Research has shown that global warming temperatures and change in rainfall patterns could sharply reduce coffee production in parts of South America including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico and Vietnam in Asia which could lead to rise in the global coffee prices, that is according to a recent report from The Coffee Barometer.
The two most popularly consumed coffee species in the world are Arabica – a cool-tropical plant with a mean annual temperature requirement of around 19° C (66.20 °F) and Robusta – which grows in wet-tropical conditions requiring an average annual temperature of 23° C (73.40 °F) . The major difference between the two being in their taste and the geographic region where they are grown.
Global temperatures and coffee demand are on the rise making farmers struggle to have a source of income, which may lead them to “expand their farms into higher elevations and into previously untouched forests,” said the Coffee Barometer, in a report which has been published this week by Ethos Agriculture with the support of Conversation International and Solidaridad. Approximately 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions is due to deforestation and about 7% of that can be attributed to coffee production, adds the report.
Ban of coffee imports from areas of deforestation are some of the measures instituted in the EU regulations which would seek to introduce due diligence rules for operators and traders involved in the production and trade of coffee and other commodities.
The EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR), which will come into effect at the end of 2024, however, would constitute “a significant risk that industry actors shift costs, obligations, and administrative burdens onto small-scale farmers in order to access the European coffee market”, warns the Barometer.
Most farms in coffee production areas of Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Peru, Colombia, and some Central American countries are small and about 95% of them are not larger that 5 hectares. Due to their small sizes, the farms cannot meet the EU’s traceability requirements and may lose access to the world’s largest coffee importers leading them to expand further into forested areas to meet the stringent requirements.
Nestlé, Starbucks, JDE Peet’s, Lavazza and Tchibo rank the highest in the Barometer assessment of the world’s major coffee roasting companies according to their sustainability strategies, social conditions and inclusion, environmental policies, and sustainable purchasing and economic conditions.
“The 2023 Coffee Barometer shows us clearly that even if coffee roasters want to have a sustainable future, the majority of them are simply not ready for it. Most have commitments but without metrics to measure their success and when they do have these metrics, they are not time-bound. The depth of this issue is shown by the fact that, when sustainability becomes compulsory rather than voluntary as we are seeing with the EUDR, coffee companies are not ready to comply despite having had this issue on their agenda for many years”, said Andrea Olivar, Strategy and Quality Director of Solidaridad in Latin America.
“Investing in farming communities in vulnerable landscapes may seem like the risky option, however these investments are essential to mitigating risks and tackling the root causes of global deforestation, while avoiding excluding vulnerable smallholder farmers from global markets,” concluded Niels Haak, Director Sustainable Coffee Partnerships at Conservation International.