By Kim Elena Ionescu
The creation of the Sustainability Center is a milestone for the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) and for the entire specialty coffee community. We know from surveys, volunteer leaders, and everyday experience that this community is full of passionate, knowledgeable, active people who pursue sustainability every day and at every stage of the value chain through their individual coffee businesses. We also know that a dedicated center will enable us to build better connections to and between those individuals than ever before.
The inaugural SCA Sustainability Conference is one of the new initiatives that the Center is excited to introduce in 2017. Scheduled to take place this fall in a coffee producing country, the conference will include plenary presentations from notable speakers, multi-stakeholder workshops, and small-group discussions on those issues most critical for our international community to understand and work together to address. Like many initiatives of the SCA, this idea has been in the works for some time and traces its origins to volunteers—in this case, members of the Sustainability Council who noted the absence of coffee producers and producing-community representatives in the conversations taking place at Council meetings and retreats in the United States. These volunteers envisioned an event in a country and region where it would be accessible to a diverse array of sustainability stakeholders, including farmers and farm workers, as well as sustainability managers, green coffee buyers, and baristas.
Details of the event and information on how to register will be released in the coming months. Please visit www.sca.coffee/sustainability-conference or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for future updates. This event will be open to all, and anyone interested in participating, whether as a speaker or an attendee, is encouraged to attend the Sustainability Open Interest Meeting at Expo on Friday, April 21st and 3 p.m. in Room 3AB of the Washington State Convention Center.
Kim Elena Ionescu is the Chief Sustainability Officer for the Specialty Coffee Association.