One Week of Pura Vida

A Triple-Bottom-Line Education in San Jose

Keith Riegert, Co-Editor in Chief

In January, a couple dozen Sternies escaped the winter in New York City for a week long DBi course in sunny Costa Rica.  While there, we had the chance to study at one of Central America’s most prestigious business schools, INCAE. Over three days in the classroom, we learned about Costa Rica’s incredibly rich history and transformation into one of the planet’s leaders in conservation and sustainability. Since the 1980s, Costa Rica has pursued a long-term plan for reforestation and now runs almost entirely on renewable energy.

Photo courtesy of Hersh Iyer

At a time when climate change and resource consumption are key concerns in the business world, we studied how a country roughly the size of West Virginia has managed to tackle some of the most pressing challenges in capitalism—namely, how to drive growth in a sustainable fashion. Outside the classroom, we got to see some of these remarkable plans in action—visiting the renowned Terrazu coffee growing region. There we met with farmworkers and coffee experts who have transformed a centuries-old industry into a leader in carbon-neutral agriculture—creating their own natural, organic fertilizer from the coffee fruit’s discarded pulp and using bean casings to fuel the roasting process.

Photo courtesy of Hersh Iyer

Of course, no trip to Costa Rica would have been complete without some adventure travel, including a trip to the beautiful Pacific coast, whitewater rafting and zip lining through the rainforest.

Photo courtesy of Hersh Iyer

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