A changing climate threatens the survival and affordability of coffee, offering yet more reasons to think about long-term, sustainable solutions.
Behind every cup of coffee there are the farmers and the agronomists tasked with cultivating the crop. Their skills and their work are of fundamental importance to the coffee industry, and some companies want to recognize the roles these people play by honoring their achievements. For instance, Nespresso, the company behind the popular coffee capsules and brewing machines, launched the AAA Sustainable Quality Program in 2003, partnering with the Rainforest Alliance, an international nonprofit that awards product certification for sustainable livelihood and biodiversity protection. The program employs agronomists to advise farmers on sustainable cultivation methods. In October of this year, eight farmers from around the world, accompanied by agronomists, were honoured for their exceptional achievements in the AAA programme at a week-long visit to Switzerland and to Nespresso’s headquarters.
Sustainability matters. And if you happen to be in the coffee business, it matters especially. In 2012, this market saw 40 percent of global production coming from sources that had been certified or verified for sustainability. The latest State of Sustainability Initiatives Review confirms that “the landscape of sustainable coffee has been one of rapid transformation from a niche market to a fully recognized strategic business management tool,” according to the International Institute for Sustainable Development. Yet many challenges along the way make the road to achieving sustainability a difficult one for businesses.