Achieving Sustainable Development in the Coffee Sector

Coffee has a sustainability crisis. This crisis involves economic, environmental, and social aspects of coffee production. Coffee is tainted by persistent poverty, continued child labor, deforestation, and a lack of basic services in coffee-growing regions, and confronts growing challenges from climate change.

This sustainability crisis in coffee production is all the more noticeable in light of the recent coffee price crisis, which has further squeezed coffee producers around the world. While many consumers willingly pay high prices for the wonderful beverage that fuels their days, coffee production is not economically viable for many producers, and the price crisis has thrown a tremendous number of additional farmers below the extreme poverty line. Producers are price-takers in a global market that has failed to internalize the value that they provide.

CCSI and advisory board chair Professor Jeffrey Sachs were commissioned by the World Coffee Producers Forum to assess the impacts of the evolving coffee value chain on farmers, and to provide proposals for addressing sustainability within the coffee sector, particularly from the perspective of farmers’ economic sustainability. Professor Sachs presented the preliminary research results in July 2019 at the World Coffee Producers Forum in Campinas, Brazil. A final report will be made available on this page in the latter half of 2019.