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COFFEE SECTOR HAS ‘FEET OF CLAY,’ SAY AUTHORS OF REPORT

COFFEE SECTOR HAS ‘FEET OF CLAY,’ SAY AUTHORS OF REPORT



As investors spend billions on acquisitions and mergers, coffee production is under threat from all sides, say the authors of the 2018 Coffee Barometer.

Without major efforts to adapt production to climate change, increase transparency in the value chain and improve social conditions on farms, global production will not be able to keep pace with rising demand. So said the authors of the 2018 Coffee Barometer, which was published last week, claiming that investors in coffee “are building their expansion on quicksand.”

The report was produced by Conservation International, COSA, Hivos, Oxfam and Solidaridad and claims ‘trouble is brewing’ in the coffee sector, due to a wide range of complex, systemic issues.

“Economic inequality is rising as a result of downward pressure on the value chain coupled with falling coffee prices,” said the report. “There is a tremendous lack of transparency about costs and benefits along the coffee production chain, which impedes value redistribution. As a result, producers leave coffee farming for other crops.

“While coffee is increasingly lucrative with an estimated global turnover of US$200 billion, less than 10% is earned in coffee producing countries.

“Behind the brand image, sustainability often seems to be an afterthought for many CEOs,” the authors of the report said, “especially when it does not directly coincide with the business goals of increased sales, profits and market control. Most companies continue to relegate social and environmental issues to their CSR departments perpetuating the separation from core operations and strategies.”

For more information see the September 2018 issue of Coffee & Cocoa International.

[photo: Neil Palmer, CIAT]

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