OCIA – Organic Crop Improvement Association International: OCIA is a non-profit third party certifier that is an accredited global leader in the organic industry. They provide certification services to thousands of farmers, processors and handlers in North, Central and South America, and Asia. OPTCO has been a Certified Organic Handler of Green Coffee by OCIA since 1992. We currently hold an Organic Certification under the USDA's National Organic Program (NOP) and are certified to the terms of both the US-Canada Organic Equivalency Arrangement and US-EU Organic Equivalency Arrangement. OPTCO also holds Equivalency to the Japanese Agricultural Standards (JAS).
The Fair Trade mission is to connect disadvantaged producers with consumers, promote fairer trading conditions and empower producers to combat poverty. Rather than creating dependency on aid, Fair Trade uses a market-based approach that works with farmers to get a fair price for their harvest while requiring safe working conditions and a decent living wage for workers. Fair Trade also requires producers to follow environmental standards that help protect and improve the ecosystems they live and work in. There is a set minimum price that ensures producers can cover costs of production. It acts as a safety net for farmers at times when world markets fall below a sustainable level. Additionally, a premium is paid on top of the regular market price that goes into a general fund which workers and farmers democratically decide to use towards improving various aspects of their community. OPTCO has been an active collaborator in the Fair Trade movement within the United States since its early stages. We have been a registered importer of Certified Fair Trade Coffee since 1998 and currently registered with both Fair Trade USA and Fairtrade Canada.
The Small Producer’s Symbol (or Símbolo de Pequeños Productores, SPP) is a global initiative launched in 2006 by the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Small Fair Trade Producers (CLAC). This program is unique in that it is wholly owned, operated and governed by small producer organizations. As well as coffee, the 'Símbolo' certifies a wide variety of other high quality products that come directly from small farmers. The SPP logo represents the values and mission of this new system: balance and unity between producers and consumers, men and women, a healthy environment and a dignified standard of living. OPTCO registered as a SPP importer in 2012 and is proud to have been the first importer to bring SPP coffee into North America.
The Rainforest Alliance works to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices and consumer behavior. The Rainforest Alliance helps farmers, forest managers and tourism businesses realize greater economic benefits by ensuring ecosystems within and around their operations are protected, that workers are well-trained, have safe working conditions, proper sanitation, health care and housing. OPTCO has been a registered trader/handler of Rainforest Alliance CertifiedTM coffees since 2010.
SMBC Certification has an exclusive focus on understanding and protecting migratory birds and their habitat throughout the Western Hemisphere. Money generated by the sale of SMBC "Bird Friendly®" coffee plays a key role in the conservation of the global environment and of migratory birds that find sanctuary in forests along the Americas. The Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center takes an active approach in research, education, training, and policy work to push for shade-grown coffee production. OPTCO has been a buyer of SMBC-Bird Friendly coffee for more than 15 years.