Coffee Sustainability, News

ITC, ICO and C4CEC launch global platform to transform biowaste into business

A global call for coffee stakeholders to use circular economy approaches could help open new income and job opportunities, a report has found.

According to the report, ‘Making a Case for Circular Economy in the Coffee Sector: Insights from the Multi Stakeholders Working Group on Circular Economy in Coffee’, by the International Trade Centre (ITC), the International Coffee Organization (ICO) and the Center for Circular economy in Coffee (C4CEC), the global coffee industry generates nearly 40 million tonnes of biowaste each year. That’s about seven times the weight of the Great Pyramid of Giza.

Instead of going to the landfill, coffee by-products can be upcycled into a wide range of products, from cosmetics to health foods, bricks and packaging.

A lack of actionable knowledge, inadequate regulatory frameworks, and low levels of investment from the public and private sector were identified as some of the leading causes of such waste. 

Vanusia Nogueira, Executive Director of the ICO says a circular economy approach will allow collaboration within the industry to tackle key environmental issues. 

“Our planet has been crying out for help for many years,” says Nogueira. 

“We must look for solutions to environmental and economic challenges to provide a better future for the next generations. 

“The circular economy is an excellent and innovative solution that can help farmers, governments, businesses, and consumers work together to create better jobs and income, reduce pollution and fight climate change.” 

The goal is to gather producers, small businesses, traders, roasters and consumer-facing companies, especially in coffee producing countries, to tap economic opportunities while addressing critical environmental concerns. The platform is also open to research partners, civil society members, impact investors and international organisations.

“Small businesses in coffee-producing countries have the most to benefit from the circular economy model, as it promotes bottom-up innovation and knowledge sharing, as well as sustainable and inclusive value chains, market access, and responsible business. We invite all coffee stakeholders to join this platform,” says Ashish  Shah,Director, Division of Country Programmes, ITC.

Using a scientific based approach, C4CEC aims to address these gaps by establishing the first pre-competitive platform for enhancing circular economy in the coffee sector. This is supported by a global network of partners: Giuseppe e Pericle Lavazza Foundation, Politecnico di Torino, the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, ICO and ITC.

This collaboration emerges from ITC’s Coffee Guide Network Circular Economy Working Group, the ICO Coffee Public Private Task Force, and academic approaches from Slow Foods and Systemic Design. 

Those interested in becoming members can gain access to the platform by applying online before 31 May. 

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