Lavazza ¡Tierra! Coffee tin that will be previewed at Vogue Fashion’s Night Out 2012. This ambitious project is aimed at raising funds for Fashion 4 Development, a UN partner organisation which uses the fashion world to develop strategies for women’s independence and assertion.
The ¡Tierra! project started out in these three countries, in three communities of small-scale coffee growers. When the project ended in 2009, numerous positive results had been achieved.
The communities involved had attained full autonomy, thanks also to the creation of a profit and loss account for each undertaking.
Today the caficultores are able to sell their product directly, without turning to intermediaries, thus allowing them to get the best prices and earn more equitably.
all the cultivations plantations have received Rainforest Alliance certification.
Lavazza ¡Tierra!, the coffee made from three local varieties of washed Arabica, has been added to the Lavazza range and has been praised widely on all levels by Italian and international consumers.
Various economic, social and environmental interventions have helped to improve the living conditions of the communities, as can be noted in the details about the individual countries.
The project has paid a great deal of attention to training the coffee growers, who have been given the chance to participate in courses and pilot cultivations to learn how to manage production and use sustainable growing techniques.
The opening of two banks offering loans has given further impetus to productivity and the quality of the coffee that is grown.
The project involved two communities, Ñagazú and Alto Churumazú, in the Villa Rica area, where high-quality parchment coffee is grown. The main objective was to increase production to 1.4 million kg per year by building new plants to improve processing. Furthermore, the work also had more social and environmental aspects, such as a new school which made it possible to educate 370 people in six years.
In this small community Lavazza wanted to demonstrate how sustainable coffee cultivation is possible and beneficial for all.
Alongside operations to make processing more competitive and raise the quality, while minimising the environmental impact, Lavazza implemented social initiatives in the spirit of Tierra, such as a new school reforestation and micro-credit facilities.
The project involved a community in the Department of Huila, an area known for growing excellent product but currently in great difficulty due to widespread guerrilla warfare and the coffee crisis. The operations initially involved the most basic needs — the construction or renovation of homes, the installation of septic tanks and processing plants, first aid, food and education support — followed by work to make the plantations compliant with the Rainforest Alliance certification standards. Other initiatives:
The second phase of the ¡Tierra! project, launched in 2010, involves communities of small local coffee growers in Brazil, India and Tanzania. As always, equal attention is paid to coffee quality and the growers’ living conditions. The various projects envisage environmental, social and economic conditions, with the specific aim of improving agricultural practices, such as soil analysis, the proper use of fertilisers, improved pruning techniques, sustainable techniques and so on.
The project involves coffee growers from the municipality of Lambari, in southern Minas Gerais, with the participation of various partners — Hans R. Neumann Stiftung, Emater, the Fundação do Banco do Brasil and the Cooperativa Agropecuária de Lambari — and the support of the Giuseppe and Pericle Lavazza Foundation.
The heart of this initiative is the creation of a setting which can promote family-based coffee production in order to make it more efficient and environmentally friendly, while also improving the quality and quantity of the coffee that is grown.
The Lavazza Foundation has planned for the sustainable development of the municipality and region. Thanks to its project partners, it will guarantee the inclusion of various local coffees (certified by the Rainforest Alliance) in sustainable coffee.
In India the project aims to support 400 producers of Robusta coffee in the state of Karnataka. Launched in 2011, it envisages the collaboration of DEG (Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft), a German organisation active in international cooperation. The aim is to improve production standards and make them competitive based on sustainable agricultural practices.
The Rainforest Alliance is an international NGO which certifies the sustainability of companies and farming activities in the rainforest. Its viewpoint is that of preserving the natural environment while bearing agricultural needs in mind.
The NGO has a well-earned reputation for its rigorous checks and the strictness of the nine requirements that must be met in order to be certified. Moreover, these requirements must continue to be respected once certification has been issued.
Lavazza shares the Rainforest Alliance’s ambition to safeguard the environment to benefit local farmers, not only in terms of health and social welfare, but also on a financial level Which is whyit was invited to certify the Tierra project.
The communities in the first phase of the project took just three years to obtain certification, which in 2005 confirmed their environmental, social and work sustainability, as well as observance of the nine principles of Rainforest Alliance:
To learn more, visit the Rainforest Alliance website.
¡Tierra! also has a unique photo book documenting the project through its fascinating development. The photography recalls the faces, stories and atmosphere of Tierra with immense respect and empathy, conveying emotions and enthusiasm through the eyes of Steve McCurry.
McCurry is one of the most famous and authoritative reporters of National Geographic, a member of Magnum Photos, and the winner of numerous prestigious awards. He immediately embraced Lavazza’s idea and started to follow Tierra long before it was actually launched, travelling to the three communities before the preliminary work began, in order to document everything before, during and after the project. He took three young photographers with him: the Italian Guia Besana, the Colombian Carlos Zuluago Palacio and the Peruvian Eduardo Hirose. The result of their commitment has been turned into a book on the first phase of ¡Tierra!.
Steve has recorded the second phase of the ¡Tierra! project for Lavazza. Once again his goal is to offer us an inside look at the project. In 2010 he went to Lambari in Brazil, in 2011 to Karnataka in India and in 2012 to Kirua in Tanzania to document the story of the ¡Tierra! project; a unique cultural sustainability project.
“Whenever I leave, I think that it’s to discover something I’ve never seen before. I like the feeling of astonishment that has always accompanied me, because it allows me to talk to the people in front of my lens and discover not only my subjects’ faces, but also their stories. This happens every time with Lavazza and with ¡Tierra!. It happened in the past in Peru, Colombia and Honduras, and then again last year in Brazil. [...] And we had the chance to see people working, harvesting, sweating, and then relaxing and joking at the bar. We were invited into every house we passed and were guests in a world that is truly somewhere else. This is what is so great about a job like mine and a project like Tierra: you are never considered intruders by people who share a common plan. This is also why I have always believed in the Tierra project, which we would be wrong to define as merely a sustainable project, because it’s something more: it represents tangible, material, social and cultural support.” Steve McCurry
The commitment between Lavazza and the communities of ¡Tierra! has become top-quality coffee certified by the Rainforest Alliance, so it’s two — no, three — times as good.
¡Tierra! is a blend of 100% washed Arabica coffees: very sweet and aromatic, with a soft, thick crema.
¡Tierra! Intenso is 100% prized Arabica; a full-bodied coffee with chocolatey notes which give the blend a round and unmistakable aroma.
And, naturally, as good as the intentions of the project and the results achieved in the first phase: better living conditions for the communities, more profitable cultivations, and more efficient processing techniques which respect the environment. Discover ¡Tierra! products for home, cafés and restaurants and offices.