Climate change is predicted to reduce the amount of arable land suitable for growing coffee by 50% by 2050. Climatic changes are already impacting coffee production around the world, threatening the global supply, and the endangering the livelihoods of the 25 million families who depend on its production.
Sustaining these livelihoods and the supply of coffee requires farmers to adapt to these changes. To aid in that effort, Counter Culture Coffee teamed up with UK NGO Twin and Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University in North Carolina to produce an open-source toolkit that helps users plan and facilitate a climate change adaptation workshop with coffee farmers.
Similar to the case with cocoa, climate-specific Impacts such as changes in temperature and precipitation changes threaten the viability of coffee trees and the quality of the coffee they produce. Since these changes vary across coffee-growing regions, adaptation solutions will also need to be location-specific.
“While there’s no shortage of scientific data about coffee and climate change, there’s not much at the regional or local scale,” said Meredith Taylor, Sustainability Manager at Counter Culture Coffee. “Rather than spending time and resources to collect this data, we can get reliable information from the people who live and work in these realities every day. In many cases this type of information is more useful than more traditional data points because it takes into account cultural and social norms and resources.”
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Recognizing the urgency of the issue, the companies developed the workshop and created the toolkit so that the workshop can be easily replicated by other companies and organizations across the wider coffee industry. Participants come out of the workshop having identified two to three of the most impactful and feasible adaptation solutions for their organization.
The toolkit contains all the resources necessary for facilitators – whether they are NGOs, coffee companies, roasters, or farmer organizations themselves – to work with farmers to develop their own solutions to help adapt to a changing climate. Facilitators do not need to be experts in climate change science to implement adaptation solutions – the toolkit was designed to be used by any type of participant within the coffee value chain.
“Supporting producer partners to develop these solutions themselves means that they will be easier to implement,” said Hannah Ward, Program Manager at Twin. “Producers have ownership over the success and ongoing management of the projects, which is really what sustainability is all about.”