Banco Davivienda is a private local bank that finances certified agribusiness companies in Costa Rica. By financing borrowers who focus on the sustainable use of natural resources and biodiversity conservation throughout the production process, Banco Davivienda plays a large role in growing the sustainable agriculture landscape.
The use of funds is exclusively earmarked for companies holding an eligible sustainability certification in either Rainforest Alliance or Fairtrade practices.
The company has seen positive results from its clients through the creation of green jobs and improved end-borrower practices that have led to the reduction of CO2 emission, soil degradation and loss of water for irrigation.
Impact story: Upala Agricola committed to sustainability
The region of Upala, Costa Rica, is bordered by Nicaragua to the north, two rivers to the northwest and southeast, and the Cordillera de Guanacaste mountain range to the south. Although traditionally a cattle ranching region, its microclimate and rich soil make it ideal for growing pineapples.
Upala Agrícola is owned by a group of Costa Rican entrepreneurs that grow and export sustainable pineapples produced according to environmental best practices. Today, the company grows pineapples on more than 2,400 hectares, has two packaging facilities, and exports about 100 containers weekly. It employs more than 950 people, making it the largest employer in the region. Upala Agrícola’s sustainability certifications include Rainforest Alliance, among others, as well as ISO 14001 which refers to environmental management standards.
Upala Agrícola has achieved carbon neutrality by minimizing energy use, planting trees, and buying carbon credits. More than 3,000 native trees are grown in the company’s tree nursery. These trees are used for restoration projects. For example, the company grows the tropical hardwood Almendro Amarillo – the main shelter of a local endangered green parrot.
In addition to the efficient management of natural resources, Upala Agrícola has been able to recover land that was degraded and deforested due to livestock farming. Water sources previously contaminated by cattle are now protected by natural barriers that prevent runoff of polluted water.
Finally, as the company is the largest employer in the area, it runs a Corporate Social Responsibility program aimed at maintaining good relationships with local communities. This includes helping improve roads and supporting educational and health projects.
The Praxis commitment
Praxis Mutual Funds supports organizations such as the Banco Davivienda through investments in Calvert Impact, an impact-investing institution that helps people around the world through community development financing. It’s part of the Praxis commitment to place approximately 1% of each of its funds to benefit neighborhoods and individuals through community development investments.