Rainforest Alliance Media Release
This International Coffee Day, 1 October 2021, the Rainforest Alliance announces that Australians’ purchasing behaviours around coffee are changing for the better.
As the reality of climate change hits, consumers are continuing to educate themselves on the importance of buying sustainably sourced coffee and lowering their impact on the planet. Coffee lovers, in particular, are becoming more interested in where their coffee is sourced and how changes to their daily coffee rituals, such as buying more sustainable coffee, or investing in a reusable cup can make a significant positive impact, particularly when done collectively. To help people make a change, this week the Rainforest Alliance will be sharing useful tips on how to take action as part of its Follow the Frog campaign.
Melanie Mokken, Markets Transformation Manager Australia/New Zealand for the Rainforest Alliance said:
“The Australian coffee market is amongst the largest in the world, with coffee culture forming a large part of Australia’s cultural identity. In fact, over the last decade Australia’s coffee imports have more than doubled, likely fuelled by the booming café industry and an ever-increasing appetite for coffee. In fact, a morning coffee is so well engrained into most people’s routine that on average, Australians consumed around two kilograms of coffee, per person, in 2021. Similarly, demand is increasing beyond Australia, and unless something changes, the current system of coffee production will not be able to meet the increasing global coffee demand in the coming decades. The minimum gap that we expect to see will be 60 million bags. This is a deficit higher than the current annual production of the world’s largest coffee producer, Brazil.
“Without major efforts to adapt coffee production to climate change, global production could even be lower in 2050 than it is today. Due to rising temperatures, more irregular rainfall, and a higher number of severe droughts, growing coffee is becoming harder, the impacts of which can be seen closer to home. For example, rising temperatures in Brazil mean that farmers are facing more droughts, and because Australia imports around 15% of its coffee from Brazil, this could have significant consequences on the price of coffee on our shores,” said Melanie Mokken.
A recent survey by the Rainforest Alliance revealed that 83% of Aussies are concerned about the global effects that the destruction of the world’s rainforests is having on the planet. In addition, 63% say that they look for product labels to ensure they are making purchasing decisions that are more socially and environmentally sustainable. To add to this, a recent study by the University of Bath which looked into the thoughts and feelings about climate change and government response in 16-25-year olds revealed that respondents were worried about climate change (59% very or extremely worried, 84% at least moderately worried). Over 50% felt sad, anxious, angry, powerless, helpless, and guilty.
“With climate change at the forefront of many people’s minds, we expect that consumers will start asking more and more where their coffee originated, whether it was sustainably sourced, and if any price increases benefit the farmers and workers behind the beans,” said Melanie Mokken.
Coffee rituals in 2022
The Rainforest Alliance encourages coffee-lovers to make it a habit to ask their favourite coffee shop, roaster or brand the following questions and make small actions:
Ask where the coffee beans originate and how their sourcing practices contribute to sustainability – are coffee producers receiving a decent payment? Are ecosystems being protected?
Check sustainability labels that have been verified by an independent party – such as the Rainforest Alliance’s green frog seal – when purchasing coffee and tea in cafes, restaurants, supermarkets or grocery stores.
Take a reusable cup to the local coffee shop to avoid waste.
“Eighty seven percent of consumers expect companies to operate responsibly to address social and environmental issues and 62% say that they make sustainably conscious purchasing choices even when it is more expensive to do so. Australians are not afraid to support businesses with their wallets when they are doing the right thing for the planet, and this comes right down to their local coffee shop.
“At the Rainforest Alliance, we are working to better position coffee farmers by connecting them with responsible businesses, and by providing trainings in climate-smart and regenerative growing practices that help boost productivity and make them more resilient [to the effects of climate change]. A study with Colombian coffee farmers showed that certified farmers were more resilient to adverse climatic conditions. In a year of adverse weather and abundant fungal infestations, these farmers only lost 1% of their yield while a control group lost 52%,” said Melanie Mokken.
Less than 25% of global coffee production is procured as standard-compliant by the coffee industry, while as much as 55% of global production volume is certified. This means a substantial number of farmers are often unable to recognise the economic benefits of improved market access and price. The Rainforest Alliance continues to appeal to the industry to favour independently verified certified coffee over conventionally produced coffee in order to support producers and help create a more sustainable sector.
“The well-being of farmers and workers is vital to the sustainability of any agricultural business, and the Rainforest Alliance certification program also promotes the human rights of those working in the coffee sector. When customers see our seal, the little green frog, on products, it means that the certified ingredient in the product was grown on Rainforest Alliance Certified farms.
“It is important to remember that making small individual changes, such as seeking out sustainably sourced coffee, can add up to vast positive impacts. It’s not far-fetched to suggest that when Aussies’ change their coffee rituals, they really can change the world!” said Melanie Mokken.
 An independently commissioned survey conducted in June 2021 involving 1,001 respondents aged 18-65+ across all states in Australia.
, An independently commissioned survey conducted in December 2020 involving 1,003 respondents in Australia
 An independently commissioned survey conducted in December 2020 involving 1,003 respondents in Australia
About Rainforest Alliance:
The Rainforest Alliance is an international non-profit organisation working in more than 70 countries at the intersection of business, agriculture and forests. The Rainforest Alliance is creating a more sustainable world by using social and market forces to protect nature and improve the lives of farmers and forest communities. By bringing farmers, forest communities, companies and consumers together it addresses some of the most pressing social and environmental challenges of today. The organisation changes the way the world produces, sources and consumes, with a focus on cocoa, coffee, tea, bananas, forest products and palm oil through its certification program, tailored supply chain services, landscape and community work and advocacy. In 2020, more than 6.8 million hectares of land and more than 2.3 million farmers were certified according to the Rainforest Alliance or UTZ standards, which are designed to improve economic, environmental, and social sustainability.
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