Environmental sustainability criteria in the coffee sector – Lessons that can be learnt

Evgenia Pavlovskaia

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikel i vetenskaplig tidskriftPeer review


In the article, the issue of environmental sustainability criteria in the coffee sector is researched. Such important aspects in this topic are highlighted and discussed as reasons for the emergence of sustainability criteria for coffee and factors that make the production of coffee sustainable. Two widely used sustainability standards for coffee, the Fair Trade Coffee sustainability standard and the Utz Certified Coffee sustainability standard, are investigated more precisely. The environmental requirements of these standards in the form of environmental sustainability criteria, and mechanisms to control their fulfilment are outlined. The issue of control is separately highlighted, because it is considered indispensible for the constructions with sustainability criteria to function as they have been aimed for. Finally, challenges of the present situation in the coffee sector, when there is a variety of co-existing sustainability standards with approximately similar sustainability requirements are reflected upon. The article is aimed to raise interest to the potential of sustainability criteria to promote sustainable products and their sustainable production methods. In the long perspective, sustainability criteria can be used as tool to promote and safeguard sustainability, and particularly environmental sustainability, which is very urgent. The idea is emphasized that the experience of the coffee sector and central aspects of its governance approach towards sustainability can be efficiently shared by other industries with similar problematic issues, e.g. in the biofuel industry. Keywords Sustainability Criteria, Control of Sustainability Criteria, Fair Trade Coffee Standard, Utz Certified Coffee Standard, Coffee Production, Environmental Sustainability
1. Introduction
Sustainability criteria are gaining recognition as a tool, which can be efficiently used to promote sustainable products and safeguard their sustainable production. This is relevant for both domestically produced and imported products. The present article investigates the notion of environmental sustainability criteria and control of their fulfilment in the coffee sector, where sustainability criteria have already been used for some time, and valuable practical experience has been generated. The research on this topic is urgent and relevant, because other industries can learn much from the approach to sustainability criteria in the coffee sector and develop similar patterns, where necessary. As an example, key aspects that can be interesting for other industries are how a set of sustainability criteria for a product can be formulated, which issues it should include and how control of the fulfillment of the sustainability criteria should be organized. The issue of control is particularly important in this connection, because without appropriate control mechanisms and administrative bodies that are responsible for control a framework with sustainability criteria will not be able to fulfil its purposes.
Sidor (från-till)138-148
TidskriftEnvironment and ecology research
StatusPublished - 2014

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Juridik


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