Making More Sustainable Coffee

Not all cups of coffee are created equal. It’s important to understand what we’re drinking in the morning, especially because coffee is grown in some of the world’s most climate-affected regions. In collaboration with Lavazza, we speak with John Kozsik, Lavazza Australia’s national training manager, on efforts aimed at ensuring coffee’s long-term viability.

To say that Australians adore their coffee is an understatement; we are almost obsessive. Whether you prefer a single shot or a double shot only to start the car, there are some deeper complexities in the beverage that we sometimes ignore.

Coffee cultivation, like any other type of agriculture, is vulnerable to environmental and societal change. Producing sustainable coffee, according to John Kozsik, Lavazza Australia’s national training manager, entails taking into account the “social, environmental, and financial consequences” of bean harvesting. “You want to look at how that product is manufactured along the value chain,” he explains. “Each country and region has its own set of requirements.”

Agriculture is the first link in the network. Some coffee producers are implementing larger teaching programmes focusing on sustainability, such as supporting mixed-use farming (growing more than just coffee is vital for soil health, and changing the crops provides farmers more than just a coffee yield to rely on) and regenerative methods.

Lavazza has specialised educational programmes to encourage sustainable practises in each of the three regions where Lavazza’s Tierra coffee is grown — Central America, the Amazon, and Africa. Kozsik explains, “We built up what they term ‘farmer field schools.'” “Before the coffee is grown, we’re teaching these men how to work their land [more sustainably] so they can best prepare it. Not only to ensure that you obtain a nice product, but also to ensure that the land is protected. It’s also about respect for the environment.”

More than merely environmentalism can be referred to as sustainability. To be self-sustaining, communities that produce coffee for the rest of the world must be supported. For example, in areas where violence has decimated plantations, there are currently programmes focusing on land restoration and reintroducing agriculture for the benefit of conflict-affected populations.

“We have a project in Colombia, in a town named Meta, where there has been civil war,” Kozsik explains. “As cartels rose in power, farmers were forced to flee their land and flee for their lives, or they were forced to cultivate cocaine under duress.” Tierra is a Lavazza programme that supports the rights and well-being of these towns’ workers.

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