Focus: Corporate Responsibility - Coffee roaster helps Peruvian rainforest

Mathew Little,

Miko is to release a fair trade brand in association with the World Land Trust.

The World Land Trust has formed a fundraising partnership with the Belgian coffee company Miko to fund the preservation of South American rainforest.

A proportion of profits from a new brand of fair trade coffee will finance the purchasing of nature reserves in the Amazon watershed in Peru. The Puro coffee brand is being marketed explicitly as a means of saving large areas of rainforest.

The World Land Trust already works with partner organisations to preserve rainforests in Ecuador and Brazil. John Burton, chief executive of the trust, said: "The partnership raises funds and fits with some of the concepts involved in sustainable development. We are an organisation dedicated to preserving natural habitats, and fair trade coffee production methods are less damaging than many others."

Local NGOs in Peru will receive 2 per cent of the profits that Miko makes from sales of Puro-branded coffee to buy the nature reserves. None of the land will be owned by the World Land Trust.

Andy Orchard, marketing manager at Miko, said: "Fair trade has been growing substantially. We wanted a new brand that really addressed fair trade areas, and we believe there is a strong link between coffee and rainforests."

Miko is a coffee roaster and wholesaler that supplies chains such as Leon and Jamie Oliver's restaurant, Fifteen. But Orchard said efforts to persuade high-street chains to donate a proportion of the retail price of cups of Puro to the World Land Trust had not so far been successful.

"The retailer could quite easily allocate two, three or five pence per cup straight to the rainforest charity," he said. "That's the link we are trying to create, but it's proving difficult. A lot of the big operators just want to plough more money back into their profits."

Miko is looking for a large corporate partner to work on a £250,000 project to create a protected corridor between rainforest nature reserves in South America, but no deals have yet been struck.

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