Sustainable coffee is coffee that is grown and marketed for its sustainability. This includes certified organic, fair-trade and Rainforest Alliance coffee. Coffee has several classifications that are used to determine the participation of producers (or the supply chain) in various combinations of social, environmental, and economic standards. Coffees that fit these categories and that are independently certified or verified by an accredited third party are referred to collectively as sustainable coffees.
This term has entered the lexicon and this segment has rapidly developed into a multi-billion dollar industry of its own with potentially significant implications for other commodities as demand and awareness increase. Modern coffee farms tend to look like forests, with a mix of coffee plants and trees. However, these don't provide the canopy cover in which migratory birds and other native animals thrive. If the coffee is labeled “grown in the shade”, it means that the farm has returned to traditional methods of growing coffee.
These farms have a variety of native trees that create a natural canopy under which coffee trees are grown. Shade-grown coffee helps increase biodiversity, helps prevent soil erosion and acts as a carbon sink. The Challenge provides a place for stakeholders to publicly express their commitments to sustainability and report on progress over time. By shedding light on the commitments made by stakeholders across the sector, we can make better use of them to form new partnerships and inspire others to act.
While the coffee industry has been investing heavily in sustainability for decades, we recognize that the complex problems faced by the industry require a wide range of solutions and commitments. The transparency of sustainability commitments means declaring them in a shared space and reporting on progress. If you can't access Rainforest Alliance certified or shade-grown coffees, USDA organic coffee is the next best option. Or they can try to stay at bay and protect themselves from pests, high temperatures and variable rainfall by redoubling their efforts on good agricultural practices and improving farm management, including replacing old and diseased coffee trees with improved varieties and resistant to diseases.
It will take a lot of work and collaboration to create a greater demand for sustainability, to the extent that we no longer have to choose between buying a sustainable cup of coffee and an unsustainable cup. The Sustainable Coffee Challenge is a collaborative effort of companies, governments, NGOs, research institutions and others to make the coffee sector fully sustainable. By 2003, the idea of sustainable coffee was beginning to become a common theme in conferences, research and policy debates. Green coffee refers to the early stages of coffee production, when beans are grown, harvested and transported. They can move their coffee farms to higher altitudes that are increasingly suitable for coffee production.
The climate is slightly colder on average the higher you climb. In the mid-2000s, sustainable coffees included new certification initiatives, such as UTZ Certified and Common Code for the Coffee Community (4C), as well as certifications used exclusively by individual companies (Starbucks and Nespresso). The Summit Foundation, Nature Conservancy, the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, the American Specialty Coffee Association and the World Bank teamed up to finance and publish the first full-scale assessment of the markets, value and volumes of these coffees (a statistically significant random sample in North America of 1558 retailers, 570 roasters, 312 wholesalers, 120 distributors and 94 importers). The economic sustainability of the industry is strongly linked to the social sustainability of communities around the world. Coffee production can be made more sustainable by incorporating practices such as better practices for crop management and water use, the use of pheromone boxes to ward off insects instead of pesticides, the composting of coffee bean waste for use as fertilizer, the use of coffee peels as fuel instead of cutting down eucalyptus trees, growing in the shade and reforestation.
Despite their rapid growth, sustainably certified coffees still constitute only a small percentage of the total purchases of major coffee brands owned by Nestlé, Kraft and Sara Lee. The same World Bank report identified that the production of these sustainable coffees had extended beyond their origins, mostly Latin American, to include modest exports from Africa and Asia. By then, by the middle of the decade, the category of sustainable coffees was firmly established as one of the emerging paradigms in global production and trade. of coffee.