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Wageningen University & Research and FarmersDirect Coffee launch world’s first carbon calculator to calculate climate footprint of coffee chain

24 January 2022

To make the coffee market more transparent and sustainable, coffee company FarmersDirect Coffee, in collaboration with Wageningen University & Research (WUR), is developing the world’s first CO2 calculator that specifies the climate footprint of the coffee chain. The calculator combines the CO2 impact for each part of the chain, providing insight into how sustainably coffee is produced. This enables buyers and consumers to consciously choose a sustainable variant of coffee. The calculator was completed in May this year and the next three years will be used to fill it completely with information about the production process of coffee farmers. The goal is to have the CO2 impact fully transparent by 2025.

“What makes this calculator unique is that it very specifically measures the CO2 impact of individual farmers or cooperatives, where previously only indications of the entire sector were used,” says Roland de Koning, CFO of FarmersDirect Coffee. “The calculator makes everything in the coffee chain transparent, such as whether there has been deforestation in obtaining the land, what pesticide and other agents are used in the production process, and what journey the coffee beans have taken. Other links in the chain are also made transparent, such as the transporters, roasters, and exporters.”

Wageningen University & Research is developing the calculator under the leadership of Jan Broeze, researcher Food & Biobased Research. FarmersDirect Coffee provides data on coffee farmers and the production process to populate the calculator. The calculator adds up the CO2 emissions for each part of the chain. A QR code on the coffee packaging will soon show, among other things, which route the coffee has travelled and what the CO2 footprint of the coffee chain is.

Helping coffee farmers to become more sustainable through the FarmersDirect app
Linked via the FarmersDirect Coffee app, member coffee farmers form a network across three continents in which they can access relevant data on each other’s crops, fertilization options and plantation management. This enables large-scale benchmarking and harvest optimization. The production of the app is done by FarmersDirect Coffee together with Cordaid, a development cooperation organization. Based on the app, it is possible to see where there are bottlenecks for farmers, allowing Cordaid to provide targeted training for improvement. In addition, the FarmersDirect Coffee app provides data and information about the production process of participating farmers, which can be processed in the calculator to measure the CO2 impact. The CO2 impact can then be viewed in the app.

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