Sunday 07 August 2022

Sca announces the winners for the 3 categories of the 2020 Sustainability Awards

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MILAN – The Specialty Coffee Association has unveiled the 2020 winners of the Sustainability Awards, who will be recognized for their achievements at this year’s virtual Re:co Symposium on Thursday, July 16 at 11:15-11:45 PST.

The awards for Project and Business Model recognize outstanding work in the field of sustainability in the coffee industry and the Sustainability Champion award recognizes the work done by an individual in pursuit of a sustainable specialty coffee sector throughout their career. This year the 2020 Sustainability Award is sponsored by Farmer Brothers.

Project Winner: “Las Manos del Café,” a Project by RGC Coffee Inc.

Farmworkers are among the most vulnerable and invisible partners in the coffee supply chain, and yet, most projects focus solely on improving the well-being of coffee producers. “Las Manos del Café” works to meet the needs of farmworkers, producers, and local organizations, while also identifying alternatives to make employment within the coffee industry more socially viable.

For the first time a project is focused on workers, with farmers willing to share 100% of the social premium in their well-being. The focus of the implementation is to establish mechanisms that are able to captivate the scarce manual labor available for crop-related activities, producing a series of public recommendations that strengthen the industry.

This project makes it possible to confirm the extent to which solutions implemented work for producers, workers, industry and local organizations, through partnership with researchers that have been accompanying the project since it began.

Business Model Winner: Cooperative Coffees

Cooperative Coffees is an importer of Fair Trade and Organic coffee, committed to improving the livelihood of small-scale coffee farmers, providing services to their members, and creating connections that have regenerative and sustainable impact.

Founded in 1999, seven forward-thinking coffee roasters created an innovative coffee importing system that fostered long-term relationships with farmers as partners in trade, becoming the first roaster-owned, green coffee importing cooperative.

Today, Cooperative Coffees has 23 members throughout North America and partners with 54 producer organizations in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Above all, the cooperative is a community of roasters committed to contributing to the health and sustainable development of producer communities and strengthening connections across the entire supply chain.

Sustainability Champion: Dr. Timothy Schilling

Dr. Timothy Schilling’s work as the leader of two USAID programs to generate food security and increased incomes for widows and orphans in post-genocide in Rwanda (the PEARL, SPREAD programs), and his creation of the world’s first global, collaborative R&D organization for coffee, World Coffee Research, comprise one of the most compelling records of contribution to food security and increased livelihoods in coffee-producing nations by any one individual of this era.

Over the course of his 18-year career in coffee, Schilling has been an exceptional leader and problem-solver; an adaptable, flexible, and innovative thinker and partner; relentlessly focused on impact and change-making; and an inspiration to dozens or hundreds of young people who will lead the coffee sector into its next generation. He formed technological, human, and institutional capital that will serve coffee producers worldwide for decades to come.

The selection process for the 2020 Sustainability Awards

The selection process for the 2020 Sustainability Awards was led by a committee of staff and volunteers in the SCA Sustainability Department, and the winners were chosen by individual votes from the committee’s members.

Learn more about each category by clicking here.

SCA Chief Sustainability and Knowledge Development Officer Kim Elena Ionescu said about the Sustainability Awards:

“The growth in applications to the SCA’s sustainability awards—this year there were more than 70—reflects the specialty coffee community’s increasing engagement in sustainability. This year’s winners have all demonstrated tenacity in the face of obstacles and doubts, and they are inspiring examples of what is possible with a powerful combination of vision, persistence, and collaboration.”

Re:co Symposium, is a unique event designed for high-level discussion, leading innovation and strategy development for those passionate and influential in the world of specialty coffee that usually takes place mid-April, right before the Specialty Coffee EXPO. Through a mixture of speakers, interactive experiences and opportunities for conversation, Re:co looks at the specialty coffee market, the challenges we face and some of the solutions we have, and to shine a light on opportunities for growth and development and will delve into how these can be approached.

While this year the event had to be cancelled, digital lectures will be released and the specialty community looks ahead to meeting in-person in 2021 in New Orleans. Learn more at

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