Name: Sergio Molina, Ph.D.
Position: Lecturer in Economic & Ethical Issues in Sustainable Development
Program: Sustainable Development Studies, Costa Rica
Our commitment to continual improvement in managerial practices set the ground for our first-annual certification of compliance with the Sustainable Agriculture Network norm. The process, carried out by third-party auditors, assessed our effectiveness in protecting the environment by reducing consumption and pollution. Our social efforts were also rigorously evaluated in aspects such as working conditions, relationships with suppliers, and engagement with communities. Specifically, our Center implements best practices complemented by 14 different management plans that guide and monitor progress.
Furthermore, this year we asked for verification of additional criteria related to the best practices to mitigate and adapt to the challenges brought by climate change. Launched last year by Rainforest Alliance and the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN), this new set of criteria for the mitigation of and adaptation to climate change is known as the Climate Module.
The 15 additional criteria included in the module are embedded within the certification process for sustainable farming. They promote the internal adoption of mitigation and adaptation practices and also encourage our suppliers and communities to work together on these efforts. Some examples include tracking water and energy consumption to implement efficiency measures, farming organically, reducing soil erosion, improving our own and surrounding biological carbon stocks through reforestation, tracking weather information, and educating students, employees, neighbors and other stakeholders on climate change.
These efforts are a testimony of our continual commitment to sustainability through our mission of education, research and communal action. Without doubt, our students will continue to experience a unique study abroad program where sustainability is learned and experienced firsthand.