Coffee Climate Crisis
- By Robyn Kimber -
- May 21, 2012
Robyn Kimber, Cafédirect Impact & Sustainability Manager, explains in this guest blog how Cafédirect are Screwing Business as Usual and launches their new Coffee Climate Crisis film and report.
In his book “Screw Business as Usual”, Richard Branson cites Cafédirect as an innovative example of turning the business model upside down. We have many examples of how we believe we are rewriting the business rule book, our most recent one is helping Peruvian coffee farmers fund adaption projects through carbon credits.
Unlike the big players, who buy coffee anonymously at auctions, we have a direct and personal relationship with our coffee, tea and cocoa smallholder growers. Buying this way means we are in touch with the many day-to-day challenges faced by growers on the ground and as a social enterprise, we reinvest our profits to fund solutions to these issues.
If I tell you that the biggest issue that these smallholder farmers face today is climate change, then that might not come as a surprise. We’re often reminded that climate change is one of the biggest challenges we face globally. And yet the scale of the problem is so huge, it often feels to be beyond the reality of everyday life. But if, like me, one of the highlights of your day is a great cup of coffee, then climate change directly affects you.
An incredible 75% of the world’s coffee is grown by smallholder farmers with tiny plots of land, and the livelihoods of each one of these farmers are increasingly under threat. The situation is so bad that some parts of the world, associated with coffee farming for generations, may soon become unsuitable for coffee production altogether. Unless we take urgent action now, we face severe shortages of coffee, drastically deteriorating quality and soaring prices, something that will affect us all – coffee lover as well as coffee grower.
So we’ve launched our Coffee Climate Crisis report and this film telling the story of one community of 6,600 farmers in Northern Peru and the devastating impact of climate change on their lives. These smallholder farmers were confronting torrential rain, flooding and landslides, destroying crops, washing away valuable soil and severely damaging infrastructure.
When Cafédirect heard of the conditions the farmers were facing, it set up a unique and ground-breaking sustainability programme that has enabled the farmers adapt to climate change through reforestation funding by carbon trading. It is believed to be the first project of its kind anywhere in the world. As you can read in our special report, it wasn’t an easy task, we had to find a solution that would help and enable the producers to tackle climate change themselves and make a lasting difference, but we think the results speak for themselves.
This is not an isolated case. There are approximately 25 million coffee farming families in 60 countries around the world, so more needs to be done.
But we cannot do this alone – it’s so important that everyone who is passionate about coffee can do their bit. You really can make a huge difference by buying responsible brands that are investing in the future of smallholder coffee farmers and therefore the future of our daily cup of coffee.
Please help us reinvent “business as usual”.
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