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The Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee (ISIC) is dedicated to contributing and consolidating robust, balanced scientific information on coffee production and consumption - providing a reference for professionals and authorities who address the health and wellbeing of people, and the conservation and protection of the environment.

Coffee is a complex perennial crop, grown across more than 80 countries in the tropical belt around the world. It thrives in a range of environments, depending on the coffee variety, ranging from humid lowlands to drier high elevations. Like any other crop cultivated to satisfy human needs, coffee influences its environment all throughout its value chain from farm to cup.  

ISIC has summarised the current knowledge on the impact of coffee farming on the environment, highlighting scientific facts, current practices, and measures that may contribute to or mitigate its environmental impact.

An introduction to Coffee & Sustainability

Globally, there is rising awareness on the possible detrimental impacts of human activities on the environment, and an increasing realisation that enhanced sustainable practices will help secure coffee as a viable commodity over the long term. With this in mind, coffee farmers, scientists, manufacturers and trade associations have been working together to understand, quantify, and possibly reduce the environmental impact of coffee farming. Many initiatives are ongoing locally and internationally to drive developments in sustainable and climate-resilient coffee growing, along with a sustainable livelihood for farmers and local communities. This includes the Global Coffee Platform (GCP) Coffee Sustainability Reference Code – setting out the primary principles underpinning sustainable coffee production.

It is important to acknowledge the human side of coffee and sustainability. As a commodity with large global scale, coffee plays a major role in ensuring a sustainable income to its farmers, and contributing to the wellbeing and development of communities. ISIC is committed to supporting farmers and their communities through science-based facts and practices that will help them to manage sustainable climate-resilient coffee growing over the long term – in collaboration with established certification bodies and international frameworks such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Science and agricultural expertise must continue to underpin and drive positive improvements for the planet, and ISIC is guided by ongoing consideration of the latest scientific developments and current knowledge gaps.

As a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to furthering the study and disclosure of research related to coffee, ISIC’s focus is specifically on the environmental impact of coffee – ensuring this is correctly represented based on sound scientific approach and evidence. This scope covers the growing, harvesting, and green coffee processing phases of the supply chain.

When grown and managed in the right way, coffee has a significant potential to contribute as a restorative source for the planet. Accordingly, ISIC focuses on five main areas where coffee science can aide coffee farmers and manufacturers to drive positive environmental changes;