Launch of global platform for coffee industry players to transform 40mln tonnes of biowaste into business

KAMPALA, May 16, 2024 -The global coffee industry generates nearly 40 million tonnes of biowaste each year – that’s about seven times the weight of the Great Pyramid of Giza. Instead of going to the landfill, coffee by-products can be upcycled into a wide range of products, from cosmetics to health foods, bricks, and packaging.

Based on these findings – featured in a new report by the International Trade Centre [ITC], the International Coffee Organiastion [ICO] and the Center for Circular Economy in Coffee [C4CEC] – the Center has announced a global call for membership of coffee sector stakeholders to use circular economy approaches to open up new income and job opportunities.

The goal is to gather producers, small businesses, traders, roasters and consumer-facing companies, especially in coffee-producing countries, to tap economic opportunities while addressing critical environmental concerns. The platform is also open to research partners, civil society members, impact investors and international organisations.

The report, “Making a Case for Circular Economy in the Coffee Sector: Insights from the Multi-Stakeholders Working Group on Circular Economy in Coffee”, includes findings of a global survey of the ITC Coffee Guide Network’s Working Group on Circular Economy. Lack of actionable knowledge, inadequate regulatory frameworks, and low levels of both investment and public-private collaboration are the top cited challenges to implementing circular economy at scale.

The C4CEC aims to address gaps by providing technical knowledge and establishing a platform for collaboration with a scientific approach. The first precompetitive platform for enhancing circular economy in the coffee sector is supported by a global network of partners: Giuseppe e Pericle Lavazza Foundation, Politecnico di Torino, the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation [UNIDO], ICO and ITC.

This collaboration, involving the public and private sectors, academia and international organizations, emerges from ITC’s Coffee Guide Network Circular Economy Working Group, the ICO Coffee Public Private Task Force, and academic approaches from Slow Foods and Systemic Design.

Ashish Shah, Director, Division of Country Programmes, International Trade Centre, said: “Small businesses in coffee-producing countries have the most to benefit from the circular economy model, as it promotes bottom-up innovation and knowledge sharing, as well as sustainable and inclusive value chains, market access, and responsible business. We invite all coffee stakeholders to join this platform.”

Vanusia Nogueira, Executive Director, International Coffee Organisation, said: “Our planet has been crying out for help for many years. We must look for solutions to environmental and economic challenges to provide a better future for the next generations. The circular economy is an excellent and innovative solution that can help farmers, governments, businesses, and consumers work together to create better jobs and income, reduce pollution and fight climate change.”

He added: The Center for Circular Economy in Coffee was launched as a pre-competitive platform aiming to share experiences, lessons learned and knowledge. The International Coffee Organisation is proud to be a founding member of the C4CEC, which aligns with our mission.“

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