How cooperative coffee shops are leading the way on coffee and the climateDaily Coffee News by Roast Magazine

File photo from Daily Coffee News.

Through a number of strategic partnerships and pilot projects, grower- and roaster-run Cooperative Coffees (sometimes referred to as Coop Coffees) is helping lead the way in reducing carbon emissions across the coffee sector .

The United States Green Coffee Import Organization – whose membership currently includes 23 coffee roasting companies in the United States and Canada – builds on its ambitious Carbon, Climate and Coffee Initiative achieve net zero carbon production by 2025 while encouraging biodynamic and organic farming practices.

The group also helped lead the coffee sector in piloting the Cool Farm Tool, an ambitious, multi-stakeholder carbon calculator project for coffee farmers and growers.

Start with roasters

Cooperative Coffee’s current climate initiatives date back to at least 2016, when the group enlisted the company Taking Root to help design a “carbon footprint calculator for our co-op’s member roasters,” according to the chief executive. of Cooperative Coffees, Ed Canty, who was previously an organic and fair trade buyer for Green Mountain Coffee Roasters.

Says Canty, “For us, it was important to focus on the carbon emissions of roasters before approaching producer cooperatives about their footprint.

The Impact Fund

A key part of Cooperative Coffees’ current climate efforts is an impact fund the organization launched in 2015, originally to help growers fight coffee leaf rust, then used for pandemic relief efforts.

The fund is funded by setting aside 3 cents per pound of green coffee purchased, and it currently generates about $170,000 a year, according to the group.

Cooperative Coffees’ Impact Manager, Melissa Wilson Becerril, and the Group’s Impact Committee are working with coffee cooperatives to identify some of the most pressing challenges, while working with producer groups to address the increasing productivity, mitigating climate change and improving market access.

Through numerous field projects, it has become clear that soil health can have a huge impact on agricultural productivity, according to Canty. This was demonstrated by one of Coop Coffees’ long-time partners, a cooperative in Marcala, Honduras called COMSA, which was able to reach around 30 to 50 quintals (1 quintal = 100 kilograms, or 220 pounds) per hectare. while maintaining organic farming. production.

“These are some of the highest yields we have ever seen and demonstrate that COMSA is a premier organic producer,” Canty told DCN.

Drawing from the impact fund, the organization was able to send 16 different coffee farmers to COMSA Diplomatico Organico certificate program to learn about soil health and other agricultural improvements.

Small producers as leaders

Many coffee growers – especially small and organic growers – are already doing a great job of capturing carbon in their day-to-day operations. For example, while composting can emit carbon dioxide, applying this organic fertilizer is one of the most effective ways to ultimately capture more carbon.

Cooperative Coffees helped conduct a Cool Farm Tool pilot project specifically for the coffee sector to better quantify carbon capture at the farm level. The tool includes seven carbon impact parameters: culture; floor; contributions; fuel and energy; irrigation; carbon; and transport.


Here is an output from Cool Farm Tool showing an anonymous user. Image courtesy of Cooperative Coffees.

The group is once again drawing on its impact fund to support the implementation of the tool with participating farms, which then receive bonuses based on the actual carbon reduction. Coop Coffees estimates it will distribute up to $200,000 in carbon bonuses to producers this year.

There is a huge opportunity for organic farmers to also become carbon farmers as we learn to measure the great work they have always done,” Canty said. “We hope to provide [the Cool Farm Tool] both as a solution for industry and a way for organic producer organizations to have an even greater impact. »

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