A Sustainability Perspective on the Benefits of Unification

By Chad Trewick, Director

As a member of the SCAA Board of Directors, going through this process of exploring unification and alignment with SCAE has illuminated some elements of our work as coffee trade organizations that would be prioritized and quite strengthened by the alignment. As I am one of the board liaisons to our Sustainability Council, I think about what we have learned about sustainability priorities across both organizations and am excited about how theses prioritized efforts could rise to the surface as we work together and be unified and therefore strengthened areas of focus.

As a collective specialty coffee industry we are increasingly aware of the vulnerability of our access to our raw material: green coffee. The vulnerability stems, primarily, I believe from green coffee’s underlying economics being rather fuzzy and then subsequent values assigned to the product too often not covering production costs or supporting farmer livelihoods. Add that to abysmally low commodities market levels and perennial market volatility and you have a perfect storm   to serve as ongoing reminders of the hardships of coffee production; this is making alternate economic activities look super attractive to coffee farmers around the world and it will lessen our access to the supply we require to maintain our brands.

We need to focus our efforts as unified organizations on finding solutions to these complex challenges that jeopardize our access to high quality and differentiated raw material supply while we work to uphold dignified livelihoods throughout the value chain. We would all like to see specialty coffee be available for future generations to enjoy--both in producing and consuming countries!