sustainability.: All The Sustainability Lectures from Coffee Expo Boston 2019

lecture us this

espresso, Rose Park II, Long Beach, CA

This culture knows that sustainability has to be more than talks, calendar events and a movement with hashtags.  While all these things help further the conversation and mission of learning what sustainability means at large and for the specialty coffee industry, it is a bevy of lectures like this in a forum that can contain the exploration of cause, effect and solution that we here at The Coffeetographer can support

Thus, a look at all the lectures from Boston Expo 2019, hopefully coming to a audio cast near us.

 

FRIDAY

  1. Crafting Sustainability with the Coffee Chain

Despite the fact that many resources have been invested in addressing sustainability problems, the impacts have not been achieved, the communities have been intervened, but they have not been protagonists in the design and implementation of the projects. Based on the interest to improve the impact on sustainability, for several years now, different relevant actors in the chain have decided to work collaboratively with an innovative approach that actively involves communities. The sustainability panel will show, from real cases, how to implement sustainability programs with better results.

2. Coordinating Around a Gender Lens: Actionable Solutions for Sustainable Development from Seed to Service

The 2018 “Gender Equality in the Coffee Sector” insight report from the International Coffee Organization states that coordination of gender-inclusive programs across the coffee value chain can create greater financial and social impact.

In practice, it’s clear that market participants who are coordinating around a “gender lens” are creating a new economic logic in coffee that bridges the market logic of financial returns with the social logic of women’s rights. A lens provides a frame of reference that helps define opportunities. Coordinating around a gender lens allows us all to gain new perspectives, address poorly understood inequalities, uncover new opportunities and find new solutions. The results accelerate our collective ability to achieve sustained, inclusive and equitable economic growth to ensure Sustainable Development.

3. A Two Part Arc About the C Market and the Future of Specialty Coffee- Part 1

Overview: In his Re:co presentation in 2018, Ric Rhinehart presented a compelling perspective on the ability of coffee to provide a sustainable household income to smallholder producers. Using a hypothetical farm gate price of $1.40 per pound, Ric was able to demonstrate how current levels of productivity and market pressures are failing smallholder producers. Throughout all of 2018 the C market, the main price discovery mechanism and clearing house for coffee, has been below this hypothetical price of $1.40 causing the specialty coffee industry to question the value and existence of the C market, express concern over the multi-dimensional costs to producers, countries and the environment, and think about incorporating innovative solutions in their businesses. This 3 part series will provide clarity and actionable data for the specialty industry.

LECTURE 1:

  • C market explanation

LECTURE 2: Costs:

  • Production
  • Migration
  • Environmental
  • Coffee Supply Chain:

LECTURE 3: Alternative price discovery.

  • The New Social Contract
  • Learnings from the Fair Trade Trade Standard
  • Data Donating

4. A Two Part Arc About the C Market and the Future of Specialty Coffee- Part 2

Overview: In his Re:co presentation in 2018, Ric Rhinehart presented a compelling perspective on the ability of coffee to provide a sustainable household income to smallholder producers. Using a hypothetical farm gate price of $1.40 per pound, Ric was able to demonstrate how current levels of productivity and market pressures are failing smallholder producers. Throughout all of 2018 the C market, the main price discovery mechanism and clearing house for coffee, has been below this hypothetical price of $1.40 causing the specialty coffee industry to question the value and existence of the C market, express concern over the multi-dimensional costs to producers, countries and the environment, and think about incorporating innovative solutions in their businesses. This 3 part series will provide clarity and actionable data for the specialty industry.

LECTURE 1:

  • C market explanation

LECTURE 2: Costs:

  • Production
  • Migration
  • Environmental
  • Coffee Supply Chain:

LECTURE 3: Alternative price discovery.

  • The New Social Contract
  • Learnings from the Fair Trade Trade Standard
  • Data Donating

5. Assessing and Addressing Profitability Constraints for Smallholder Coffee Producers in Yepocapa, Guatemala: Science Meets Application (AKA, Talk meets Walk)

Over the last 5 years the hundreds of smallholder coffee farmers in Yepocapa, Guatemala experienced leaf-rust, drought, volcanic eruptions and price fluctuations. Profitability is the main constraint these farmers face, in maintaining healthy households and addressing issues sufficiently to continue in coffee production – much like many other smallholder coffee farmers around the world. Since 2015, Taya Brown has been conducting a multi-phase evaluation of constraints to technology uptake and profitability as part of a World Coffee Research development project that implemented the Centroamericano hybrid to address leaf-rust and low-productivity. During a similar timeframe, Ryan Chipman founded Yepocapa Coffee, a US-based coffee importing enterprise focused on improving quality and transparency by working directly between Yepocapa farmers and US roasters. Using participatory techniques, Taya was able to measure Yepocapa Coffee’s effectiveness in addressing the issue of profitability and see coffee farming renewed as a sustainable career in Yepocapa. Taya will share results of the research, including profitability analyses for four farmer groups, and Ryan will share the experience of starting a business that addresses coffee quality and profitability constraints. The presentation will include professional video showing the farmers’ own discussion on these issues and the link between coffee quality and farm profitability.

SATURDAY

5. Using Scale for Good: Surprising Facts About McDonald’s Global Coffee Business. A Conversation w McDonald’s, COSA, CI and Major Roasters

It is a surprise to some that McDonald’s buys large quantities of specialty-grade coffee while advancing, at the same time, a unique sustainability strategy. The panel supplies some of the best known chains in America and – with tough questions – we will unveil how a major global brand is shifting the commercial landscape with new levels of transparency and measurable sustainability performance among leading roasters and suppliers.

6. Creating the SCA Coffee Sustainability Program (CSusP): Educating a New Wave of Sustainability Professionals in Specialty Coffee

Until now, the coffee industry has lacked a comprehensive curriculum to train sustainability professionals. Comprising the four creators of the new SCA Sustainability Skills Program, this panel will discuss how the program came to be and how it relates to everyone’s work in coffee. The panelists will offer insights into the new program and how, through education, we can build a more sustainable supply chain.

7. Business Models for Climate Adaptation: Leveraging Short-Term Incentives for Long-Term Gain

Under their Carbon, Climate and Coffee initiative, Coop Coffees is innovating their Impact Fund to provide support for coffee farmers to learn and adapt to long-term climate trends. A partnership with the agricultural sector’s Cool Farm Alliance will help coffee coops learn how to link harmonized GHG emissions tracking and quantification, with direct “carbon premium” payments as climate adaptation incentives to build soil quality, renovate aging coffee plots and better manage water resources. While many farmers know what to do to adapt to volatile weather, it’s often the business and financing support that is missing to invest in longer-term solutions. This panel will share new approaches to risk sharing and bridging this divide.

8. Attracting and Retaining Farmworkers – Innovations from Colombia

Skilled farmworkers are necessary to harvest specialty coffees in most parts of the world, but they are too often undervalued and invisible to the industry.

A collaborative and innovative project in Colombia is attracting a dwindling labor force to actively participate in coffee production. Its main objective is to meet the needs of farmworkers, producers, and local organizations, while identifying solutions that will make employment within the coffee industry more socially viable.

9. Understanding Environmental Sustainability in a Café: A Life Cycle Analysis to Show where Small Changes have the Greatest Impact

Despite the significant media focus in recent years on the environmental impact of disposable coffee cups, we found that they are less than 1% of the problem in terms of the environmental footprint of cafes.

We conducted a full lifecycle analysis around the coffee supply chain to investigate what impacts all waste streams have on the environment. We compared waste streams using the Swiss Ecopoint method, placing all waste streams on a common basis. We found that the greatest impact on the environment along the entire coffee supply chain were from espresso machines, milk usage and wastewater. Even a 1% change in machine water efficiency, and 3% changes in milk usage can result in a 3-fold environmental impact reduction than if paper cups were eliminated from cafes entirely.

As a result of this work, we recommend a number of strategies that can help cafes reduce their environmental impact significantly. Many of the strategies also improved café profitability. Ultimately, we believe implementation of some of these strategies will improve both the environmental and economic sustainability of cafes in the future.

10. A SAFE Journey: Transformation Through Multi-Stakeholder Collaborations

The Coffee Barometer 2018  emphasizes that true transformation requires individual companies to disregard competitive differences and genuinely engage and invest in collaborative investments at grassroots levels. The SAFE Platform  managed by Hivos and powered by the Inter-American Development Bank, is a multi-stakeholder initiative that has been working since 2015 to transform coffee and cocoa landscapes in Latin America. Members and other leading industry actors have highlighted the Platform’s efforts in piloting innovative projects and creating dialogue within the sector towards collaborative change.

11. Who Defines Sustainability

Sustainability metrics are increasingly embedded in corporate practices. Many have begun to define sustainability through the prism of corporate goals and interventions applying them to the producers within the supply chain. But as the drive to reach – and measure – these goals becomes greater, we need to step back and ask if we have defined sustainability correctly? Are the sustainability goals of corporations the same as producers’ goals? How can we ensure that industry sustainability programs and producers are aligned?

This multi-stakeholder panel will explore the fundamental questions around who holds the power in defining sustainability and offer examples of best practices for making sustainability, actually sustainable for each supply chain actor.

SUNDAY

12. What Do We Know About Diversification? Engaged Research to Learn What Works and Why

Diversification has become a catchall term that can refer to environmental efforts to manage risk, enhance soil fertility, optimize productivity (biodiversity), generate alternative income streams, and improve diets (diversified livelihoods). Yet, despite persistent calls for ‘diversification,’ there is a lack of empirical research on: 1) the limitations and contributions of diversification strategies to households, gender relations, communities, and food security and systems; and 2) the extent to which the way the strategies are implemented optimizes contributions. We are approaching these questions through a cross-site comparison with two coffee cooperatives (one each in Mexico and Nicaragua), exploring the different effects of diversification strategies and how they relate to the sustainability of small-scale coffee production. This project aims to inform a broad audience along the coffee value chain, and its participatory design aims to provide practical results that will lead to better decision making by producers (both farmers and cooperatives), and those seeking to provide investment and/or collaborate in projects that support their smallholder and cooperative suppliers. The study also offers a replicable research framework that can be applied in a diversity of contexts. Our presentation will provide key results and include the perspectives of coffee producers, cooperatives, buyers and researchers.

13. Can (and Should) the Coffee Sector Make a Zero Deforestation Commitment?

Palm oil, cocoa, soy, beef all have made sector-wide zero deforestation commitments as have many other industries as part of the New York Declaration on Forests, the Tropical Forest Alliance, Consumer Goods Forum, and other initiatives. These have been big events with CEOs making commitments to sourcing deforestation free commodities. Coffee has not made an equivalent announcement. As climate change makes higher altitudes more suitable for specialty coffee and lower altitudes less so coffee could become a more important driver of deforestation in the coming decade – especially for the last remaining intact tropical forests that are also home to orangutans, panthers, jaguars, tigers and other rare species. In this session we will have the chance to learn from the cocoa and palm oil sectors to explore how they came to make such commitments and how they are implementing them. We will explore what commitments already exist in the coffee sector and we will show what a similar commitment could mean for the coffee sector – what forests would be conserved, what the sector would need to do and how we would track success.

14. Meeting Global Clean Air Requirements

Lecture will inform specialty coffee roasters of rules that govern clean air requirements and review the major alternatives to meeting these requirements. It will also help roasters avoid the many mistakes which can lead to fines and possible revocation of a use permit.

15. How You Can Use Big Big Data to Alter Future Farming and Policy

New human-centered technologies will change farming and policy strategies for managing risks and climate to accelerate resilient growth. COSA is working with global partners to create a novel, web-based decision-support system (DSS) that democratizes access to important global data and integrates it with critical local-level data to generate new levels of resilience and long-term viability.

The advent of big data offers vast potential. Greater scale and reduced costs can be achieved by addressing the risks within a whole region. However, it is only when big data is integrated with local pragmatic realities, and made accessible to those who can act, that the benefits really multiply.

From policymakers to farmers, this transformative technology really engages local coffee communities across a landscape or region and empowers diverse stakeholders to mutually understand and resolve large landscape-scale issues and produce broad collective results.

Tested successfully with a consortium of businesses (SCA, Starbucks, Keurig, Farmer Bros. S&D, CounterCulture, etc.) and leading agencies (USDA, IDB, and Conservation International) with community organizations, we want to fully scale the concept to offer:

  • Vital information that allows policymakers and farmers to choose varieties better
  • Perspectives on deforestation or water AND understanding the drivers to improve
  • Assess the global spread of crop pests and diseases to minimize impact on yields.

16. The Neglected Third Pillar of Sustainability

To be deemed sustainable, the three pillars of social responsibility, economic viability, and environmental soundness must all work together to create a balance. However, in agricultural crops such as coffee, environment often takes a backseat to people and profit. Coffee is a highly traded commodity, grown in tropical regions of the world that also host high levels of biodiversity. It covers millions of hectares of land with millions of livelihoods intertwined with its production. The way that coffee farms are managed can vary widely– from a monoculture of coffee plants with little or no shade trees (sun coffee) to farms with many types of trees interspersed between the coffee plants (shade coffee). Shade coffee provides habitat for wildlife, fosters ecosystem services, requires few agrochemicals, and is better overall for the environment compared to sun coffee. Even with these benefits, there is a trend to replace shade coffee with sun coffee. How can these three pillars of sustainability be more equally balanced to not only produce a profitable crop, but also protect the environment on which wildlife and people depend? This talk will explore some of the difference between shade and sun coffee and the complexities and nuances in defining sustainability.

17. Coffee & Collaboration: A Success Story from Peru

Across Peru, as in many other coffee origins, smallholders are struggling to make a sustainable livelihood from their crop. There are a multitude of interrelated root causes for this – from the macro-economic and structural market issues to the day to day management of farms. At origin many issues connect and overlap, from climate change enabling pests and disease to spread faster than ever, to young people’s disengagement with coffee farming, to societal inequalities and gender imbalances.

In 2015, representatives from a pre-competitive supply chain, all with a passion for Peruvian coffee, began conversations on how they could work together to tackle these problems. They recognised each issue was equally critical if the sustainability of future supply was to be ensured, and that this began by supporting the producers they had long-standing relationships with.

Fast forward three years – coffee yields have increased by 56%, 450 young people have been trained in business, entrepreneurship, leadership and marketing, 54 women have accessed a loan fund to set up their own businesses and over 1,800 MT of organic compost has been produced. Additionally, project partners have learnt from looking at the value chain in a completely different, and more collaborative way.

This collective approach is essential if actors in the coffee supply chain want to ensure long-term supply, address deeper power imbalances and prepare for the challenges of climate change and urbanisation which are already at our heels. This lecture will hear from partners on each level of this project and how this mode of working can be a blue-print for sustainable change in coffee.

The culture looks forward to hearing and reliving these lectures when they come to an audio podcast near us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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