Sustainability Standards: More Complex For Coffee Than Wine

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Leading sustainability standards for coffee are truly international and used worldwide.

By Morten Scholer, former UN advisor and author of the recent book Coffee and Wine: Two Worlds Compared 

 Part I: Sustainability Standards For Coffee – With Hidden Agendas


The coffee sector looks up to the wine sector for several reasons – including the wine sector’s long and prestigious history, the sensory descriptions, the sophisticated branding with use of terms like terroir, and the (sometimes) high prices.

While the coffee sector can no doubt learn a lot from wine, there are also areas where the wine sector has reason to admire coffee – and sustainability standards is one of them.

Sustainability standards are in several ways more complex for coffee than for wine, especially in terms of developing the standards, training, compliance, and monitoring.

This is certainly not to say that it is easy for the wine community, but here are four of the reasons.

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Coffee at a Crossroad: 3 Industry Trends to Watch in 2019

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From functional ingredients to sustainable practices, new consumer values are transforming market trends.

The following post originally appeared in Tea & Coffee Trade Journal


The coffee industry is again going through a transformation, driven by shifting consumer values in an increasingly connected global landscape.

Today, people are using their purchasing decisions to support companies that reflect their values and introduce new innovations.

“The theme of this year’s NCA Convention [March 7-9, 2019 in Atlanta] is ‘coffee at a crossroads.’ In this time of unprecedented change, the decisions we make today as an industry will determine our direction in the years to come,” says Bill Murray, NCA President & CEO.

Here’s what to watch (and watch out for) in the year ahead:

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Coffee Clickbait Goes Bananas

Banana and coffee for breakfast

New research on coffee and climate change indicates an urgent situation for crops at origin

Behind the headlines on the future of coffee, according to science – and how you can get involved.

By William (Bill) Murray, NCA CEO & President
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Complete with the typical clickbait-style headline, a recent article intoned that the global population is imminently doomed to a world without coffee – and “not much” can be done about this “on a personal level.”

Sounds grim.

But it could be easy to miss the glimmer of hope buried in the last line:

This future could look bleak for morning coffee drinkers, but with the help of farmers and scientists, our cup of joe can be protected.”

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Pt. I: Sustainability Standards For Coffee – With Hidden Agendas

Farmer with hat looking the coffee plantation field

Changing from conventional to more sustainable practices

By Morten Scholer, former UN advisor and author of the recent book Coffee and Wine: Two Worlds Compared 

The following post is first in a two-part series 


Almost half of all coffee is produced under one of the recognized sustainability standards. That’s 70 million bags, or four million metric tons.

However, only around a third of sustainably recognized coffee is eventually traded and labelled as sustainable – a discrepancy that is being addressed by all parties involved in attempts to reduce the gap.

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Part 2: What Does Direct Trade Coffee Mean?

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The following post is the second in a three-part series that looks at how the coffee industry can become  more circular and direct across the supply chain. 

Part 1: Transparency and Traceability Across the Coffee Supply Chain


By Dr. Terry Tudor and Dr. Nicholas Head, SusConnect Ltd

The global coffee industry is growing. However, it is important that there are measures taken to ensure that this growth is circular and that small farmers and producers benefit along the way.

A direct trade model, which takes account of circular business models, along with the use of blockchain technology, offers the opportunity to realize these goals.

“Direct trade” is a term used by coffee roasters who buy straight from the growers, cutting out both the traditional middleman buyers and sellers, and also the organisations that control certifications. Continue reading

Part 1: Transparency and Traceability Across the Coffee Supply Chain

cup-coffee-and-sunny-trees-background-511097429_5085x3676.jpeg

The following post is the first in a three-part series that looks at how the coffee industry can become  more circular and direct across the supply chain. 


By Dr. Terry Tudor and Dr. Nicholas Head, SusConnect Ltd

The global coffee industry is growing. However, it is important that there are measures taken to ensure that this growth is circular and that small farmers and producers benefit along the way.

Continue reading

How One Coffee Company Is Empowering Positive Change at Origin

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The following post is an edited excerpt of contend provided by Volcafe. Volcafe is an NCA member company. (Learn more about contributing guest blog posts to National Coffee.) 

Visit the NCA Coffee Gives Back Charity Showcase to learn more about how NCA members are working to support coffee communities at origin. 


Child labor is a big problem in some of the poorer areas of Uganda, which includes coffee producing communities. Unfortunately, there is no simple solution.

Any resolution demands a dedicated, sustained effort. It must get to the root cause of the problem and improve the economic viability of households so that parents can afford to let their children attend school.

Some coffee companies are choosing step up and take action to empower positive change at origin.

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5 Ways to Reduce Water Use in Your Food Processing Plant

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Optimizing your water consumption isn’t only better for the planet – it can help you cut utility costs as well. Photo: Unsplash

This post was originally published on Food For Thought

By , VP Process Engineering, Stellar

Food and beverage manufacturing facilities are notorious for how much water they consume. While water is central to your plant’s operations [Ed. note: Especially for coffee!], there may be ways you can operate more efficiently and be smarter about how your plant uses water.

Optimizing your water consumption is not only better for the planet, but it may save you in utility costs as well. Let’s look at five basic ways to reduce water consumption in a facility.

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Why the Latest Prop 65 Ruling is Bad for Coffee Farmers

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Coffee is both delicious and healthy.”

California’s Misguided Labeling Decision Impacts Coffee Growers & Drinkers

This post was originally published on the Global Farmer Network

By Luiz Roberto Saldanha Rodrigues

When a Los Angeles judge earlier this month finalized a ruling that coffee sold in California must carry cancer warning labels, many California residents may not have paid much attention to yet another labeling requirement.   

Ever since voters passed Proposition 65 more than 30 years ago, after all, Californians have watched the steady proliferation of vague statements about chemicals, cancer, and birth defects. They appear almost everywhere, from the windows of hardware stores to signs at Disneyland. They’re so abundant that Amazon even sells them as stickers in rolls of 500.  

Many people have begun to ignore these labels because they’re so common and because the information they convey is almost useless.  

So why am I  concerned if they now also show up on coffee?

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