The initiative for coffee & climate and the Global Coffee Platform

This blog has been written by Michael Opitz, Director, coffee & climate.

Climate change is putting coffee production and the livelihoods of coffee farmers and their families around the world at risk. Changes in temperature and rainfall, as well as extreme weather events directly impact coffee quality and productivity levels. Additionally, global warming favors the proliferation of certain coffee diseases and pests which also contribute to lower crop yield and threatening the livelihood of coffee growing families.

The initiative for coffee & climate (c&c) was founded in 2010 as a pre-competitive partnership that aims to sustain and/or increase coffee production by improving resilience of producers and the landscapes where coffee is produced.

The methodology – the c&c approach – has been developed with more than 4.000 farmers in the 4 c&c regions (Brazil, Vietnam, Tanzania and Trifinio). Experiences gained in the implementation are documented and generated knowledge is shared by way of the c&c toolbox, studies and manuals.

The initiative’s value proposition is a proof of concept for climate adaptation and coordination of climate change interventions within the coffee sector; a working group exists with the standard initiatives including 4C, FairTrade, Rainforest Alliance and Utz Certified. It also offers a mainstream perspective of the c&c approach – the widespread application of practices supporting producers in their adaptation efforts.

C&C key regions:

C&C key regions:

The strategic goal for the upscaling phase is to further develop the approach towards climate smart coffee production and to provide access to climate-related services. Coffee communities are supposed to increase their knowledge of, capacity in, and ability to develop, implement and validate suitable coping strategies at farm & landscape level. At least 70.000 coffee farmers shall benefit from the project until 2019.

The Global Coffee Platform has interest in promoting Climate Smart Agriculture and has identified c&c as a suited partner for pursuing the corresponding work stream to the benefit of the coffee sector at large. GCP is offering support for advancing c&c knowledge management and dissemination of experiences.

With its pre-competitive orientation the initiative is open for all kind of dedicated actors and stakeholders in the coffee sector from producing and consuming countries and offers the potential for GCP members to join c&c as members and getting active in providing practical support for coffee farmers to develop and implement viable strategies for addressing climate change in coffee production. c&c offers to members access to Training of Trainer workshops providing in-depth preparation on the c&c approach and tools that have been developed. Furthermore coaching and backstopping are offered to accompany field level application and farmer trainings. c&c members will engage and cooperate for further developing the approach and upgrading sector knowledge and experiences facilitated by engaging in structured joint learning and coordination with local sector platforms. c&c members will also be supported in developing regional scaling concepts for joint acquisition of support through effective partnerships with donors and governments.

The breakout session at the first GCP Member Assembly gave platform members the opportunity of learning about the status of the c&c initiative and its perspectives. It provided an overview of the practical steps promoted in the field, featured farmer response and highlighted costs and benefits associated with the adoption of adaptation practices. Furthermore it indicated the increasing recognition of c&c within the context of the UNFCCC process after the initiative got presented at COP 21. It informed participants of related programming that with the support of USAID will contribute to shape climate smart coffee production in Central America and Uganda as a starting point.

GCP Membership Assembly 2016

GCP Membership Assembly 2016

Participants emphasized the need for adaptation and motivated c&c to advocate for a stronger recognition of this concept amongst donors and governments that seem biased towards mitigation. Participants also offered spontaneously to share knowledge and experiences with c&c so as to contribute to consolidate the sector knowledge base for addressing climate change.

As next steps GCP and c&c will further assess the practical cooperation potential and shape the work stream on Climate Smart Agriculture. The GCP board and the c&c Steering Committee will be responsible for corresponding decision taking. GCP will inform its members about c&c and the opportunity of joining the initiative as members.

The founding members of the partnership included Gustav Paulig Ltd (Finland), Joh. Johannson Kaffe AS (Norway), Löfbergs Lila AB (Sweden), Neumann Gruppe GmbH (Germany), Tchibo GmbH (Germany), Fondazione Giuseppe e Pericle Lavazza Onlus (Italy) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). More recent partners to join the initiative are Ecom Coffee (Switzerland), Franck d.d. (Croatia), the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida), Tim Hortons (Canada) and the Sustainable Coffee Program (SCP) composed of – next to Tchibo, Olam (United States), Mother Parkers (Canada) and Jacob Douwe Egberts (Netherlands) and the Sustainable Trade Initiative IDH (Netherlands) -, Starbucks (United States) and Conservation International (United States).