I found this article today online while searching for enviro news and events and as both an avid environmentalist AND coffee drinker, I thought it was worth sharing here…
Coffee Shortages Loom as Climate Change Takes Hold
This stark warning has been issued by Fairtrade supplier Cafédirect. Three quarters of the world’s coffee is produced by 25 million coffee farms across Africa, Latin America and Asia. In recent years, climate change has left them struggling to cope with floods, drought, pests and crop diseases, and in some parts of the world, coffee farms that have been family owned for generations may soon be unsuitable for production altogether, it claimed.
While sustainability programmes from most suppliers have focused on reducing their own impact on the environment, Cafédirect head of strategic development Wolfgang Weinmann said the industry needed to help farms deal with the problems they already face as a result of climate change.
“This is beyond development and social – it’s to ensure continuity of the industry,” he said. “As the eurozone crisis gains pace, climate change is in danger of falling off the agenda. If we want sustainable, long term businesses, we cannot ignore this issue.”
Weinmann added that most coffee brands were treating sustainability as a CSR add-on instead of putting it at the centre of their businesses.
Cafédirect issued the warning as it launched Coffee Climate Crisis, a report on a project undertaken in the Piura region of northern Peru with 6,600 coffee growers who supply Cafédirect with Arabica beans.
Climate mapping data rates the current growing region as 50% to 90% suitable for coffee crops, but projects a slump to 0%-50% by 2050.
Cafédirect is helping to fund a reforestation project to address the flooding and landslides coffee farmers had experienced. The programme will be self-sustaining because the community that grows the trees trades directly on the voluntary carbon credit market. Ten per cent of the income from the carbon credits sold will go to the growers co-operative to spend on climate change adaptation measures.
While climate change causes specific problems in specific areas, Weinmann said the model of working with growers to identify and solve local problems could be replicated and Cafédirect was planning to feature adaptation projects with all its producers.
“Cafédirect buys coffee from 280,000 farmers, which is a lot but just a fraction of the total across the world,” Weinmann said. “We need the collective weight of the whole industry behind adaptation. Only then can we help ensure future coffee supplies are adequate.”
SOURCED FROM: THE GROCER