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Sca Sustainability Awards: Here are the 2023 Winners

A committee comprised of SCA staff and previous SCA Sustainability Award winners have reviewed the finalists in each category announced earlier this month, and selected the winners. Winners will be formally recognized for their achievement at Re:co Symposium, April 19-20, 2023 in Portland, OR

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SANTA ANA, USA – The Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) presents the 2023 Sustainability Award Winners, recognizing excellence in sustainability across the industry. The 2023 Sustainability Awards consist of three categories: Individual, Business Model, and Project, recognizing outstanding work in the field of sustainability and promoting sustainability within the coffee world while inspiring others to initiate similar endeavors.

A committee comprised of SCA staff and previous SCA Sustainability Award winners have reviewed the finalists in each category announced earlier this month, and selected the winners. Winners will be formally recognized for their achievement at Re:co Symposium, April 19-20, 2023 in Portland, OR.

The 2023 Sustainability Award winners are:

  • Business Model: Primavera Green Coffee
  • Project: RENACER Coffee Training School by Catholic Relief Services (CRS)
  • Individual: José Rivera, Founder and Commercial CEO of Origin Coffee Lab (OCL) and David Griswold, CEO and Founder of Sustainable Harvest Inc.*

The projects, business models, and people receiving these awards are not only dedicated to confronting the enormous challenges facing the specialty coffee industry—from climate change to gender inequality—but also collaborating across geographies, cultures, and value chain roles, and sharing the lessons they have learned for the benefit of the entire coffee sector.

SCA Sustainability Director Andrés Montenegro states, “Since 2004, the SCA has recognized outstanding work that pushes boundaries in the coffee industry and enables progress. The projects, business models, and individuals receiving these awards are dedicated to rewiring mindsets and shaping behaviors to create a thriving coffee sector.

This year’s Sustainability Award winners remind us that the coffee sector’s sustainability journey is collaborative, and also that sustainability is not a goal, but a way of thinking and behaving for the common good, to make coffee better, for all.”

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*For the individual category the judging panel, composed of 11 former SCA Sustainability Awards winners, scored two finalists with the same aggregated score. These winners, represent distant visions and trajectories, linked by their commitment to create a thriving coffee sector. For that reason, the SCA has awarded this year’s individual recognition to both.

About Primavera Green Coffee

Primavera Green Coffee is a coffee exporter and importer specializing in excellent coffees from Guatemala, along with new coffees from other origins such as Colombia. Founded by a fourth generation coffee grower, the business strives to reward farmers for high quality coffee and to create equitable long-term partnerships with producers. Primavera keeps economic, environmental, and social sustainability at the heart of its operations – from a dry mill powered by solar energy to an innovative profit-sharing program to reward producers for special lots as well as for membership in cooperatives.

Their annually published Sustainability Report serves as a model for the industry, sharing transparency information and value chain insights across all aspects of sustainability. Roasters around the world trust Primavera for its commitment to sourcing beautiful coffees from producers who are compensated fairly, with respect for the environment and for the farming communities that rely on coffee production. | primavera.coffee

About RENACER Coffee Training School by Catholic Relief Services (CRS)

RENACER is a coffee school in western El Salvador that trains farmers and farm managers on cost-effective practices for coffee farm renovation, tree management, and harvesting. RENACER students include small-scale farmers and farm managers from cooperatives as well as larger farms. RENACER also supports farmers to market their coffee through various market channels, including facilitating direct marketing (roasters to farmers) and an innovative export-service-provider model, where RENACER partners help facilitates contracts between farmers, millers/exporters, and importers to ensure farmers receive an equitable share of the value of coffee. RENACER has a coffee cupping lab, where farmers can have their coffees evaluated by certified cuppers and where farmers can learn to understand how to increase the value of their coffee. RENACER started in 2019 as a project and continues to expand as a collaboration between NGOs, private companies, .

RENACER has been supported primarily by RAICES program (www.raices.sv) and is now funded through a combination of grants, scholarships (for students), and service contracts from multiple donors. RENACER represents a sustainable impact model that scaled an NGOsupported project into a viable, long-term market-based partnership. Nearly all technical staff (12 staff) employed by RENACER are young people (younger than 25) and increasingly students that attend RENACER include youth and young professionals. | renacer.cafe

About José Rivera, Founder and Commercial CEO of Origin Coffee Lab (OCL)

Jose was born and raised in the same area OCL is based in. His grandparents started growing coffee trees in San Ignacio, and his father also ran a coffee cooperative in Cajamarca, northern Peru. When founding OCL, his goal was clear from the start: not only to raise the reputation of Peruvian coffee in the world market but also to improve farmers’ living conditions through sustainable practices.

He has literally gone through every step of the coffee market chain. From picking coffee cherries on his parent’s farm while learning the inner workings of coffee cooperatives to working as a roaster and cupper both in Lima and in the US, to now, managing his own export company. Jose received coffee training at Intelligentsia in the US and then landed a position at Metric Coffee in Chicago, where he was in charge of buying green coffee and roasting the beans for 5 years.It was there that he realized the extremely low reputation Peruvian coffee had among buyers.

However, he was confident of its potential and decided to step up to the challenge. He started by submitting a Peruvian coffee to Good Food Awards and made it to second place. That sparked the conversation of what would become the renaissance of Peruvian coffee in the world. His colleagues started appreciating and buying coffee from Peru. But he knew he needed to further empower coffee producers back home so Jose and his wife (and work partner) Mariagracia, left their life in the US and moved back to Cajamarca. Origin Coffee Lab was established in 2017 with a direct-trade approach. What started with 4 people, now has become a full-fledged coffee company with 23 employees, working with over 360 partner producers. His biggest role is to teach the value of coffee to farmers who do not know the value of the coffee they grow and to encourage them to produce better coffee with longterm sustainable benefits. Through a focus on increasing producers’ profit margins and comprehensive farmer training (both in sustainable process techniques and business models), Jose is able to help the coffee communities he grew up in and make truly lasting changes. | origincoffeelab.com

About David Griswold, CEO and Founder, Sustainable Harvest Coffee Importers

In 2022, Griswold led his company to earn the highest score among all coffee firms for sustainability according to the assessment of B Lab, the certifying agency of the B Corporations program. Sustainable Harvest’s score of 151.4 is among the highest rank among all the B Corps 6,000 certified companies. (Out of a 200-point system, 80 points are the minimum required to be certified, and average businesses score around 50 points.)

In 2018, he received the Leadership Medal of Merit Award from Coffee Quality Institute Individual for his decades of investment in training farmers in coffee. In 2017, he co-created the Question Coffee program, a coffee brand managed and owned by women coffee growers which became the leading and award-winning roasted coffee brand from Rwanda.

In 2015, he co-developed the Most Valuable Producer (MVP) producer program that has trained hundreds of producers through online and in-person events in all areas of coffee production and market access. In 2013, he partnered with Bloomberg Philanthropies to build the largest gender program in the coffee industry, impacting 40,000 women in DRC and Rwanda (2013-2020).

In 2012, he received the G20 Summit Inclusive Business Winner in Mexico. In 2010, he was invited to the Clinton Global Initiative to present on the Gombe Goodall Tanzania Coffee Biodiversity and Chimpanzee Conservation project. In 2002, he cocreated with Jorge Cuevas the Let’s Talk Coffee global gathering of all the supply chain stakeholders, which has lasted for 20 years (2003-2023). In 1997, he developed the transparent multi-stakeholder Relationship Coffee Model, later featured by Stanford University and Cornell University as an alternative sustainable business model for coffee. | sustainableharvest.com

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