Founder of fair trade certification calls for innovation

More than two decades of sustainability certification may have left a bitter taste with the coffee community, but new market developments and the digital revolution could put the power for change back in the farmers’ hands.

In the first edition of this year’s Global Coffee Report, Nico Roozen, founder of the Max Havelaar certification (1988) and executive director of the Solidaridad Network, shared his insights about the growing need for innovation in the certification system.

Time for change

“The voluntary standard systems are not designed for and will not be able to counter new challenges like climate change, the ageing farmer and future scarcities in markets of food, feed, fibre and fuel,” Roozen said.

Instead, he predicts that market forces like the strong demand for single cup coffee as well as the development of new technologies will empower smallholders and provide opportunities for self-assessment. In the article, Roozen cites Nestlé’s Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality Program as a positive example of this transition from compliance-driven to value-driven production.

Taking action now

The Solidaridad Network is also taking steps to move beyond certification. In Kenya and Peru, for example, current programmes focus on sustainable farming by teaching young people good agricultural practices, specialisations and farming as a family tradition.

As the coffee industry seeks new solutions, the Global Coffee Report provides the most relevant and current information and in-depth analysis from the sector’s most influential voices.

Read more on the Global Coffee Report.