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Equator Initiative Case Study - Café la Selva

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Café la Selva is a chain of cafés that sell organically and sustainably grown coffee from indigenous Tojolabal and Tzeltales farming communities located in the state of Chiapas, Mexico. This pioneering initiative has taken advantage of growing international demand for sustainable, ethically-sourced coffee, and now has cafés in Europe and the United States. Profits from the enterprise have allowed participating community members to increase household incomes while simultaneously reducing their environmental impact.
Café La Selva has demonstrated that equitable relationships between the private sector and campesino communities are not only feasible but can be highly successful. This initiative is the result of the collaboration of the Unión de Ejidos de La Selva with small private investors, ensuring control over the entire chain of coffee production, providing indigenous farmers and coffee consumers with a more equitable and sustainable market for coffee in Mexico and abroad. The Equator Initiative brings together the United Nations, governments, civil society, businesses and grassroots organizations to recognize and advance local sustainable development solutions for people, nature and resilient communities. As local and indigenous groups across the world chart a path towards sustainable development, the Equator Prize--issued biennially by the Equator Initiative--shines a spotlight on their efforts by honoring them on an international stage. This project was awarded the Equator Prize in recognition of its contribution to local sustainable development solutions.

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