Since December 2015 Conservation International has been facilitating the Sustainable Coffee Challenge – a multi-stakeholder initiative working to make coffee the world’s first sustainable agricultural product. Five years later with over 140 partners we are working to tackle some of the most challenging issues facing the sector, including farm renovation, labor practices, sustainable sourcing and the role of coffee in driving forest losses and the potential for coffee to contribute to forest restoration and nature-based climate solutions.
Despite these efforts we see continued challenges regarding all of these issues as well as continued poverty in coffee landscapes. And the impacts of climate change will only exacerbate the situation. Global consumption models predict a doubling or even tripling of coffee demand by 2050. Climate models predict a 50% global decline in suitable area for coffee and that future suitability will be at higher altitudes that overlap with remaining intact forests. The ability to meet future demand while conserving and restoring forests will be one of the key challenges for the coffee sector. It could also present some opportunities for coffee to be part of the solution to climate change.
This lecture will discuss these challenges, identify what the sector needs to do to meet them and how engaging in nature-based solutions to climate change via coffee can sustain coffee production, conserve and enhance forest cover and even diversify and improve farmer income.
Bambi Semroc is the Vice President of Sustainable Markets and Strategy for Conservation International’s Center for Environmental Leadership in Business. In this role, she leads the Sustainable Coffee Challenge, an industry-wide effort to make coffee the world’s first sustainable agricultural product.
Ms. Semroc has been at Conservation International for over 15 years always focusing on the food and agriculture sector. Her role engages leading agribusiness companies, retailers and consumer goods companies on sustainable agriculture programs designed to maintain critical natural capital, mitigate climate change, and increase the resiliency of farmers to shocks while maintaining productivity. Semroc works to ensure that these companies have the information and tools necessary to integrate natural capital and ecosystem service considerations into decision-making processes. Throughout this time, she has worked in collaboration with companies such as Starbucks Coffee Company, Walmart, McDonald’s, Nestle, and The Coca-Cola Company.
Prior to Conservation International, Ms. Semroc worked as a Peace Corps Volunteer in northern Togo. She holds a master’s degree in International Development from American University and a bachelor’s degree in English and French from Indiana University.