Climate Change and Coffee

Since early 2015, the Fondazione Ernesto Illy, illycaffè S.p.A., Luigi Lavazza S.p.A. and the Earth Institute have been studying the “Climate & Coffee” evidence.

This study is based on a thorough literature review and on original research of climate and crop data regarding the impact of climate change on coffee.

Some of the conclusions are that climate change will reduce production in the coffee sector and will significantly affect major regions, with agronomic and ecological impact from warming. Coffee crops, in particular Arabica, are vulnerable to very-high-temperature days, and simply migrating cultivation to higher elevations or toward the poles from the equator cannot offset the current location losses.

Lastly, the coffee industry lacks critical information. Apps on smartphones could provide GIS geographic reference data, updated by small farmers with information on how much they plant, their yields, coffee varieties, data on rust, bores or other pests, and other major events.

Within a few years, if all major buyers/companies work with coffee associations locally on designing the right apps and training famers to enter basic data, this data revolution could become a reality.

Watch Professor Jeffrey Sachs’s speech, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, held at the Global Coffee Forum in Milan on Oct. 1st 2015 at EXPO Milano regarding his call on the coffee industry to educate consumers about the steps that must be taken to address climate change.

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