Cool Farm Tool Grows in Coffee

One of Sustainable Food Lab’s flagship project, the Cool Farm Tool, is reaching new fields and farms.  Since 2008 the Tool’s mission has enabled millions of growers around the world to make more informed on-farm decisions that reduce their environmental impact. Today the Cool Farm Tool is being used by Food Lab and Cool Farm Alliance members with farmers in over 118 countries, helping farmers quickly and easily track greenhouse gas emissions, water usage, biodiversity and in the near future food & loss waste.

Since its inception the Cool Farm Tool has been used to track sustainability metrics in crops and livestock, opening up what is typically a black box when it comes to agricultural GHG emissions. The Tool also helps farmers and supply chain actors understand what the opportunities are for reducing those emissions and counter-acting them with soil carbon sequestration and above ground carbon sequestration.  As climate change continues to threaten farmers worldwide, Cool Farm Alliance members are turning to the Cool Farm Tool to model the benefits of good agricultural practices in perennial crops such as stone fruit, coffee and cocoa.

Among the companies using the Cool Farm Tool for perennials, is Coop Coffees– a cooperative of 23 small and medium-scale roasters across Canada and the USA.  Sourcing fair trade and organic green coffee directly from small-scale farmer cooperatives in 13 coffee-producing countries in Latin America, Africa and Indonesia, Coop Coffees prides itself on long term relationships focused around sustainability, fairness, and transparency.

Coop Coffees journey with the Cool Farm Tool, kicked off in February this year when Daniella Malin, Senior Program Director of Agriculture & Climate and Deputy General Manager of the Cool Farm Alliance, visited Guatemala for a learning workshop with the company and a number of its suppliers.  Looking to further its Carbon, Climate and Coffee initiative, Coop Coffees will be piloting an innovative carbon incentive payment program using the Cool Farm Tool with smallholder coffee farmers in Peru, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico. Coop Coffees plans to use the Cool Farm Tool to track carbon draw-down in organic coffee farms, and compensate farmers for this ecosystem service with a “carbon premium”, paid for out of their existing climate fund secured through a self imposed “carbon Tax” of .03/lb on green coffee added to all coffees sold to roasters.  Thus this “carbon tax” will be used to pay exemplary suppliers to compensate for the environmental services they provide.  The model created by Coop Coffees creates a simple, financing mechanism to help offset the collective carbon footprint of Coop Coffees and provide the financial support for climate adaptation.  Funds are invested within the supply chain to support “carbon farming” and best organic agricultural practices (enhanced composting, pruning and other soil building practices, reforestation, etc.) and farmer-to-farmer learning opportunities.

To learn more about Coop Coffees and their project with the Cool Farm Tool visit their website.

Photo Credit: Nick Beadleston

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