In March 2006, I posted about the Northwest Shade Coffee Campaign, a Seattle Audubon Society project whose mission is “to protect habitat for wintering neo-tropical migratory birds in Latin America and the Caribbean by increasing consumer demand for shade-grown coffee,” pretty much the same thing C&C is here to do (although the C&C scope is broader, birds, biodiversity, and coffee worldwide). In addition to their own educational activities, member roasters display the NSCC seal on their coffee.
My only reservation at the time was that the membership criteria were a little unclear (basically “carry at least one offering that is documented as shade-grown, educate its customers about shade coffee, and contribute yearly dues…”) and the seal did not mean any of the coffee sold by the member is certified shade grown, or that all coffees by the members are shade grown. I felt this could lead to consumer confusion.
NSCC has revamped their whole web site, and clarified these points. Members have to agree to the Conservation Principles for Coffee Production, which are now provided on the site. The member application (PDF) is also on the site, and criteria are now clearly outlined.
As of late 2007, NSCC has discontinued its membership program.
The last newsletter was produced in mid-2009, although the site doesn’t say they have stopped publishing them.
As of early 2010, NSCC no longer updates its news room (but refers people here to Coffee & Conservation).
Still, there are a lot of great resources on the site, and it’s a worthwhile destination for educational materials.