Last month, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters announced a request for proposals for four $200,000 grants to organizations working on climate change. The grants will be awarded in each of four categories: transportation-related emissions, threats to coffee-growing communities, building political will, and empowering individual action.
They’ve just announced the finalists in each category. While I’m disappointed that a proposal by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center (developers of the Bird-Friendly shade coffee criteria) didn’t make the cut, I see that another great organization did. The American Bird Conservancy is one of five finalists in the Threats to Coffee Growing Communities category. Here is a summary of their proposal:
[We] will determine the additional carbon load held by shade coffee plantations over sun coffee plantations, and calculate the income differential per acre for coffee production for shade and sun growers. We will then test a system to stream carbon offsets credit funding incentives to shade growers to compensate for the difference in income between the two systems. If it can be shown that shade coffee can be economically beneficial due to its additional carbon load (from both a sale of credits and/or consumer interest), then this project stands to benefit farmers across millions of acres of the Andes and could be the land management driver that saves the Cerulean Warbler the fastest declining songbird in North America on its wintering grounds. The project will have multiple additional benefits for famers and local communities in terms of the protection of watersheds and traditional farming techniques which are currently threatened by conversion to sun coffee.
ABC does excellent bird conservation work at home and internationally, and does so very cost-efficiently. They are very familiar with Latin American shade coffee issues. I’ve written about their Cerulean Warbler campaign, which has included working with Colombian partners and shade coffee farmers to preserve wintering habitat for this declining songbird. ABC has continued to work on reforestation projects in South America which includes shade coffee farms. I’ve also written about the potential for coffee farms to provide carbon sequestration services, and think the ABC proposal is very worthy of support.
For the next week, the public can vote for and comment on proposals at JustMeans.