A new report released by the Sustainable Coffee Challenge shows grounds for optimism on the future of sustainable coffee as coffee companies are dedicated to improving sustainability.

The Sustainable Coffee Challenge is a collaborative effort of companies, governments, NGOs, research institutions and others to transition the coffee sector to be fully sustainable.

Challenge partners are urgently working together to increase transparency, align around a common vision for sustainability and collaborate to accelerate progress toward those goals.

Conceived by Conservation International and Starbucks and launched during the 2015 Paris climate meetings with 18 founding partners dedicated to coffee sustainability, the Challenge aims to stimulate greater demand for sustainable coffee. The movement has since grown to more than 155 international partners.

In the last year, the report highlighted that the Challenge partners made 38 additional commitments, which corresponds to almost 40% of the total public commitments (106) aimed to address the most important issues that the sector is facing.

Some large coffee companies such as, Dunkin’ and Starbucks have made commitments aimed at tackling climate change, restoring forests and improving supply chains.

Raina Lang, Senior Director of Sustainable Coffee Markets at Conservation International said,

It’s no secret that encouraging market wide change takes time and consistency.

The Sustainable Coffee Challenge continues to strive toward the goal of making coffee the world’s first sustainable agricultural product.

Not only is the coffee industry facing climate threats. It has also suffered from increased market volatility in recent years, even worse with the whole global Covid pandemic, which is pushing trade prices below the cost of production, as previously reported.

This directly threatens the incomes of farming communities, which are already vulnerable to poverty, poor health conditions and child labor violations.  

In 2020, members of the Sustainable Coffee Challenge announced an ambitious commitment to avoid at least 1.5 gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 – The equivalent of removing 11 million cars from the road each year, by increasing production on existing coffee lands.

The report identifies potential for improvement by 2021. In order to help companies achieve these objectives it suggests improved transparency to the public about progress towards the goals, and better collaboration between the stakeholders.

The full report is available here.

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