Funcafé and Progreso Foundation Awarded with 2017 SCA Sustainability Awards

As part of its mission, SCA is actively involved in sustainability and looks to its members to take leadership roles in sustainable practices within the specialty coffee sector. With this in mind, the Sustainability Award was created in 2003 to promote, encourage and honor the efforts of those serving as role models through sustainable projects in the coffee sector.

This year, in additional the Project category, a new category—Business Model—is being award to celebrate innovative business models to expand and promote sustainability within the coffee world.

The award winners will be highlighted at the Global Specialty Coffee Expo in Seattle, WA next month.

Winner in the Sustainability Award “Project” Category: Funcafé

This award celebrates innovative projects that expand and promote sustainability within the coffee world. In addition to recognizing the hard work of the individuals, businesses and organizations who created and implemented the project, the award aims to inspire others to initiate similar endeavors.

Project applications were judged on the following four criteria:

1. Projects that have undertaken innovative measures to include all or several aspects of social, economic and environmental development. Projects that have enhanced the long-term sustainability of the coffee industry by improving conditions for the people depending on coffee for their livelihood and/or creating conditions that have resulted in improved long-term durability of the project, in either producing or consuming areas across the industry.

2. Projects that are replicable; they can be successfully implemented in a variety of locations and contexts.

3. Projects that are scalable; they can be successfully adapted at both larger and smaller levels of the specialty coffee industry, hence making them more easily implemented.

4. Projects that inspire other industry members who wish to contribute toward the specialty coffee industry’s desire to achieve the targets set forth by United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This year’s winner, Funcafé, is working in collaboration with USAID, Italian Cooperation, ANACAFE, Guatemalan Ministry of Education, and many coffee companies and cooperatives to deliver coffee-specific education to high school students. Guatemala suffers educational problems that require special attention, one of them being the low educational coverage at high school level, especially in 11th and 12th grades. In response to this need the Guatemalan National Coffee Association – Anacafé, through the Guatemalan Coffee Foundation for Rural Development – Funcafé, created the first High School Center with Coffee Specialization in 2011, with equal opportunities for men and women, in which the High School in Arts and Science with Coffee Specialization is taught. It’s main goal is to strengthen business management abilities in coffee companies, offering young professionals with tools in efficient coffee growing and administration, additional to the competences offered by the national high school curriculum of the Ministry of Education to provide a sustainable and profitable agroindustry competitive to a globalized economy, which will impact on their family, community and Guatemalan rural development.

The project objectives of the project are to:

  • Increase the competitiveness of the coffee industry by training professionals with an emphasis on added value and product differentiation.
  • Train professionals with agro-ecological skills to produce coffee in a friendly and environmentally responsible manner.

The specialization is taught for two years with a flexible modality adjusting to the interests, needs, and context of the students. An alternation methodology is applied which includes theoretical classroom lectures and field practices in the communities where students reside. The sustainability of the project is to maintain a high educational quality and seek donors interested in providing scholarship for adolescents with limited financial resources.

In 2015, two new high school centers were opened given the demand and acceptance of the program. In the school cycles from 2012-2016 (January-October, according to Guatemalan school calendar) 119 students have been admitted to the High School Centers with Coffee Specialization and 70 have already graduated; 49 students who entered the 2016 cycle will graduate on November 2,017. All graduates are currently working in coffee companies or cooperatives benefiting their families and Guatemalan coffee sector development. Some graduates continued their studies in the university so they can obtain better job opportunities, and broaden their academic, personal and professional horizons. In 2017 two more High School Centers with Coffee Specialization will open which will cover other Guatemalan coffee regions, benefiting more young adults and their communities. For the 2017 school year, there are approximately 50 students enrolled in the High School Centers with Coffee Specialization.

To learn more, visit www.funcafe.org.

Runners-up in this category were: Farmer Brothers Direct Trade Verified Sustainable & Relationship Coffee Institute


Winner in the Sustainability Award “Business Model” Category: Progreso Foundation

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In addition to recognizing the hard work of the individuals, businesses, and organizations who created and implemented the business model, the Sustainability Award for Business Model aims to inspire others to initiate similar endeavors.

Business models were judged on the following four criteria:

1. Business models that have undertaken innovative measures to include all or several aspects of social, economic and environmental sustainability. Business models that have enhanced the long-term sustainability of the coffee industry.

2. Business models that are replicable; they can be successfully implemented in a variety of locations and contexts.

3. Business models that are scalable; they can be successfully adapted at both larger and smaller levels of the specialty coffee industry, hence making them more easily implemented.

4. Business models that inspire other industry members who wish to contribute toward the specialty coffee industry’s desire to achieve the targets set forth by United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This year’s winner, Progreso Foundation—in collaboration with producer organizations, roasters, importers, exporters, TA providers and consumers—has strengthened 102 coffee and cocoa socials enterprises (namely producer-owned organizations) in 18 countries around the world over the past 15 years. Progreso works with these social businesses to promote economic development and ignite positive social and environmental impact amongst the members and their communities. Through the producer organizations, more than 120,000 small producers are impacted by this work. Progreso has pioneered working capital models and has supported innovative initiatives that are now mainstreamed and have turned into new ventures or programs, including Grow Ahead, ProClimate, ProCacao, Progreso Network.

Their unique approach is based in the belief that positive impact requires a holistic intervention model in a long-term process. That is why Progreso works together with these groups for a period of 4 to 7 years. The goal is to move a start-up organization—with a very weak structure, limited market experience, or access to finance—into a consolidated organization (an organization that has developed a strong structure, access to positive market relations, and has improved services to their members–thus gaining their trust–and that is able to improve livelihoods and landscapes).

Progreso’s work starts by conducting an organizational assessment to identify the base line of each organization, which includes their long-term vision and main strategies. They use an in-house assessment tool (that is available to anyone), which measures the situation of the organization in three areas: 1) Internal Organization, 2) Production, and 3) Market. This is a self-assessment that guides the design of the work plans and helps to measure progress and impact.

Organizations own their projects. When they have the capacity, they receive and manage the funds of their project. When they are unable to manage these funds, local partners are engaged to provide support. On an ongoing basis, Progreso conducts visits, receives progress reports, and talks with them and other stakeholders (including importers, finance institutions, local allies, etc.) to walk them through the process and help them pursue their goals. Trust is a key element in this relationship. After several years, the expectation is that the organization graduates and continues on their own into a new stage.

The main goal of the program is to empower small producers organized, supporting into becoming more successful social enterprises, learning from them – and share those learnings with other groups.

To learn more, visit www.progreso.nl

Runners-up in this category were: Cooperative Coffees & Starbucks Coffee Sourcing Model