The coffee industry depends on the work of millions of workers who arrive to coffee farms all over the world during the harvest to pick coffee. Labor represents the largest portion of cost of production for coffee farming all over the world.
Although they represent millions and are key to the production of coffee, as an industry, we do not understand their situation, challenges, and opportunities enough.
Inside the community-driven mission of The Coffee Trust, NCA 2019 Origin Charity of the Year
The National Coffee Association recognized The Coffee Trust as the recipient of the 2019 NCA Origin Charity of the Year Award, sponsored by Mother Parker’s Tea & Coffee, during the NCA 2019 Annual Convention in Atlanta.
Two Award finalists – meriting special mention – were Pueblo a Pueblo, Inc. and Strategies for International Development.
Here, Bill Fishbein, The Coffee Trust Founder and Executive Director, explains from the field what makes this organization so special – and how they are happily working themselves our of jobs in communities at origin.
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.
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.
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?
By Kyle Freund, Fairtrade America
Coffee continues to be the world’s most-recognized Fairtrade product, representing an estimated 4 percent of the global market. By encouraging direct relationships, sharing of information, and stable prices, Fairtrade can provide both roasters and farmers with greater stability and a quality product.
Fairtrade America, the US-member of Fairtrade International, is preparing to release its annual monitoring and impact report, a compendium of facts, stats and data covering the full supply chain spectrum from origin to store shelves.
The concept sounds complicated, but it’s simple to use. Here’s how it works:
Survey respondents using the app are shown an idea (a potential claim, a new beverage idea, a packaging idea, a branding idea a positioning idea, etc.). The idea can be expressed with any combination of text, images, and/or video. The respondent swipes right or left to like or dislike the idea, or can request more information. Once two ideas are liked, they are paired head-to-head for the respondent to indicate which concept they prefer most. The winning concept is advanced to the next round of trade-off.
The NCA used Upsiide to test how consumers react to coffee production information, including certifications, information about the farms where the coffee is grown, information about the coffee strain used in the product, etc.
So, what does Upsiide tell us about coffee production information?
Around 80% of the world’s coffee is produced by 17.7 million small-scale coffee farmers. And while the coffee industry aims to be a sustainability leader, the fact is that many farmers continue to struggle to make ends meet and support their families.
New research finds that the future of coffee depends on adequate income for farmers. A pilot study by Fairtrade International and True Price shows that despite sustainability pledges in the coffee sector, many coffee farmers struggle to make ends meet.