Specialty Coffee Industry Looks at Sustainability Issues

The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), the world’s largest coffee trade association, is taking an in-depth look at sustainability topics in the specialty coffee industry. At its upcoming 20th Annual Conference & Exhibition, May 2 5 in Minneapolis, Minn., the association and a high-profile panel of coffee industry experts will present on key issues, such as the business challenges of greening a business; the effect of global warming on coffee growing in Central America; how a coffee business can become more carbon neutral; sustainable trade; and the impact of certifications on the farmer and the environment. “As the specialty coffee industrys premier association, our mission is to educate members and the industry at large on best practices in the coffee sector while assisting farmers in implementing sustainable business practices and increasing yields in an environmentally sensitive manner,” said Ric Rhinehart, SCAA executive director.

The Sustainability Track at SCAAs conference and exhibition features a wide-range of educational topics, such as:

  • Greening Your Business: Roasters and Retailers
  • Certification Highlights and Successes at Origin
  • Millennium Development Goals: Overview and Implementation
  • Global Warming: The Impact of Global Coffee
  • Taking Your Business to the Next Step in Sustainability: Become Carbon Neutral
  • Roots and Relationships: Case Studies in Pros & Cons of Direct Relationship Models
  • The Finance Alliance for Sustainable Trade: Building Businesses and Livelihoods
  • Specialty Coffee, Water and Small Holder Prosperity
  • Grower Perspective: California Sustainable Wine Growing Experience
  • Gender, Equality and Sustainability: The Role Women Play In the Future of the Coffee Industry
  • Processor Perspective – The California Sustainable Winegrowing Experience

Presenters in SCAAs Sustainability Track represent many well-known coffee organizations and others that are working to promote sustainability in the industry, including Anacafé, Batdorf & Bronson Coffee Roasters, CABI Commodities, Café Imports, California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, CATIE, Coffee Quality Institute, Deans Beans, Finca Selva Negra, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Grounds for Health, Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea; International Institute for Sustainable Development, International Institute for Sustainable Development, Sustainable Markets and Responsible Trade, International, Womens Coffee Alliance, Peace Coffee, Rabobank; Rainforest Alliance, Root Capital, Signature Coffee, Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, SOPPEXCA (Union of Agricultural Cooperatives), Sustainable Harvest at Origin, Taylor Maid Farms, Thanksgiving Coffee Company, TransFair USA, Trees for the Future, Utz Certified North America and ViewCraft.

The Sustainability Track is just one of the many educational highlights at SCAAs 20th Annual Conference & Exhibition. As the industrys premier coffee event, the conference features in-depth educational sessions covering a variety of specialty coffee topics, hundreds of exhibit booths, a keynote presentation from Michael Shuman, author of The Small-Mart Revolution, the United States Barista Championship and the Coffee of the Year Competition.

In accord with SCAAs mission of promoting sustainability in the specialty coffee industry, the association has created a carbon neutrality program to help offset emissions related to conference travel, lodging and energy consumption. All conference attendees are required to participate in the program. The funds collected will be donated to non-profit organization, Trees for the Future for the purchasing and planting of new trees.

Complete details for SCAAs 20th Annual Conference & Exhibition are available at http://conference.scaa.org/. For a copy of the conference brochure, call 562-624-4100 or e-mail coffee@scaa.org.

About the SCAA

Celebrating 26 years of success, SCAA is the world’s largest coffee trade association. SCAA members are located in more than 40 countries and represent every segment of the specialty coffee industry, from coffee growers to coffee roasters and retailers. The SCAA’s mission is to be the recognized authority on specialty coffee, providing a common forum for the development and promotion of coffee excellence and sustainability.

The SCAA’s dedication to excellence in coffee is realized through the setting of quality standards for the industry; conducting research on coffee, equipment and perfection of craft; and providing education, training, resources and business services for members. The SCAA’s annual conference is held in a different U.S. city each year and is the coffee industry’s largest gathering and exhibition.

Note to Editor: Interviews with Sustainability Track session instructors before, during and after SCAAs 2008 Conference & Exhibition are available upon request. Press registration is online at: http://conference.scaa.org/.


Uganda: Coffee Exports Fell Due to Kenya Crisis

COFFEE exports for last month sagged to earn the country a paltry Shs63 billion Shs3.8 billion less than the January earnings.

A February report from Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) indicates that coffee export volumes also fell by 11.7 per cent although it was 43 per cent higher than the same period last year.


The report attributes the slump to the post-election violence in neighbouring Kenya that cut off the export route through the port of Mombasa and led to the shortage of export containers.

Only 318, 346 bags of coffee were exported in February compared to 360,785 exported in January. The report cites renewed optimism with the improved transport flow across the Uganda and Kenya borders and the rains that have stimulated internal marketing resulting into a rise in farm-gate prices.

“This has led to improved agronomic practices to increase production and the rains have also induced flowering in most parts of the country,” the report says in part.

Harvests this month are therefore expected to be better with the situation in Kenya having improved and the availability of fuel and containers.

Coffee is the major foreign exchange earner for Uganda and earned $257 million in exports last year from 2 million bags exported.

In February, coffee farm-gate prices for Robusta Kiboko averaged Shs1,500 per kilo and FAQ parchment prices ranged between Shs2,900 to Shs3,100 per kilo a Shs200 increase on the January price.

According to the report, Arabica coffee exports performed best totalling 36,430 bags worth over Shs8.5 billion ($5.4 million). This represents an increase in both volume and value of 5.9 per cent and 8 per cent from 34,409 bags over Shs6.8 billion (about $ 4.99 million), respectively over the previous month.

UCDA projects March exports to go up to a hefty 210,000 bags basing on the seasonality of the crop and and the easy flow of goods across the borders of the country.