SCA announces 2019 Sustainability Award winners

Union Hand-Roasted Coffee, Agricafe, and Esperanza Dionisio Castillo have been named the winners of the 2019 Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) Sustainability Awards. The awards consist of three categories: Project, Business Model and Sustainability Champion, and will be given out at the Re:co Symposium from 11 to 12 April, 2019. Esperanza Dionisio Castillo of Pangoa will accept the inaugural Sustainability Champion Award. Born in Peru and an Agronomist by profession, Castillo worked as an extensionist in rural development and tropical agriculture, especially in coffee from 1977 to 1996, and travelled to Costa Rica and Brazil for her specialisation. In 1997, she joined Pangoa as the cooperative’s Manager and remained in this role to investigate the marketing of coffee, an essential function of the cooperative. Union Hand-Roasted Coffee will receive the Project award for “Mainstreaming biodiversity conservation and climate resilience at Yayu Biosphere Reserve”. The project is located in Yayu Biosphere reserve in Ethiopia. Its aim is to reduce poverty and land-use change/conversion, preserve biodiversity, particularly critical wild genetic resources for Arabica coffee, and minimise farmer’s vulnerability to climate perturbations. The project benefited five cooperatives with a total of 950 members directly, and approximately 5225 individuals indirectly. The United Kingdom-based roaster implemented the project in collaboration with the Darwin Initiative; Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; Environment, Climate Change and Coffee Forest Forum; and Sor Gaba Union HiU Coffee. “Projects such as Yayu are fundamental for our business model at Union, working together with producers to improve the quality of coffee and livelihoods, with a tailored approach to individual farms and producer partners. We’re honoured to receive this award and to be contributing to the long-term future of Arabica coffee in the world,” Union Hand-Roasted Coffee Co-founder Steven Macatonia says. For more information on Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew’s involvement, click here. The award will be accepted by Union Hand-Roasted Coffee Sustainable Sourcing Manager Pascale Schuit. Agricafe was awarded in the Business Model category. The family-owned Bolivian business produces coffee from its own farms and sources high-quality micro-lots from smaller producers in the country. “We strongly believe that by positioning Bolivian coffee in a differentiated and responsible manner, we will be able to make a contribution to our country, to obtain more international relevance and to generate other business opportunities as a contribution to the socioeconomic development of Bolivia,” an Agricafe spokesperson says. “With our Sol de la mañana program, we have even been able to increase coffee production significantly.” Agricafe Founder Pedro Rodriguez will accept the award. To date, SCA calls Pangoa a leading organisation at national level, holding Organic, Fair-trade, and Bird Friendly certifications. The awards for Project and Business Model, created in 2004, recognise outstanding work in the field of sustainability in the coffee industry. Sustainability Champion was created for 2019 to recognise the work and impact of an individual. “The SCA has recognised outstanding work in the field of sustainability since 2004, and with every year we see greater diversity in the approaches that companies, organisations, and individuals take to confronting the challenges facing our industry,” SCA Chief Sustainability Officer Kim Elena Ionescu says. “This year's awards reflect collaborations that happen across geographies, cultures, and supply-chain roles, and I'm thrilled to be able to celebrate a kind of innovation that benefits all of us.” The selection process for the 2019 Sustainability Awards was led by the SCA Sustainability Center’s Awards Committee. Committee members’ individual votes decided the winners. Taking place from 10 to 11 April, the Re:co Symposium, is a designed for high-level discussion, leading innovation and strategy development for those passionate and influential in the world of specialty coffee. For more information, visit

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