SCAA expo 2

Farm Workers,SCAA

Let’s Talk Sustainability at the SCAA Expo

7 Apr , 2016  

The annual Specialty Coffee Association of America expo begins in Atlanta in a few days.  This event will be an opportunity for the coffee industry to discuss sustainability issues that are critical to the future of coffee.


The Sustainability Council of the SCAA*, formed by around 30 sustainability leaders and coffee professionals from industry, farming communities and NGO’s has been working on initiatives that will help advance discussions on these critical issues during the expo.


Educational sessions and panels

During the expo weekend, the council and its members are supporting various educational panels.  These discussions aim to bring together experts and practitioners working on these issues, create a space for debate and knowledge sharing, educate coffee professionals and look for alternatives and recommendations that the industry can implement to secure the long term sustainability of coffee.  Here are the panels that the council has been supporting.  Í hope you consider joining us in these discussions:


Topic Lecture Title Day / Time Room
Water Water in the Coffeelands: How Coffee Can Make Water Cleaner and Landscapes Greener Friday 4/15 9:00 AM B 405
Food Security Ensuring the Future of Coffee: Why Food Security Matters Friday 4/15 9:00 AM B 408
Farmworkers Who Wants to Pick Coffee? Why Farmworkers are Critical to the Future of Specialty Coffee Friday 4/15 10:30 AM B 407
Baristas Sustainable Specialty Business Models on the Consumer Side Friday 4/15 10:30 AM B 401
Sustainability Award Innovating for Sustainability Friday 4/15 10:30 AM B 408
Climate Change The Future of Specialty Coffee: Adaptation through Climate Smart Agricultural Saturday 4/16 9:00 AM B 408
Gender A Blueprint for Gender Equality in the Coffeelands Saturday 4/16 9:00 AM B 407
Cost of Production Exploring the Cost of Sustainable Production

Part 1

Saturday 4/16 9:00 AM B 406
Cost of Production Exploring the Cost of Sustainable Production

Part 2

Saturday 4/16 10:30 AM B 406
Sustainability What is Sustainable Coffee, Anyway? The Importance of Definition and Measurements Sunday 4/16 10:30 AM B 403


Advancing the discussion on labor

In addition, the council and its members are playing a key role to advance the discussion around labor issues in coffee farming.  The council is co-hosting a couple of discussions with industry, farmers, workers and NGO’s to discuss this issue that has gained increased relevancy in the last weeks with the passage of the new Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act and the new Danwatch report.


At the expo, the council will also present results from research that the international NGO Solidaridad conducted on behalf of the council in Nicaragua and Colombia to understand the challenges and opportunities facing farmworkers in coffee.  This information will help us to learn more from farmers and workers directly about good practices that we can be fostering in coffee supply chains.


The SCAA will soon release a new document created by the Sustainability Council that will provide information to members about how they can have a more proactive approach to farmworker issues in their supply chains.  At the expo and symposium, council members will be presenting new information on this issue and recommendations for the industry.


A green event

Years ago the council helped to create the association’s Sustainable Events Strategy.  This has helped us to significantly reduce our carbon footprint from the expo.  Among other things, every expo the Green Team formed by dozens of volunteers helps us to divert compostable and recyclable items from the landfill and educate members on the different opportunities to engage on sustainability discussions at the expo.  Council members will be supporting these volunteers every day of symposium and expo.


We will be busy at the SCAA expo, the largest coffee industry event in the world.  We hope you join the discussions we are facilitating and help us to find ways to make coffee better for every group involved in coffee.


*note: the author is the current chair of the SCAA Sustainability Council

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