Cuppa Joe? Many of us love our morning coffee ("the Joe"), but we should think more about growers at the source...

Cuppa Joe? Many of us love our morning coffee ("the Joe"), but we should think more about growers at the source...

Ah, that morning coffee -- so delicious for many of us.  The products of the "coffee belt," encircling the globe just north and south of the Equator, are made from a valuable commodity -- the coffee bean. Harvesting those is a US$100 billion annual commodity, writer Jodyn Cormier tells us on the Care2 web platform, second only to the value of the oil market.  And yet...she writes that the average coffee farmer gets $1,000 per season for his/her work.

That, Cormier concludes, makes coffee an industry that is inherently unbalanced and unfair.  And then the writer focuses on Vega Coffee (Nicaragua), a "subscription-based" coffee company that helps farmers pick, process, package, and ship quality beans direct to customers.  The customer gets the coffee within 5 days of roasting, "direct from farmers' hands to theirs."

The company's founder explains how this differs from many parts of the traditional value chain in reaching developed nation coffee consumers:  The family farmer typically sells beans to a cooperative, which sells to another or larger cooperative, and then it's to an exporter, then to a roaster (the importer), then to a coffee distributor, and on to a roaster wanting Nicaraguan coffee...and then through middlemen to retail customer.

The Vega firm has a roastery in Nicaragua, and local farmers are involved in the roasting process, packaging the goods for export to the USA (every two weeks).  Farmer-to-roastery-to shipment to US customer.  And women are encouraged to get involved in the usually male-dominated cultivation activities.

And what about climate change?  The views from the coffee belt in Nicaragua are shared in the top story (below) as well as many other fascinating views.  Conclusion:  Vega believes people (read: we coffee consumers) should not have to trade quality for sustainability.  And they are showing how it can be done.

Author Jordyn Cormier is a Boston-based freelance writer and "avid outdoors woman." The Care2 web platform is known for its "member petitions" resources, such as saving the rainforest and protesting President Trump's offshore oil drilling agenda.

Top Stories This Week...

Should You Have to Choose Between Good Coffee and Sustainability?   
(Monday - April 17, 2017) 
Source: Care 2 - Coffee as a commodity is worth $100 billion worldwide—second only to oil. And yet, the average coffee farmer makes a paltry $1000 per season (which is about $3/day), and that’s without taking into consideration drought or disease... 


Sustainability Trends, News & Issues in Focus

Women’s Empowerment In The Sustainability Industry   
(Monday - April 17, 2017) 
Source: Clean Technica - The empowerment of women is a global goal enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular SDGs #5 (gender equality) and #10 (reduced inequalities). One major area requiring immediate implementation of..

Want to make land use sustainable? It’s a wicked problem   
(Monday - April 17, 2017) 
Source: ArsTechnica - The idea of sustainability is pretty simple: Manage our resources such that they can continue to support us indefinitely. And, for an individual resource, sustainability is simple. Avoiding something like depleting our... 

Sustainability in Southeast Asia: Escaping the Catch-22   
(Monday - April 17, 2017) 
Source: Brink Asia - Environmental conservation and sustainable economic development have long been critical issues for Southeast Asia, given the region’s wealth of natural resources. These issues hit critical mass after the 2015 Haze—the term given... 

An experiment in sustainability: Change habits, not infrastructure  
(Wednesday - April 19, 2017) 
Source: Stanford News - In the first schoolwide program of its kind on campus, the Graduate School of Education is intentionally creating a culture of conservation, changing the way people work and live in the school to become more sustainable. 

The Best And Worst Cans Of Tuna, Based On Sustainability   
(Wednesday - April 19, 2017) 
Source: Huff Post - We hate to tell you this, but you’re probably picking the wrong can of tuna. Buying a canned tuna isn’t just about deciding between water or oil packed, dark or light meat, expensive or cheap. There’s a lot more that goes into a... 

Does Sustainable Investing Make Sense? ETFs in Focus   
(Wednesday - April 19, 2017) 
Source: Zacks - Sustainable investing is an investing discipline that aside from generating attractive returns also focuses on factors like environment, society, and governance (ESG). It focuses on investing in companies that promote environment.

Climate change and risk to fossil fuel industry: Sustainability train has left the station    
(Wednesday - April 19, 2017) 
Source: - Commercial activity in fossil fuels is increasingly at odds with global actions to reduce the threat of climate change. Burning coal, oil, and natural gas is responsible for two-thirds of humanity's emissions of greenhouse gases...

Corporate Sustainability Performance Improves Worldwide   
(Wednesday - April 19, 2017) 
Source: Just Means - A large number of companies around the world now recognize that a sustainable business strategy is not just good for the planet, but also for their own competitive growth. Key stakeholders, including investors and consumers, are... 

Focus on ESG Topics & Issues

Humans on the verge of causing Earth’s fastest climate change in 50m years   
(Tuesday - April 18, 2017) 
Source: The Guardian - A new study published in Nature Communications looks at changes in solar activity and carbon dioxide levels over the past 420 million years. The authors found that on our current path, by mid-century humans will be causing the... 

16 High-Tech Companies Setting the Standard for Business Ethics    
(Wednesday - April 19, 2017) 
Source: EETimes - increasingly, corporate responsibility in many leading organizations goes way beyond creating codes or green-washing corporate messaging. In fact, industry powerhouses understand that leading in terms of creating and following... 

Climate Change Shifts From Warm To Cold As Sun's Activity Diminish, Scientitsts Say   
(Wednesday - April 19, 2017) 
Source: Science Times - According to Natural News, researchers said that the data also revealed solar winds affect Earth's global electric fields and this in turn also affects aerosol formation and rainfall. The Sun's current activity is likely to... 

Executive Compensation Is Right Where It Should Be   
(Thursday - April 20, 2017) 
Source: CFO - Executive pay is just about right — for today, which assumes an efficient market. To suggest otherwise would imply that there is a market irregularity, such as a bubble or inefficiency, which causes an imbalance in executive pay. 

Fracking and horizontal drilling will reduce oil prices to historic lows    
(Thursday - April 20, 2017) 
Source: Financial Times - High quality global journalism requires investment... 

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News & Opinion: Asset Managers, US Pension Funds, Sovereign Wealth Funds

Fed's Beige Book: Economic activity increased across all 12 districts at modest pace   
(Thursday - April 20, 2017) 
Source: CNBC - The U.S. economy expanded at a modest-to-moderate pace between mid-February and the end of March, but inflation pressures remained in check despite more difficulties in attracting and retaining workers, the Federal Reserve said... 

Global sovereign fund assets ‘stall at $6.59 trillion’   
(Sunday - April 16, 2017) Associated Profiles : International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) 
Source: Arab News - The sector continues to evolve, with Abu Dhabi creating a $125 billion fund by merging Mubadala Development Company and International Petroleum Investment Company. Some smaller SWFs, such as the Turkey Wealth Fund, have also... 

CalPERS Reviews How It Invests in Private Equity   
(Wednesday - April 19, 2017) Associated Profiles : California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) 
Source: Institutional Investor - Just days after announcing that it planned to restructure its investment portfolio’s segments, officials from the California Public Employees’ System have confirmed that the fund is reviewing how it invests in private..

From the Corporate World -- News for You

Kraft Heinz says shareholder proposal withdrawn because of company's sustainability efforts   
(Wednesday - April 19, 2017) 
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - A day before the Kraft Heinz Co. is scheduled to hold its annual shareholders meeting, the food giant announced it has satisfied at least one group that had been pushing for more information on the company’s sustainability...

Walmart’s plan to lift a gigaton of carbon from its supply chain   
(Thursday - April 20, 2017) 
Source: Green Biz - Today, the retail giant announced Project Gigaton, a goal to remove 1 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases from its supply chain by 2030, equivalent to taking more than 211 million passenger vehicles off the road for a year... 

L'Oréal USA Announces Significant Advancements in Sustainability: Reducing Carbon Emissions, Waste & Water Usage, and Improving Packaging   
(Thursday - April 20, 2017) 
Source: Yahoo Finance - L'Oréal USA has announced major milestones in its sustainability efforts, achieving 100 percent renewable electricity for its U.S. manufacturing, reducing its carbon emissions by 84 percent, water usage by 52 percent...  

Target unveils new packaging sustainability goals    
(Thursday - April 20, 2017) 
Source: Retail Dive - Sustainability is emerging as a major differentiator for Target this year. The new packaging goals announced Tuesday come after the announcement of a new forestry policy earlier this month, as well as a chemical-free effort... 

Trump Administration News... Affecting Sustainability and Climate Change

Trump executive order to boost 'Buy American, Hire American' plan coming: report   
(Tuesday - April 18, 2017) 
Source: The Hill - President Trump reportedly plans to sign an executive order Tuesday riding on the slogan "Buy American and Hire American,” which aims to emphasize his administration’s promise to support domestic products and bring jobs back to... 

Will The Trump Era Spell Trouble For Alternative Energy ETFs?   
(Tuesday - April 18, 2017) 
Source: Seeking Alpha - The victory of Donald Trump has flared up uncertainties in the alternative energy industry. Far from supporting the renewable sector with any kind of incentives, the president has promised to revive coal. The industry was under... 

Energy Dept. chief Perry says coal retirements threaten to destabilize the grid   
(Wednesday - April 19, 2017) 
Source: ARS Technica - Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Rick Perry ordered a review (PDF) of electricity markets and reliability late last week, saying that "certain policies" have hindered the development and use of baseload energy sources like... 

Trump's EPA to reconsider oil and gas emissions rule   
(Thursday - April 20, 2017) 
Source: Reuters - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will reconsider a rule on greenhouse gas emissions from oil and gas operations and delay its compliance date, the agency said on Wednesday in the Trump administration's latest move to... 



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