Selling sustainability short? The private governance of labour and the environment in the coffee sector (Podcast)

Briefing or opinion

Published 30th July 2020 by Evidensia. Authored by Evidensia


This podcast explores the coffee sector's sustainability journey. Coffee is considered by many to be the flagship product and sector when it comes to market-driven sustainability approaches. Today about 30% of all global area under coffee production is certified and some say that we’ve reached the tipping point for making sustainable coffee the norm. But have we? The evidence on the impacts of voluntary sustainability tools is mixed. In many contexts, farmers are able to sell and earn more for their coffee but in many others they are not and price volatility, climate change and other market dynamics mean benefits from such schemes are unsure. So the key question we are discussing in this podcast is this – can the use of market-driven tools be the answer to the long-term sustainability of the coffee sector? When do these tools work, when not and what can make them more effective? To discuss this, we're joined by Janina Grabs a postdoctoral researcher at ETH Zurich’s Environmental Policy Lab. Her extensive research on the effectiveness of private sustainability governance in the coffee sector has been widely recognized and now comes together as a compelling story in her recently published book titled “Selling Sustainability Short? The Private Governance of Labor and the Environment in the Coffee Sector”.

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