As world leaders meet this week in Egypt for the COP27 climate conference, the Specialty Coffee Association is bringing to light its recent report outlining what coffee organizations might do to address their carbon footprints.
Called “Coffee and Carbon: GHG Emission Reductions Progress and Strategies Across the Value Chain,” the 47-page report underscores the need for the coffee industry to adapt to a warming climate that threatens the viability of coffee production, especially as global coffee demand soars.
While noting imminent existential threats to the coffee sector, the document also highlights existing and emerging tools and strategies undertaken by current coffee organizations and NGOs that may result in positive outcomes.
The paper grew out of a collaborative research project led by development agency The Chain Collaborative in partnership with the SCA and the environmental science program at California’s Whittier College. The Chain Collaborative’s Nora Burkey and Whittier’s Dr. Cinzia Fissore are listed as the report’s research leads.
The report follows a wealth of desk research, surveys and interviews with coffee-related actors, with heavy representation from the coffee roasting industry. As noted in the “Limitations” section, the paper does not include the voices of coffee growers directly.
Yet one of the report’s most common refrains is the need for additional information-sharing within the coffee industry regarding greenhouse gas reduction strategies. The report also identifies widespread knowledge gaps that may be preventing the coffee industry from maximizing its collective positive impacts.
“Though there is an important amount of work and investment taking place to curb GHG emissions, the coffee industry is just beginning to understand its capacity to mitigate climate change through carbon-based efforts, both inside and outside of the carbon market,” the report states. “The fact that gaps do remain does not diminish the importance of the efforts currently underway, nor the preliminary findings in this report.”
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Nick Brown is the editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine.