During the World of Coffee conference that took place in June of 2019 in Berlin, Germany, the new report “Climate Catalogue: Brewing up Climate Resilience in the Coffee Sector” was released by five sustainability-minded NGOs. It highlights five specific areas of concern related to a changing climate in coffee-producing areas: the loss of suitable areas for coffee production and shifts to higher altitudes; increased water stress; the outbreak of pests and diseases; poor flowering and cherry development; and the growing vulnerability of smallholder coffee farmers.
The Climate Catalogue aims to inspire action by providing a clear understanding of the most pressing challenges in the sector, highlighting where there is room for opportunity, inspiring action through examples of successful interventions, and catalyzing investments by connecting coffee industry actors with available financing options.
“For the first time, such documents are not only giving a clear understanding of the most pressing challenges but also highlight where there is room for investments to ensure the future of coffee production,” said Niels Haak from Conservation International who will be moderating the lecture.
“Coffee Farmers and Coffee Industry are equally challenged by the threats of climate change to the future suitability of coffee growing regions. Major shifts or entire loss are predicted,” added Caroline Glowka from Global Coffee Platform. “Climate change is amplifying the challenges already facing the industry.”
As a crop with highly specific temperatures and rainfall patterns critical to sustaining production, coffee is feeling the heat. “Climate change is more than just brewing, it’s beginning to reach a rolling boil,” warned Tessa Meulensteen from IDH – Sustainable Trade Initiative. “That’s why we find it so important to make clear which investments are the most impactful, to ensure a future for the sector.”
The report highlights five critical climate issues namely: loss of suitable areas for coffee production and shifts to higher altitudes, increased water stress; outbreak of pest and diseases; Poor flowering and cherry development; growing vulnerability of smallholder coffee farmers and especially women.
“Despite the fact that climate change is a complex issue, the good news is that we know which techniques and practices need to be put in place to create a resilient and sustainable coffee sector,” explained Haak. “We need to keep pushing these efforts to global scale – this can only be done through increased investments and close collaboration across the sector.”
One of the six strategies to increase climate resilience that is highlighted in the catalogue is to boost investments in climate-smart practice on coffee farms and at mills.
Max Ochoa from the Initiative for Coffee & Climate knows from daily field work, that climate change adaptation pays off, even on small scale farm level: “Integrating Climate-Smart Agricultural Practices into farmer curricula should become mainstream. We have seen that these result in more competitive and modern farm management as well as increased resilience to climate shocks.”
The country analysis’s enable the coffee industry to get a quick snap-shot of the expected climate change impacts in 15 coffee producing countries. For example, the country profile for Brazil highlights loss of suitable land for coffee production of 18 percent until 2050 and even 27 percent by 2070. “Adaptation is highly site specific,” concluded Kim Elena Ionescu of the Specialty Coffee Association. “This catalogue offers a unique opportunity to the industry to invest in targeted activities that will ensure our future supply of coffee.”