After arriving last Sunday to the heat and humidity of El Salvador, I was immediately impressed by the warm welcome my International Business Development (IBD) team received from the Salvadoran people we met. We were particularly amazed by the team at SalvaNATURA, our client for the next three weeks. We will be working with SalvaNATURA to develop a strategic analysis of the certification landscape and make recommendations for the organization moving forward.
The staff at SalvaNATURA have been incredibly helpful in getting us up to speed. While we certainly researched the entire landscape of sustainable/fair trade/agriculture certification standards before we left for El Salvador, nothing could have prepared us for the immense challenge of understanding how certification trends would impact a local auditing body. In addition, we have come to understand how sustainable certifications such as Rainforest Alliance complement SalvaNATURA’s other services, which include managing national parks, conducting environmental research, and providing environmental education programs.
For our client, the challenges are immense. The organization is dedicated to the preservation of the environment and natural areas of El Salvador, a country with 98% deforestation. Yet the opportunities are immense as well, especially given the growing demand for certified products like coffee from consumers, farmers, as well as international companies such as Kraft, McDonalds, and Walmart.
These issues are incredibly interesting to research, but even more so in El Salvador. As the team debates (in Spanish) the future of sustainable certification in El Salvador, we nourish ourselves with pupusas and look towards the looming volcano in the north for inspiration. El Salvador Impresionante, indeed!