Little evidence that coffee companies’ sustainability efforts have an impact: Reuters report

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By Maytaal Angel LONDON (Reuters) – There is little evidence that the efforts of the world’s leading coffee roasters and traders to prevent environmental and human rights abuses have any impact, and most farmers operate at a loss and cannot Produce sustainably, a major coffee report said Thursday. The Coffee Barometer, written by a group of global non-governmental organizations (NGOs), comes as major companies such as Starbucks (NASDAQ 🙂 and JDE Peet are faced with increasing consumer demands for ethically sourced products. It also comes as the European Union is prepared to propose legislation this year to prevent the importation of commodities related to deforestation and human rights abuses. The move follows years of failed voluntary efforts by companies to clean up their supply chains. “While some companies have comprehensive (sustainability) policies in place, many large traders and roasters remain unclear about their commitments (and about) any progress on commitments. No one is doing enough,” said the report, which does not highlight to individual companies. . JDE Peet’s said it is aware of and concerned about the issues facing small coffee producers and has programs in place in 15 producing countries to address the most critical sustainability challenges. Starbucks did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters. The coffee sector is valued at $ 200-250 billion a year at the retail level, according to the report, but producing countries receive less than 10% of that value when they export beans, and farmers even less than that. The report also estimates that coffee is grown on approximately 12.5 million farms around the world, approximately 95% of which are small, labor-intensive properties that generally employ an entire family of farmers, as well as seasonal workers. Coffee, in other words, provides a livelihood for tens of millions of people around the world. ICE (NYSE 🙂 benchmark arabica futures fell to nearly 14-year lows in 2019 and remain below production costs for many small producers. “Small farmers (are) under constant pressure to cut costs, especially those related to labor and the environment,” the report said. He cautioned that while coffee has played a relatively small role in deforestation to date, this will not be the case in the future in the absence of sector reform. Peru already estimates that 25% of deforestation in the country is related to coffee production. Deforestation is the second leading cause of climate change after the burning of fossil fuels.

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