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Responsible Coffee Sourcing: Towards a Living Income for Producers

Cordes, Kaitlin Y.; Sagan, Margaret; Kennedy, Solina

Coffee, one of the world’s most popular beverages, provides livelihoods for at least 60 million people across dozens of countries. Promoting the long-term health, wellbeing, and environmental sustainability of the much beloved coffee sector should be a clear priority.

CCSI has continued its work on coffee sustainability with this 2021 report: “Responsible Coffee Sourcing: Towards a Living Income for Producers.” This report focuses on a critical but under-examined topic: the impact of coffee company sourcing practices on coffee producer and farmworker well-being. The report, commissioned by a long-term investment manager, analyzes the sourcing practices of ten large coffee roasters and retailers, and finds that all of them could do more--and some of them must do much more—to improve producer and worker prosperity. The report also provides analysis on the gap between coffee incomes and living incomes in ten of the largest coffee-producing countries, shedding new light on how deep those gaps are.

This 2021 report offers a complementary path to the suggestions provided in CCSI’s 2019 report on the economic viability and sustainability of coffee production. That report was written in response to the sustained decline in world coffee prices. While many consumers willingly pay high prices for coffee, coffee farmers receive a tiny fraction of the final retail price. Producers are price-takers in a global market that has turned against them. These sustained low prices hurt even more as coffee producers begin to bear the brunt of climate change.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
Published Here
July 28, 2021