Achieving Sustainable Development in the Coffee Sector

Coffee, one of the world’s most popular beverages, provides livelihoods for at least 60 million people across dozens of countries. Promoting the long-term health, wellbeing, and environmental sustainability of the much beloved coffee sector should be a clear priority.

CCSI has continued its work on coffee sustainability with a 2021 report: “Responsible Coffee Sourcing: Towards a Living Income for Producers.” The report focuses on a critical but under-examined topic: the impact of coffee company sourcing practices on coffee producer and farmworker well-being. The report, commissioned by a long-term investment manager, analyzes the sourcing practices of ten large coffee roasters and retailers, and finds that all of them could do more--and some of them must do much more—to improve producer and worker prosperity. The report also provides analysis on the gap between coffee incomes and living incomes in ten of the largest coffee-producing countries, shedding new light on how deep those gaps are.

Download the 2021 report (72 pages including Annex and endnotes)

The 2021 report offers a complementary path to the suggestions provided in the Center’s 2019 report on the economic viability and sustainability of coffee production. That report was written in response to the sustained decline in world coffee prices. While many consumers willingly pay high prices for coffee, coffee farmers receive a tiny fraction of the final retail price. Producers are price-takers in a global market that has turned against them. These sustained low prices hurt even more as coffee producers begin to bear the brunt of climate change.

The 2019 report, written with CCSI advisory board chair Professor Jeffrey Sachs, was commissioned by the World Coffee Producers Forum. The full report, Ensuring Economic Viability and Sustainability of Coffee Production, presents the results of our analytical and empirical modeling. It provides several recommendations, including: developing country-specific National Coffee Sustainability Plans, establishing a Global Coffee Fund to finance sustainability investments, and exploring additional ways to increase producer profits.

Download the 2019 report (141 pages, including appendices)

Download the 2019 report in Spanish (145 pages, including appendices)

Download the 2019 report summary (7 pages)

Watch the movie briefing (~2min)


What can you do to help? See our recommendations below (download here).

Infrographics about coffee

Interested in knowing more? CCSI hosted a webinar with Professor Jeffrey Sachs and some co-authors of the report on October 21, 2019. The recording is available here and below. Additional answers to questions asked but not answered during the webinar are available here.