Each year since 2004, the Sustainability Committee of the SCAA has given out a sustainability award, presented at their annual event. The award is open to individuals, businesses, and organizations that have created innovative projects to expand and promote sustainability within the coffee world while inspiring others to initiate similar endeavors that are replicable, scalable and raise the bar of sustainability.
This year’s winner was Grounds for Health. This organization has a simple and focused mission: to work with coffee-growing communities to establish sustainable cervical cancer prevention programs. Cervical cancer is the number one cause of cancer death for women in developing countries, yet it is one easiest cancers to detect, treat, and cure when caught early.
Other finalists were:
- Cenicafé for “Participatory bird census in coffee-producing areas in Colombia.” Cenicafé is the coffee research arm of the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC). Part of its mission is to develop scientific programs favoring environmental conservation and biodiversity in the country’s coffee regions. Since 2004, Cenicafé has been engaging coffee farmers, their families, and researchers to conduct bird inventories in and around coffee farms. Twenty-nine communities and hundreds of farmers have now participated. The project includes educational programs including games and workshops, and publications (more than 100,000 copies of educational bulletins and thousands of posters have been distributed so far). The project has resulted in conservation and reforestation initiatives, educational programs, and has recorded nearly 450 bird species…and counting. Partners include the U.S. Forest Service International Program’s Wings Across The Americas, The Nature Conservancy’s Migratory Bird Program, and Optics for the Tropics.
- Café Femenino. A social program for women coffee growers in rural communities around the world, founded by Gay and Garth Smith, owners of Organic Products Trading Co. (OPTCO). The Café Femenino project helps women in Bolivia, Colombia, Nicaragua, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Mexico, and Peru gain empowerment, build social and support networks, and earn income through the production and sale of the Café Femenino Coffee, of which OPTCO is the exclusive importer.
- Efico, Rainforest Alliance, and Anacafe for “Climate-friendly coffee farming.” This project, which rain for 18 months through January 2011, aimed to develop the climate-friendly module that can be added to Rainforest Alliance certification which I wrote about here and here. Using pilot locations in Guatemala, the project conducted workshops for farmers and auditors, helped raise awareness of climate issues and adaptable farming practices, and tested the robustness of criteria (carbon storage metrics, greenhouse gas reduction best management practices), the practicality and usefulness of the module.