Weekly Coffee News
December 03, 2013
‘Green Coffee’ carbon footprint rule launched for global coffee industry
2 Dec 2013
A new ‘Green Coffee’ CFP-PCR has been published, providing the first Product Category Rule for the calculation of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions from green coffee production.
The Green Coffee CFP-PCR rule was initiated by SAI Platform’s Coffee Working group members in collaboration with the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH).
This is the latest development from SAI Platform’s Coffee Working Group, meeting the need for a PCR in green coffee. Over an 18-month period, a wide range of stakeholders with interests in the sustainability of the coffee sector worldwide have come together to create a methodology that is truly globally applicable.
The new Green Coffee CFP-PCR will drive consistency in the application of GHG emissions calculations by reducing differences between individual studies and products, and harmonising methodological approaches. This will support the identification and adoption of genuine mitigation strategies.
It should also encourage behaviour change within the supply chain. While remaining scientifically robust, this CFP-PCR provides the necessary detail to empower informed (mitigation) decision-making, and even to reward positive practice.
Giacomo Celi, illycaffè, chair of the SAI Platform Coffee Working Group, said: “The guidelines for measuring the GHG emissions for green coffee are a great achievement for the coffee sector and as such ought to be adopted by everybody. These guidelines are the result of a global and transparent collaboration among numerous stakeholders of the coffee value chain.”
The Project Steering Group providing the leadership and working collaboratively in the development of this CFP- PCR were: illycaffé, Nestlé, Tchibo, Mondelez, DE Master Blenders 1753 and Lavazza, supported by the relevant sector standard-setting bodies (4C, Fairtrade International, Rainforest Alliance and UTZ Certified).
A technical working group comprising science and industry specialists from around the world who have experience in life cycle assessment and coffee agronomy, production systems, markets, consultancy, tool building and certification has ensured this CFP-PCR is not only scientifically robust, but can be delivered in the field with minimal barriers. An example of this is the establishment of allocation ratios for polyculture systems, where the group went beyond traditional PCR development requirements. SAI (Sustainable Agriculture Initiative) Platform is the global initiative helping food and drink companies to achieve sustainable production and sourcing of agricultural raw materials.
Source: SAI Platform
November 25, 2013
PCCA – Update on Prop 65
Governor Brown signs the Gatto Bill (AB227) – A good first step in reasonable regulatory reform of California’s Proposition 65.
In September of 2012 the Pacific Coast Coffee Association appointed a Task Force to address the issues of Prop 65, the California law that has prompted a lawsuit involving coffee companies that do business in California. Plaintiffs are suing to demand that coffee be labeled with Prop 65 signs stating, “Chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and reproductive harm… are present in our coffee products…”
The Task Force has been working closely with the National Coffee Association (NCA) to develop strategies and a unified media policy concerning Prop 65. Along those lines both organizations wrote letters urging Governor Brown to sign AB227 – Proposition 65: Frivolous Lawsuits, a bill introduced by Assemblymember Mike Gatto and passed (after significant amending) by unanimous vote in both houses of the legislature. Assemblymember Gatto’s Legislative Director confided to Task Force members that coffee industry lawyers were key in drafting wording that included coffee shops in the protections offered by the bill. Though the coffee industry looks forward to more comprehensive reform to Prop 65 than AB 227 provides, we strongly believe this is a good first step that will protect thousands of coffee shop owners from frivolous lawsuits and unnecessary legal expenses. To be clear, however, this bill will have no effect on the current litigation.
The PCCA letter approved by the Board was faxed and mailed to the Governor’s office on October 2, 2013. The Governor signed the Bill on Saturday, October 5.
The PCCA will continue to work with the NCA and others in the coffee industry towards finding solutions to industry challenges set in motion by Proposition 65 and other regulatory efforts.
November 25, 2013
North Sumatra – Mount Sinabung – High Level of Eruption Alert
The volcanic ash spewed by Mount Sinabung in Karo regency, North Sumatra, disrupted a number of flights from Kuala Namu International Airport in Deli Serdang regency on Sunday. In Bandung, the Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (PVMBG) increased the volcano’s status to “awas” (beware), the highest level of the four-level alert system. Air Asia and Susi Air postponed its flight to Penang, Malaysia, citing safety reason as volcanic ash has reached the airport. “The ash was quite thick. In the morning, all of our aircraft at Kuala Namu had been covered by ash,” he said on Sunday.“It is dangerous if we keep flying so we decided to temporarily halt our operations.” Mt. Sinabung erupted at about 9:45 p.m. Saturday, spewing volcanic ash as high as 10 kilometers.The ash reached the provincial capital of Medan, for the first time since Sinabung erupted in 2010. This caused Medan residents to panic and become concerned about the ash, which started to fall at 11:30 p.m. The affected areas included Medan Tuntungan, Medan Johor, Medan Selayang and even as far as Belawan. National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho estimated that another 15,000 villagers would come to evacuation centers following the status increase. “Currently there are 11,618 evacuees coming from 19 villages,” he said.
November 05, 2013
Rule Change Expected to Further Suppress Arabica Prices
For hundreds of years, coffee beans have made their way around the world in gunny sacks.
Now the use of these burlap bags, small enough to be hoisted by one person and a symbol of coffee’s artisanal character, is giving way to the modern demands of global trade.
IntercontinentalExchange Inc., ICE +2.52% home to the world’s most heavily traded coffee contract, last week said it would allow bean shipments to its certified warehouses to arrive in lined cargo containers, or “supersacks.” These plastic woven sacks often hold a metric ton of coffee, or enough beans to make about 125,000 shots of espresso.
To be delivered against ICE futures, coffee has had to arrive in specially marked bags. Those rules are changing. Above, a warehouse in Colombia. Bloomberg News
The move is expected to make it easier for big commodity traders and food companies to buy and sell coffee on the exchange. Cargo containers of loose beans already change hands in the physical-coffee market. But to be delivered against the ICE futures contract, arabica coffee beans generally must have arrived in the warehouse in bags that were marked at the beans’ origin, and be made of “sisal, henequen, jute, burlap or woven material having similar properties,” according to current rules.
At the same time, the loosening of packaging requirements could further suppress prices that already are weighed down by a glut of arabica beans, the variety used by roasters such as Starbucks Corp. SBUX +1.36% and Italy’s IllyCaffè SpA, traders and analysts say.
The new rule “is going to increase the amount available [in stockpiles],” said Jack Scoville, a vice president at brokerage Price Futures Group in Chicago. That likely would pressure prices even more, Mr. Scoville added.
Stockpiles of arabica are near 3½-year highs, caused largely by back-to-back record harvests in No. 1 grower Brazil. The glut has driven prices of arabica to their lowest levels since April 2009. Arabica futures rose 0.2% to $1.1525 a pound on the ICE Futures U.S. exchange on Wednesday.
Some market experts say that big incoming coffee shipments also could revive worries about the quality of the beans in ICE-certified warehouses, which could suppress futures prices relative to prices on the cash market. ICE tightened standards in late 2010 in response to concerns about the age, color and taste of coffee beans in storage amid a shortage of beans from Colombia, the world’s No. 2 arabica grower.
Many companies, from small Brooklyn, N.Y., roasters to Starbucks, have a policy of only using coffee beans that have traveled from the farm to roasting machines in gunny sacks.
Cheryl Kingan, head coffee buyer for Café Grumpy, a small roaster in Brooklyn, says she doesn’t receive coffee in a lined container.
“You wouldn’t know exactly what you’re getting,” Ms. Kingan says.
Critics of the new rule, which comes into force in late 2015, say it is more difficult to ensure that coffee beans originated from the country advertised if they are shipped in bulk and then rebagged. Certain beans, like those from Colombia, command a premium while the more plentiful, mechanically harvested Brazilian beans are traded at a discount to the benchmark futures contract.
“I’d rather see [the coffee] arrive in bags,” says Bob Phillips, a trader at Caturra Coffee Corp., a coffee importer based in Elmsford, N.Y. Referring to ICE’s rule change, Mr. Phillips added, “I don’t think it’s a wise idea because someone will find a way to misrepresent [the coffee]. Beans don’t have a stamp on them.”
ICE says the decision will help bring it into line with a growing trend of big, bulk deliveries of beans. Global coffee exports rose by 27% between 2002 and 2012, to 113.2 million bags, according to the International Coffee Organization.
Other coffee traders are defending the change.
“It’s really just reflecting what is going on in the physical [trading] world,” said a person involved in the decision-making process. “Welcome to the ’90s.”
J.M. Smucker Co., the maker of Folgers, and Kraft Foods Group Inc., which produces Maxwell House coffee, say they receive coffee shipments in big containers.
Even traders of some of the world’s most sought-after coffee say worries about quality are overblown. Companies that take coffee that meets the exchange’s minimum standards don’t have particularly high expectations, says Andi Trindle Mersch, a trader at Atlantic Specialty Coffee.
“Supersacks are quite acceptable for quality as far as I know,” Ms. Mersch says, adding that only about 5% of the coffee the company buys comes in large supersacks. Atlantic Specialty Coffee is a unit of Ecom Agroindustrial Corp., one of the world’s biggest coffee traders.
While the exchange is expanding the options to bring coffee to the warehouse, ICE isn’t changing how buyers can get it out. Under the new system, warehouse employees still will sort and bag the coffee in natural-fiber bags before handing it to the exchange’s graders. The coffee still must pass the exchange’s muster before it joins the certified stockpiles.
Still, many in the coffee market believe the really good beans always travel in small packages.
Costa Rica, which is famed for its coffee beans nourished by volcanic, mineral-rich soil, exports 90% of its crop in smaller bags, said Edgar Rojas, the deputy director of the Coffee Institute of Costa Rica, a government body that oversees the industry.
The bulk shipments “are cheaper” but smaller bags make “it easier to control the quality,” Mr. Rojas says.
For the same reason, Starbucks says it only uses gunny sacks.
“Starbucks only receives its coffee in unit-level bags,” said Starbucks spokeswoman Alisha Damodaran, referring to the industry standard bag that holds 60 kilograms, about 132 pounds. “It is an integral component to traceability and quality assurance.”
Oct. 9, 2013 4:34 p.m. ET
November 05, 2013
PNG Landslide cuts off highlands
THE Highlands Highway has been cut off at Daulo Pass again.
Continuous rain in the region triggered another massive landslip at Daulo Pass on Monday night, cutting off the four highlands provinces.
It blocked a mountain creek and created a dam which is threatening to burst, posing further risks to people down the valley and further damages to the highway.
It is a nightmare for trucking firms who only this week raised concerns on the high operating costs with frequent landslips along the highway and increased fuel prices.
The Highlands Highway is the only road link between the five highlands provinces and the coastal towns of Lae and Madang.
Landslides and slips along the highway has affected businesses including the oil and gas fields in Southern Highlands and Porgera gold mine, the travelling public and PMV operators.
PMVs loaded with passengers destined for Lae and Goroka from Mt Hagen offloaded their passengers on the Chimbu side of the slip and passengers walked across to get on buses on the Goroka side to continue their journey. This has a greater impact on businesses and also us despatching coffee for shipment.
November 05, 2013
Coffee Falls to Five-Year Low on Growing Supplies
Arabica coffee fell to the lowest in almost five years in New York on ample supplies from Brazil and Colombia, the biggest growers of the beans
Brazil’s crop will be a record for a year in which trees enter the lower-yielding half of a two-year cycle, broker INTL FCStone Inc. (INTL) said in a report e-mailed yesterday. Conditions for the development of next year’s harvest appear to be “good,” it said. Farmers in Colombia will reap 10.6 million to 10.8 million bags in 2013, exceeding a target of 10 million bags, the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation said. Central America started harvesting last month. A bag weighs 132 pounds.
“The global coffee harvest kicked into high gear in Colombia, Central America and Brazil,” FCStone said. “The Brazilian ‘off-year’ crop is expected to come in a new record high and is one of the reasons prices are struggling.”
Arabica for December delivery fell 0.3 percent to $1.034 a pound by 5:57 a.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York after dropping earlier today to $1.031, the lowest for a most-active contract since Dec. 5, 2008. Prices are probably heading for $1, FCStone said. Robusta coffee for January delivery fell 1 percent to $1,468 a metric ton on NYSE Liffe in London.
November 05, 2013
5,000 Cuban volunteers recruited to help with coffee harvest
HAVANA, Oct. 22– More than 5,000 students and volunteers will be mobilized to help with coffee harvest in the eastern province of Santiago de Cuba, Cuba’s main producing area, to catch up with the harvest schedule, the daily Juventud Rebelde reported Tuesday, quoting an official.
Agricultural vice-delegate Manuel Arzuaga said that in the first two weeks of October, just over 240,000 cans (about 457 tons) of coffee beans were picked, representing only 32 percent of the total.
“October is vital for the harvest, because it is the month when the grain reaches its maturation peak,” he said.
He added that the government plans to increase this season’s harvest, which can reach 5,700 tons, by 34 percent compared to the previous season.
Coffee is Cuba’s main economic crop. The sector has suffered an exodus of experienced harvesters, organization problems and bureaucracy in recent years.
Since President Raul Castro took office in 2008, Cuba has tried to increase domestic coffee production as high coffee consumption costs Cuba about 40 million US dollars a year due to the purchases at the international market.
Sector authorities expect to increase coffee output to 15,000 tons in 2016 although the figure is still insufficient compared with the 24,000 tons needed to cover domestic consumption and export.corey
October 18, 2013
Goldman Sachs Cuts Arabica Coffee Price Forecasts by 7.7% on Weather
By Isis Almeida – Oct 18, 2013 3:23 AM PT
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. cut its price forecasts for arabica coffee traded in New York by 7.7 percent, citing favorable weather and the biggest stockpiles of the variety favored by Starbucks Corp. (SBUX) in five years.
The beans traded on the ICE Futures U.S. exchange will be at $1.20 a pound in three, six and 12 months, the bank said in a report e-mailed today. That’s down from last month’s forecast for $1.30 a pound. Arabica coffee futures fell 20 percent this year on signs of bigger harvests in leading producer Brazil and Colombia, the second-biggest grower of the variety.
“Arabica coffee prices continued to decline last month on larger than expected Colombian production and favorable weather for the upcoming crop in Brazil,” Damien Courvalin, an analyst at the bank in New York, wrote in the report.
Futures are heading for a third year of declines, the longest losing streak since 1993. The commodity is the fourth worst performer this year in the Standard & Poor’s GSCI gauge of 24 raw materials, with only gold, silver and corn down by more. Stockpiles at the end of this season will be 30.5 million bags, the highest since 2008-09, estimates the U.S. Department of Agriculture. A bag of coffee weighs 60 kilograms (132 pounds).
Coffee prices could rebound if there are further cuts to production in Central America, where leaf rust disease has hit crops, or if funds decide to close out bets on lower prices, Goldman said. Large and small speculators excluding index funds have been betting on lower prices since 2011, data from the U.S. Futures Trading Commission compiled by Bloomberg showed.
Arabica coffee for December deliver was little changed at $1.1475 a pound on ICE by 5:53 a.m. in New York.
October 18, 2013
El Salvador shutters historic human rights clinic
Neris Gonzalez would journey 25km every week from her rural village in San Vicente, El Salvador to the nearest town in order to phone Archbishop Oscar Romero. Gonzalez, a 23-year-old community leader, would recount the latest murders, disappearances and mutilations committed by security forces in her district to the Archbishop.
This was 1978, a time of increasing repression and human rights violations in El Salvador in the run-up to the coup d’état in October 1979 and subsequent 12-year civil war.
Archbishop Romero founded the Human Rights Office, originally known as Socorro Juridico (Legal Relief) in 1977, in order to document these abuses from across the country. It was one of the only places people could go to report state-sponsored crimes.
Every Sunday until his assassination in March 1980, Romero would broadcast a homily from the grand cathedral in the capital San Salvador which included the latest denunciations. Communities in every tiny village and hard luck neighbourhood could be found huddled over battery-operated radios listening to his homilies which disseminated the horrors being inflicted upon civilians.
Since then, the Archbishop’s Human Rights and Legal Aid Office, known as Tutela Legal since 1982, has documented more than 50,000 cases of human rights abuses – before, during and after the civil war which ended in 1992. It holds the most comprehensive archive of El Salvador’s bloody history and its lawyers continue to represent survivors of notorious massacres including El Mozote and Rio Sumpul.
End of an era
On September 30 the staff arrived at work to find the locks changed and armed guards on the doors. They were allowed 10 minutes to clear their desks chaperoned by the security guards.
The current Archbishop, José Luis Escobar Alas, had closed Tutela Legal and issued a statement saying its work was “no longer relevant”. Two days later Escobar Alas said it was a normal part of restructuring and modernisation and a more relevant organisation would open in due course.
The closure triggered national and international condemnation from faith, human rights and solidarity groups, with large protests outside the Archdiocese. The biggest concern is about the safety and preservation of the huge paper archive without which any future legal action against perpetrators, who have enjoyed full impunity until now, could prove impossible.
The disbanding of Tutela at this moment in El Salvador history cannot be a coincidence.
- Patty Blum, legal advisor
The timing of the closure has caused widespread suspicion.
Ten days earlier the Supreme Court accepted a case challenging the constitutionality of the amnesty law brought by several human rights organisations.
The highly controversial amnesty law passed by the military-allied Nationalist Republican Alliance (Arena) government in 1993 absolved all those guilty of human rights atrocities. It meant the death squads, paramilitaries, security forces, and Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) leftist guerrillas responsible for the 80,000 deaths and 8,000 disappeared have never been held to account.
The surprise decision by the usually conservative Supreme Court Constitutional Chamber renewed hope of the amnesty law being repealed and the possibility of finally prosecuting those responsible for thousands of crimes forensically investigated and documented by Tutela Legal.
This court ruling came soon after the FMLN government’s attorney general re-opened the investigation into the 1981 El Mozote massacre in which at least 800 civilians were killed by the army. This decision was a direct response to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) which in October 2012 ruled the amnesty illegal.
Tutela Legal began gathering testimonies and investigating the El Mozote massacre almost immediately. They first lodged the case with the IACHR in 1990, sticking with it for 22 years before last year’s ruling.
In the past 15 years Tutela Legal’s work has proven crucial in cases brought against senior military figures living in the United States.
Patty Blum, senior legal advisor to the San Francisco based Centre for Justice and Accountability, told Al Jazeera: “We owe a debt to Tutela Legal for their scrupulous documentation of the abuses occurring during the Salvadoran conflict. We made use, in multiple ways, of their materials in the civil cases we brought in the US and Spain against top commanders of the Salvadoran military for crimes, including the murder of Archbishop Romero and the 1989 assassinations of six Jesuits priests.”
She added: “The disbanding of Tutela at this moment in El Salvador history cannot be a coincidence.”
Tutela Legal was also active in new cases, such as the 2007 Red car battery factory lead-poisoning case, and ran education programmes and human rights training across El Salvador.
CAFOD, the official Catholic aid agency for England and Wales, is among dozens of groups demanding a U-turn by the Archbishop and guarantees about the archives.
Clare Dixon, CAFOD’s head of Latin America, told Al Jazeera: “Whilst the civil war may be over, El Salvador is a desperately polarised society and there are still huge issues of justice and peace and human rights violations. Tutela’s forensic research and legal accompaniment is still vital as communities find themselves at the mercy of abusive practices by mining and extractive industries, gang violence and organised crime.”
Oscar Romero’s libertarian theology and work with the country’s most oppressed people continued after his murder with Archbishop Arturo Rivera y Damas until 1994. But since then the Catholic Church hierarchy in El Salvador has reverted back to its conservative roots, with many social and education programmes closed by Parish priests, Bethany Loberg from NGO Share-El Salvador told Al Jazeera.
Escobar Alas, appointed Archbishop in 2008, is a well-known religious and political conservative, widely reported as a member of the right-wing group Opus Dei.
A Salvadorian walks by a poster with portraits of El Salvador’s last civil war (1980-1992) victims [EPA]
In August 2011 he said: “I cannot imagine if all the cases were opened. When will we live in peace, I do not think this generation want to spend their lives discussing the past, especially as there are abundant cases committed by both sides … Possibly the Amnesty Law is the most appropriate mechanism to maintain peace.”
Escobar Alas caused controversy last December after ordering the removal of a symbolic peace mural that adorned the San Salvador Cathedral without consulting anyone, not even the government or revered the artist, Fernando Llort.
His most recent communique on Tutela Legal cast a shadow over the reputation of staff with nebulous accusations of corruption and mismanagement.
In response to the closure President Maurico Funes has said: “I am concerned by the bad sign and message this sends. With this decision the Archbishop is not accompanying the just causes of people.”
Human Rights Ombudsman David Morales, a former Tutela Legal employee who helped take the Romero murder to the IACHR, has threatened legal action against the Archdiocese unless his team are given access to the archives.
Opposition party Arena, current favourites to win next year’s general election, have remained silent on the closure and did not respond to Al Jazeera’s request for comment.
The Tutela Legal cases include Neris Gonzalez. In December 1979 she was subjected to two weeks of horrific torture by National Guard officers who left her for dead on a dump.
Gonzalez told Al Jazeera: “This arbitrary closure is a disrespectful hijacking of the historical memories from us victims. I feel re-victimised by the Archbishop’s abusive act but there must be others behind it.”
October 02, 2013
Honduras coffee exports fall by more than a fifth in 2012/2013
UPDATE 1-Honduras coffee exports fall by more than a fifth in 2012/2013 – RTRS
TEGUCIGALPA, Oct 1 (Reuters) – Coffee exports from Honduras, Central America’s top producer, fell 20.8 percent during the 2012/2013 season compared to the previous cycle because of the deadly fungal outbreak roya, the country’s national coffee institute IHCAFE said on Tuesday.
IHCAFE said exports during the harvesting season, which closed last month, totaled 4.34 million 60-kg bags.
September shipments reached 49,536 60-kg bags, 76.1 percent below the comparable month of the 2011/2012 season, IHCAFE said.
“Roya has hit our (coffee) farms hard during this harvest,” said IHCAFE director Rene Leon.
IHCAFE sees exports during the 2013/2014 season at 4.6 million 60-kg bags, which would mark a 7 percent increase over the previous cycle’s shipments.
Separately, Costa Rica’s coffee institute Icafe said exports fell 8.1 percent in September to 37,672 60-kg bags from 41,020 bags during the same month a year earlier.
Costa Rican exports for the 2012/2013 Oct.-Sept. season totaled 1.398 million bags, down from 1.422 million bags the previous year.
Central America’s major coffee-producing countries are all grappling with the spread of roya, or coffee leaf rust, which is expected to reduce production by 16 percent during the current season. (Full Story)
The coffee season in Central America and Mexico, which together produce more than one-fifth of the world’s arabica beans, runs from October through September.
Table of monthly coffee exports from five Central American producing countries and Mexico: http://link.reuters.com/qan53v