Sustainability is essential to mitigate the effects of climate change and to respond to consumer demand for coffee.
Sustainable practices are becoming the solution for higher volumes, quality and incomes for a crop that is notoriously difficult to grow, and predominantly cultivated by smallholder farmers. Good practices can mitigate the effects of climate change and respond to growing consumer demand for sustainable coffee.
As climate change alters temperatures and rainfall patterns, areas that were once ideal for growing coffee will no longer be suitable. We are already seeing this in several countries, with many coffee plantations struggling to meet increased demand.
Inefficient farming techniques can exacerbate the situation, causing deforestation, soil erosion and the consequent sedimentation of waterways. This reinforces the effects of climate change and leads to flooding, which ultimately results in decreased coffee production.
Without support, many local farmers are either forced to abandon their farms or switch to crops that are less susceptible to the effects of climate change.
As a leading global merchant of green coffee, we are well-placed to help smallholder farmers address the challenges they face, and make their production more sustainable and profitable.
We believe that sustainable agriculture is closely linked with farmers’ economic wellbeing. That is why we choose to work directly with coffee farmers on the ground, supporting them through initiatives that aim to increase their income and productivity through sustainable practices.
Our sustainable coffee sourcing program takes a holistic approach with three complementary streams:
Stream 1: Boosting Production of Certified and Verified Coffee
Certification and verification schemes remain one of the most powerful indicators of sustainability within the coffee industry.
Boosting Production of Certified and Verified Coffee
As consumer preference and demand for sustainable coffee increases, especially among millennials in North America and Western Europe, so too has the number of certification and verification schemes.
Through regular audits and controls, these schemes reassure consumers that their coffee is responsibly produced, and therefore remain one of the most powerful indicators of sustainability within the coffee industry.
LDC works with some of the following verification and certification schemes:
The inclusive nature of the 4C Code of Conduct aims to reach producers who are not currently participating in the sustainable coffee market and bring them to a basic level of sustainability.
To find out more, visit https://www.4c-services.org/
C.A.F.E. (Coffee and Farmer Equity)
C.A.F.E. Practices ensures that coffee is grown and processed in a sustainable manner, assessing the economic, social and environmental aspects of production.
To find out more, visit https://www.scsglobalservices.com/starbucks-cafe-practices
UTZ certification shows consumers that products have been obtained in a sustainable way. Certified suppliers must follow the UTZ Code of Conduct, which provides expert advice on better farming methods, working conditions and care for nature. This, in turn, leads to better production, a healthier environment and a better life for all.
To find out more, visit https://utz.org/
From deforestation and global warming, to drought and extreme poverty, the Rainforest Alliance works to address pressing environmental and social challenges. The Rainforest Alliance Certified ™ seal is found on food and beverages in restaurants, supermarkets, airplanes, trains and hotels around the world.
To find out more, visit http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/business/
Fairtrade standards are designed to combat poverty and empower producers in the world’s poorest countries. The standards apply to producers and traders.
To find out more, visit https://www.fairtrade.net/
Stream 2: Supporting Farmers on the Ground
By extending our focus beyond certification, we reach more farmers and so contribute to a sustainable coffee supply chain globally.
Supporting Farmers Through Projects and Initiatives
Ensuring sustainable coffee production globally requires that we reach more farmers than we have been able to do with certification. LDC’s second stream therefore builds on – and complements – our efforts to boost the production of certified and verified coffee.
Farmers whose production is not certified outnumber those whose production is. Uncertified smallholders often earn too little to secure a living, let alone invest in sustainable production methods on their farms. We work with these farmers to help them increase their income and productivity, while protecting their local community and environment.
Our projects offer a wide range of support services. LDC agronomists visit thousands of smallholder coffee farmers each year, helping them not only to improve their agricultural techniques but also to comply with all applicable national and international laws and standards.
Alongside our partners, we organize training on responsible use of pesticides, access to markets, adaptation to climate change, accounting, intercropping and more. Increasingly, our projects focus on women or entire families, recognizing the key role they play in social and economic development.
Stream 3: Sourcing Responsibly
Spreading sustainable practices throughout the coffee value chain, without excluding any farmer or supplier, is a key aim for LDC.
Sourcing Responsibly Grown Coffee
Our third work stream follows naturally from the first two. By boosting certified and verified coffee production on one side, and supporting farmers through local projects and initiatives on the other, LDC contributes to increasing the production of responsibly grown coffee, whether certified or not.
Spreading sustainable practices throughout the coffee value chain, without excluding any farmer, is a key aim for LDC. To this end, our sustainability, compliance, legal and coffee origination teams worked together to develop and introduce LDC’s Coffee Supplier Code of Conduct across our coffee origination countries.
This document builds on LDC’s global Sustainability Policy and Group Code of Conduct, and aligns with International Labour Organization conventions, applicable local laws and regulations, as well as various codes of conduct and sourcing policies developed by our customers.
The objective is not to exclude any farmers or suppliers, but rather to encourage them to commit to a long-term and continuous improvement process, supported directly by LDC and its partners.