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2010-09-22 | Policy Brief

Does Eco-Certification Have Environmental Benefits?

This brief is based on results from: Blackman, A., Naranjo, M. “Does Eco-Certification Have Environmental Benefits? Organic Coffee in Costa Rica”. Working paper. EfD-CATIE.
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Organic certification in Costa Rica improves coffee growers’ environmental performance

Eco-certification of coffee, timber and other high-value agricultural commodities is increasingly widespread. Advocates claim it can improve commodity producers’ environmental performance—even in countries where regulation is weak—by leveraging “green” market pressures. However, the hard evidence needed to evaluate this hypothesis is virtually non-existent. To help fill this gap, we use detailed farm-level data to analyze environmental impacts of organic coffee certification in central Costa Rica. We find that organic certification does indeed improve coffee growers’ environmental performance. It significantly reduces chemical input use and increases the adoption of environmentally friendly management practices.