Over 25 million farmers depend on coffee production. While a lot is being done to support coffee farmers to produce more sustainably and become more resilient to climate change, still much more has to be done. Coffee relies heavily on the environment. Farmers are often the first to be affected by the impacts of climate change, such as rising temperatures, rainfall and droughts. On the other hand coffee can be a large contributor to climate change itself. Coffee production generates a great amount of waste water, organic waste and high toxicity which affects the soil and generates considerable amounts of greenhouse-gas emissions, contributing to climate change. These are large issues that require solutions supported throughout entire supply chains.

UTZ has been working towards better farming and a better future for the past 13 years. Through certification we have seen significant impacts in the lives of farmers and their workers, but we have also seen that some of the problems they face cannot be addressed through certification alone. Issues such as child labor, wages, or the impact of climate change require a cross sectorial approach. This means that only when UTZ works together with producers, NGOs, governments and buyers, can these issues really be tackled. Building on our experience and reach we are expanding our work to look at how we can join forces with others to make a lasting impact on these sectorial issues in order to create a better future for everyone.

In order to create a more sustainable coffee value chain and find solutions for issues like climate change, multi stakeholder collaboration is key. The Sustainable Coffee Challenge, officially launched during the COP21 in Paris, aims at making coffee the first sustainable global agricultural product. UTZ is proud to be part of the sustainable coffee challenge – an important concrete example of a cross sectorial approach and to contribute from years of experience working with coffee farmers around the world towards a better future for all.

In the next few months, we will be working with the coffee industry, producers and other NGO’s to create a roadmap and action plan that could take us closer to our objective.  We will work together to define specific commitments, create stronger linkages between existing initiatives, and align around common targets and measures that could help us to make coffee the first sustainable agricultural product.

Learn more about the Sustainable Coffee Challenge through the HumanNature blog.