Even as 2018 revealed troubling forces, we also saw some extraordinary work emerge. It is hard to miss that we are in a cultural moment where we are allowing some people’s mendacity and a brazen disregard for simple ethics to eclipse decency in many spheres of life. The corrupt perspectives of these new barbarians fill the news allowing rampant ecosystem destruction for soy and palm oil, the further decline of real income levels for already-poor small farmers, and worsening climate scenarios confirmed by the IPCC. But some things are shifting.
The UN’s sagacious Chief Economist and Assistant Secretary General (DESA), Elliot Harris, recently shared with me how leading financial investors can see the writing on the wall and are increasingly searching for ways to credibly measure the sustainability and resilience of investments, recognizing the value of sustainability for stable financial returns. Data delivers results in many realms but is only beginning to impact farm-level sustainability simply because something is missing: much of the data is poor quality and inconsistent or not comparable.
That’s why I am encouraged by the honest efforts of organizations as diverse as Danone, McDonalds, Mars, and the Global Coffee Platform (GCP). The three firms are committed to building new levels of supply transparency and sustainability into their future business competitiveness by correctly perceiving these as an investment in their future business competitiveness rather than a mere cost. Measuring the return then becomes essential. The GCP is bringing together global industry actors around a measurable and shared understanding for sustainable coffee.
Once finalized, the GCP’s Data Project can offer cumulative data to understand trends and core information that matter to farmers and industry. This will likely speed up learning that generates better investment opportunities and real impact for farming communities. Learn more during the GCP webinar Jan 24 at 10am EST or 4pm CET featuring an interactive discussion with eminent coffee thought leaders from Nestle, McDonalds, Brazil, and Colombia joining us.
As always I welcome your perspectives and your partnership to make a real difference.