About sustainability standards in coffee production

In her dissertation at the WWU, Dr. Janina Grabs, former co-worker of ZIN member Prof. Thomas Dietz, investigated the effectiveness and implementation of sustainability standards in coffee production as part of the TransSustain research project. For this purpose, she evaluated the results of a quantitative field data collection of more than 1,900 coffee farmers in Latin America and 60 expert interviews.

Under sustainable conditions and at fair trade prices, coffee production in the coffee-growing countries could help to conserve resources and reduce poverty. However, the research results of Dr. Janina Grabs' dissertation project show that this is not yet the case.

The market for coffee certified with sustainability seals has grown strongly in recent years. According to Grabs, however, this has led to a decline in sustainability standards and the demands of individual certifications for sustainable and fair cultivation, and farmers are not being adequately rewarded for their additional work and compliance with strict cultivation guidelines.

In order to counteract this, Grabs believes it is necessary that private certification and national legislation "interlock as well as possible".

Source: Coffee production needs clear rules - political scientist examined whether sustainability standards improve the cultivation conditions. IN: wissen.leben The newspaper of WWU Münster. May 2020, Volume 14, No. 3 Category: Research & Practice, p.6. (published in German)