There’s something important you should know that concerns your daily cup of freshly roasted coffee. No, its not Covid-19 specifically its a much bigger threat that has been looming for quite some time and is even more menacing.
Climate change is the biggest threat to our favourite energy enhancing drink and is affecting the global supply of coffee. You will be hard pressed to find a coffee farmer who does not believe in or has not been affected by climate change.
According to the John Hopkins University, up to 60 percent of land used for coffee production will become unsuitable for farming by 2050. Coffee production has been decreasing year on year and the effects are being felt by farmers in coffee producing countries more than ever before. This means that the 25 million smallholder farmers who are responsible for growing 80% of the world’s coffee could have their livelihood impacted drastically.
Each year coffee productions vary dependant on weather conditions, disease and other factors, which results in unstable market conditions with wide fluctuations in price. This is why coffee is known for being a boom and bust commodity.
Pricing volatility makes it difficult for growers to predict their income and budget for their families and farming needs. This filters along down the supply chain impacting all who rely on coffee for their livelihoods.
The planet is heating up
Arabica requires a steady growing environment consisting of warm days and cooler nights around18 to 22°C and is particularly susceptible to climate change.
A Columbia University research paper predicts that if climate change continues on its current trajectory and the average temperature in coffee-growing areas goes up by 2.8°C, (it has already risen 1.5°C in those regions) then as much as three-quarters of the land currently used to grow Arabica coffee will no longer be suitable for the crop.
We are already seeing the effects of climate change from coffee estates in South America to Africa where crops are now more and more susceptible to diseases with yields dropping due to rising temperature and drought.
How does this affect me and you?
In a nutshell we will see some speciality coffees beginning to disappear with coffee prices creeping up.
With coffee demand growing in particular within developing countries coupled with climatic changes and less arable land. The quality of coffee and availability of quality coffee is on a balance.
Farmers across the globe are experimenting with hybrid variants of both domestic & wild species which can be harvested and processed to produce coffee with sensory qualities that are similar to or indistinguishable from cultivated and domesticated types.
Wild coffee species are critical for coffee crop development and have immense value for the sustainability of global coffee production.
Hybrid crops have been shown to withstand disease and climatic variances. This is a huge plus for coffee farmers who can plant these new hybrid crops to help reduce the steady decline currently experienced within the coffee farming industry.
What can you do?
A good start is to weigh your coffee (if you don’t already do this). This minimises waste and ensures you're only using what you need.
Say no to single use cups. In Britain we get through 2.5 billion disposable cups every year! A 2017 report found that only one in 400 cups end up being recycled, with the vast majority going straight to landfill, this equates to an annual carbon footprint equivalent to over 152,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide, similar to what 33,300 cars produce in a year!
What are we doing at Mara Coffee?
We are conscious that coffee is a global commodity which has to cross continents to get to us. It is estimated that in the UK alone, we drink approximately 95 million cups of coffee per day. We are passionate about providing variety but we also work hard to ensure that our approach is both sustainable and ethical.
People - Working closely with our coffee partners ensuring our coffee is not only of the finest quality but also sourced responsibly.
Planet - Although it would have been cheaper, we do not import packaging from outside the UK hence ensuring that all our packing is sourced locally whilst also promoting the local economy. Our packaging is all fully recyclable including our coffee bags, internal packaging, outer boxes (also made from recycled materials) including labels.
Carbon footprint - With every coffee purchase we will plant a tree on your behalf through a donation to Eden Reforestation Projects. An organisation that carries out large-scale tree planting and tree conservation operations to fuel positive environmental change.
Eden’s global restoration network is creating livelihoods for millions of people living in extreme poverty by empowering them to restore and protect forests on a massive scale. To offer the dignity of employment to people living in impoverished communities, who become transformational agents of global forest restoration.
I hope this has shed light on some of the important issues faced in the coffee industry and shared insight into things we can all do to turn things around. Mara Coffee will continue to play its part in doing things sustainably and will continue to share information with you on this important topic.
There is still much to learn about this and we always love to hear from others about their experiences so get in touch and let us know what you've been doing to get us a step closer to getting the planet back on track.