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LACRO – Coffee and Climate Change

This summer, CRS will start work on two innovative projects in LACRO funded by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR).  Both projects grew out of ongoing conversations with GMCR that began in mid-2007, and both reflect the company’s growing engagement with issues that lie beyond the coffee chain, including food security, migration and climate change.

Beginning in 2006, GMCR began seeing evidence in its supply chains to suggest that even farmers from whom it was buying “sustainable” coffees (certified organic and Fair Trade) were food-insecure and migrating as a leading coping strategy.  GMCR partnered with the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) to assess the impacts of its business in communities where it sources smallholder coffee in Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Peru.  The results of that research suggested that food insecurity is generalized among farmers in its chains in Mesoamerica.  Based on the results of that research, GMCR has invested in select projects that address livelihood insecurity among the coffee farmers in its chains.

Diversified Livelihoods in Pochuta is a three-year livelihoods diversification initiative that will help smallholder coffee farmers who sell organic and Fair Trade coffee to GMCR to diversify their agricultural income through targeted agroenterprise assistance in the production and marketing of crops beyond coffee.  The project also partners with a local enterprise development company that has launched a half-dozen successful brands in Guatemala that market a range of non-agricultural goods produced by low-income women.

Coffee Under Pressure (CUP): Climate Change Adaptation in Mesoamerica is a five-year project led by our colleagues at CIAT, who will generate crop targeting models to show how local land use patterns will change over time due to the likely impacts of climate change.  We will support this work by gathering a range of field data that will be used to generate decision-support tools for smallholder coffee farmers, and by coordinating workshops during which those tools are delivered and preliminary adaptation strategies developed.

Both projects will be implemented alongside CAFE Livelihoods, a three-year, four-country project designed to deepen the engagement of more than 7000 smallholder farmers with high-value coffee markets.

For more information about the CRS relationship with GMCR, or any of the work described above, please contact LACRO RTA/Agro-Enterprise Michael Sheridan (

About Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. GMCR is a publicly traded coffee company based in Waterbury, VT, with annual sales of over $300 million.  Business Ethics named GMCR top corporate citizen the United States for two years running in 2006 and 2007, and approximately 30 percent of the company’s coffees are Fair Trade Certified.

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