Socioeconomic and Environmental Management Systems and Sustainability in Costa Rica

Posted: April 13, 2012

Name: Sergio A. Molina, Ph.D.
Position: Lecturer in Environmental Economics and Policy
Program: Sustainable Development Studies, Costa Rica

 

Since January 2010, we began a systematic process to become more sustainable, one that was certified in September of last year by Rainforest Alliance. Six months after, as the internal auditor, I took the time to review all the programs of our socioeconomic and environmental management system.  In these two years, the system put in place is helping us improve academic, administrative and farm management processes.

We now have programs led by our own staff members who have set specific goals, activities, and training. With this new system in place, the entire Center has become an educational tool for students and staff, where multiple processes of our daily life such as transportation, farming, cooking, waste management, water and energy efficiency, are constantly monitored and evaluated.  Nowadays we farm organically, in a context of respect for the environment, where biodiversity is protected, and workers enjoy working in a safe, clean and mutually respectful environment. In addition, we are enhancing our already established relationship with our surrounding communities through outreach projects and informative talks.

In summary, this certification is helping us to systematically approach sustainability by tracking, monitoring and changing our farming and living practices to become more eco-efficient and reducing our overall environmental footprint. Not an easy task, I should clarify, but one that requires commitment, determination, and hope for a better future.