What does sustainability mean in the coffee industry?

Social sustainability has to do with the people who participate in the coffee industry. Their standard of living, inequalities between social groups and opportunities for growth are some of the factors that indicate social sustainability.

What does sustainability mean in the coffee industry?

Social sustainability has to do with the people who participate in the coffee industry. Their standard of living, inequalities between social groups and opportunities for growth are some of the factors that indicate social sustainability. Many coffee-producing countries suffer from extreme poverty and lack effective social infrastructure. In the highly volatile coffee market, producers and their families are incredibly vulnerable.

The economic sustainability of the industry is strongly linked to the social sustainability of communities around the world. Basically, coffee sustainability is about making coffee better for everyone. Daniele tells me that the universal challenge for coffee producers around the world is simply to earn a living income from coffee. Today, 99 percent of your coffee comes from a verified sustainability standard that continues to promote better performance over time.

Sustainability has not only entered the scene in terms of importance, but has been considered since the first international agreement on coffee, which took place in the 1960s. The sad truth is that the current state of the coffee industry sometimes promotes the exploitation of people who work in the coffee industry. In a 2003 report on sustainability in the coffee industry, the IISD states that the coffee trade can reinforce gender inequity by maintaining patriarchal structures in the supply chain. Sustainability has become a buzzword in recent years, but the long-term economic, environmental and social health of the coffee industry is a vital consideration.

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. If you own a coffee company or are planning to start one, you'll want to know how you can contribute to economic, social, and environmental sustainability. This isn't just for the chief sustainability officer or for those who are part of the sustainability teams. Exposed coffee farmers and their families live in a highly unpredictable coffee market that is not economically sustainable for them. Ever since the first international agreement on coffee in 1962, there has been discussion of how to limit the amount of excess in the market to ensure economic sustainability.

The geographical isolation of many coffee producers can mean prohibitive costs for practical aspects such as buying tools or transporting a crop. There was a conversation about how to reduce the amount of surpluses in the coffee industry to ensure financial sustainability. Climate change and fair coffee prices are legitimately important issues today, but sustainability is not a new idea in the world of coffee.

Glenna Matthys
Glenna Matthys

Hardcore internet practitioner. Wannabe beer advocate. Infuriatingly humble beer expert. Devoted coffee evangelist. Hardcore social media scholar. Friendly beer fanatic.