Monday 20 May 2024
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Sca announces the launch of its new Coffee Sustainability Program

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MILAN— The Coffee Sustainability Program is designed for people at all points along the coffee supply chain, founded on the principle that sustainability must be embraced by all actors in the coffee supply chain if the specialty coffee industry is to survive and thrive. As expectations for greater transparency and corporate responsibility grow in the industry, companies are rapidly increasing the size of their sustainability teams and seeking knowledgeable, experienced leaders to forge their path forward.

The SCA Coffee Sustainability Program will help learners become more competitive in their existing lines of work as more and more companies, employers, and organizations crave greater integration of sustainability within their existing modes of doing business.

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– Nora Burkey, Founder and Executive Director, The Chain Collective, Coffee Sustainability Program Content Creator

SCA’s Coffee Sustainability Program is designed to prepare learners to become competitive in this growing job field.


The SCA saw a need for this curriculum for many reasons – increase in dedicated sustainability positions, faster growth by companies (including but not limited to coffee companies) with a sustainability focus/mandate, interest of younger people in working for companies with values that match theirs – and also because of the threats that specialty coffee production (and by extension, the entire industry) is facing. Many of these threats have been building across generations but require action by this generation for the industry to have a viable future. As specialty coffee has gone mainstream, so have its thorniest issues, and with popular press articles regularly questioning the value that farmers derive from the product they grow, the labels used to communicate sustainability to consumers, and whether or not we’ll even have coffee worth drinking in 30 years, it’s reasonable to expect that anyone working in a coffee job needs a working knowledge of these issues.

– Kim Elena Ionescu, SCA Chief Sustainability Officer

Three Levels

The Foundation-level course is now ready, with Intermediate and Professional in progress and coming soon.

  • Foundation – The program’s first course covers the major sustainability issues facing the coffee industry today and offers baseline knowledge of what the term “sustainability” means, how it is connected to power dynamics, current and historical events and practices, as well as a variety of coffee projects.
  • Intermediate – The Intermediate course introduces learners to global sustainability challenges and prepare learners to begin thinking analytically about the impact they’d like to make in the sector.
  • Professional – The Professional level course offers an intensive, practical experience in which learners design, carry out, and assess their own sustainability project in accordance with their individual, organizational, or business goals and capabilities

Why Coffee Sustainability?

A 2018 GreenBiz report showed that the number of sustainability personnel in facilities has grown by 15 percentage points since 2014, and the number of sustainability people in supply chain departments has gone up even more, by 21 percentage points.

Not surprisingly, the size of sustainability teams is also growing: 41 percent of report respondents at large companies said their team increased in the past two years.

Learn more about this program by visiting the website and search for courses in your area by visiting the class calendar.

More information at

About the Specialty Coffee Association

The SCA is a trade association built on foundations of openness, inclusivity, and the power of shared knowledge. From coffee farmers to baristas and roasters, membership spans the globe, encompassing every element of the coffee value chain. SCA acts as a unifying force within the specialty coffee industry and works to make coffee better by raising standards worldwide through a collaborative and progressive approach.

Dedicated to building an industry that is fair, sustainable, and nurturing for all, SCA draws on years of insights and inspiration from the specialty coffee community. Learn more at


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