Long-term viability and short-term economic gain at the farm level are equally essential to fostering sustainability in the coffee sector, reveals the 2023 Coffee Barometer. Published on 14 September 2023, the latest Barometer, the state-of-the-art sustainability report on the coffee sector, shows that while coffee consumption is steadily rising across the globe, its production is still based on an extractive model that incentivizes low-cost trading, directly at odds with sustainability objectives and climate agendas.
Around 12.5 million coffee farmers in 70 countries produce coffee, with Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia, Indonesia, and Honduras contributing 85% of the global supply. The remaining 15% is produced by 9.6 million farmers whose livelihoods are under pressure as coffee farm revenues decrease while costs for inputs are on the rise. These farmers face grave economic precarity, and lack the resources necessary to meet sustainability standards or find alternative income streams.
The Barometer also questions the readiness of the major coffee roasters to comply with the EU’s Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) and calls on companies to commit to avoiding a cut-and-run effect in at-risk sourcing areas. Set to come into effect in 2025, the EUDR is a groundbreaking effort to ensure that major companies trading global commodities are not contributing to global deforestation. The EUDR puts the onus on companies to prove that their suppliers are not contributing to deforestation. In order to comply, companies may seek to avoid so-called ‘risky’ contexts, where compliance with the regulation will be more burdensome.
This Barometer also marks the launch of the Coffee Brew Index, which assesses the sustainability and social commitments of the world’s 11 major coffee roasting companies. Read more here: coffee brew index
To advance its sustainability agenda and underscore the significance of farmer inclusion and adaptation to climate change, the coffee sector must commit to investing in vulnerable coffee-producing regions. Coffee companies, with their resource capacity, need to double down and avoid abrupt disengagement with less competitive coffee producing countries. Continuous collaboration with local actors, including government, civil society and producer groups, is essential to address sustainability issues with customized solutions.
Read more in the 2023 Coffee Barometer here
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