Announcing the 2019 SCA Sustainability Award Winners

Announcing the 2019 SCA Sustainability Award Winners

Each year the SCA recognizes three categories with Sustainability Awards. We’re thrilled to announce this year’s winners, who will receive their awards at Re:co Symposium the 10-11 April 2019.

The awards for Project and Business Model, created in 2004, recognize outstanding work in the field of sustainability in the coffee industry. This year there is a third award recognizing the work and impact of an individual, called the Sustainability Champion Award.

Sustainability Champion: Esperanza Dionisio Castillo

Esperanza Dionisio Castillo was born in Jauja, Peru and she is an Agronomist by profession. Esperanza worked as an extensionist in rural development and tropical agriculture, especially in coffee from 1977 to 1996 and traveled to Costa Rica and Brazil for her specialization. In 1997 she joined Pangoa as the cooperative’s Manager and remained in this role to investigate the marketing of coffee, an essential function of the cooperative. To date, Pangoa is consolidated as a leading organization at national level holding Organic, Fair-trade, and Bird Friendly certifications. They constantly seek social, environmental and economic development of their members and collaborators.

Project: “Mainstreaming biodiversity conservation and climate resilience at Yayu Biosphere Reserve” by Union Hand-Roasted Coffee

The project is located in Yayu Biosphere reserve, in the Illubabor Zone of Oromiya Regional State, in the south-western part of Ethiopia. This project was created and implemented by Union Hand-Roasted Coffee in collaboration with Darwin Initiative (UK) Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (RBG, Kew) Environment, Climate Change and Coffee Forest Forum (ECCCFF) Sor Gaba Union HiU Coffee. At Yayu, coffee generates up to 70% of the cash income for over 90% of the population. The aim of the project was fourfold (1) reduce poverty; (2) reduce land-use change/conversion; (3) preserve biodiversity (particularly critical wild genetic resources for Arabica coffee), and (4) minimize farmer’s vulnerability to climate perturbations. The project benefited five cooperatives with a total of 950 members directly, with an average of 5.5 individuals per household we estimated 5225 individuals have been affected, including 2600  women. The 5 cooperatives generated seasonal employment for approximately 250 workers per season.

Business Model winner: Agricafe

Agricafe is a family business that has been devoted to the production, commerce, roasting, and export of coffee for over 30 years now, differentiating ourselves in the market with a new business model of strategic alliances with producers in the region, which allows us to stand out with quality and consistency, and for making a contribution to families’ economies in the regions where we are developing as a company. We strongly believe that by positioning Bolivian coffee in a differentiated and responsible manner, we will be able to make a contribution to our country, to obtain more international relevance and to generate other business opportunities as a contribution to the socioeconomic development of Bolivia. With our Sol de la mañana program we have even been able to increase coffee production significantly, from the traditional 5 sacs per ha, to 30 sacs per ha.


The selection process for the 2019 Sustainability Awards was led by the SCA Sustainability Center’s Awards Committee, a group of dedicated coffee professionals who volunteer their time to support the SCA’s mission, and the winners were chosen by individual votes from the committee’s members.

Learn more about each category on our website. 

SCA Chief Sustainability Officer Kim Elena Ionescu said, “The SCA has recognized outstanding work in the field of sustainability since 2004 and with every year we see greater diversity in the approaches that companies, organizations, and individuals take to confronting the challenges facing our industry. This year’s awards reflect collaborations that happen across geographies, cultures, and supply-chain roles, and I’m thrilled to be able to celebrate a kind of innovation that benefits all of us.”


Re:co Symposium, taking place 10-11 April in Boston, MA, is a unique event designed for high-level discussion, leading innovation and strategy development for those passionate and influential in the world of specialty coffee. Through a mixture of speakers, interactive experiences and opportunities for conversation, Re:co looks at the specialty coffee market, the challenges we face and some of the solutions we have, and to shine a light on opportunities for growth and development and will delve into how these can be approached. Learn more at https://www.recosymposium.org/.