A coffee farmer in Chiapas, Mexico.
A coffee farmer in Chiapas, Mexico inspects coffee berries. (© Cristina Mittermeier)

In 10 years, the question may not be where you get your morning cup of coffee — but if.

Demand for coffee is soaring as the effects of climate change in the tropical forests and farms that produce coffee berries likely become worse. Increased climate variability could slash the world’s suitable coffee-growing area in half, disrupting not only our morning routines, but the income of millions of farmers who grow coffee.

To ensure that the coffee sector can produce a sustainable supply of joe in the future, Conservation International’s (CI) Sustainable Coffee Challenge unveiled a new plan of attack at the Global Specialty Coffee Expo in Seattle this month.

The Challenge aims to make coffee the world’s first sustainable agricultural product, working with more than 60 partners in business, government and nonprofit and research organizations to find effective solutions that address the greatest challenges facing coffee.

The new plan revolves around four actions that participants in the Challenge can engage in as part of the collective effort.

Uniting for collective action

“Essentially, the Challenge says to members: ‘Join us, roll up your sleeves as a group and let’s do something bigger than what we could individually achieve,’” said Bambi Semroc, a senior strategic adviser and coffee sustainability expert at CI.

For the past 20 years, the coffee sector’s progress on sustainability has been slow and uneven. To build momentum and drive action, the newest phase of CI’s Sustainable Coffee Challenge brings…