Transforming with integrity
Sustainability is a choice we can make starting with a cup of coffee. A new coalition has arrived to safeguard the environment, producers, and one of the world’s most widely consumed beverages, allowing everyone to do their part.
“Change is possible. Indeed it is now necessary. There is no alternative,” explains Paolo di Croce, Slow Food director for over two decades, and Emanuele Dughera, the Slow Food Coffee Coalition coordinator. “The world has shown and continues to dramatically show that the current development model needs to be revised and redesigned to ensure access to good, clean, and fair food for all. The unsustainable model must change for the people and the planet.”
Slow Food is a global movement active in 160 countries, providing access to good, clean, and fair food for all. It cultivates a network of local communities and activists who defend cultural and biological diversity, promote taste education and the passing on of traditional knowledge, and influence public and private policy. Thousands of Slow Food projects and Presidia enhance and protect vegetable and grain varieties, cheese, and other typical local products. Slow Food’s protection efforts also focus on coffee through a specific project with global reach: the Slow Food Coffee Coalition.
The Slow Food Coffee Coalition is an open, collaborative network that unites the entire coffee supply chain, from farmers to consumers. De’Longhi has decided to become the main partner of the initiative to foster collaboration and share knowledge within the industry. “As a manufacturer of coffee machines that use beans as raw material, it is our responsibility to protect the people and processes at the heart of our business. At the same time, we let consumers discover what lies behind the coffee they drink daily,” says Zeno Adami, De’Longhi’s Global Brand Director. “We are pleased to collaborate with Slow Food. For our company, it represents another opportunity to contribute to the evolution of the coffee industry by providing more transparency to our customers.”
Thanks to this collaboration, De’Longhi will contribute to organizing Slow Food-curated events and seminars that amplify the project, providing visibility and voices to the different roles in the coffee supply chain–first and foremost to the farmers. The change towards good, clean, and fair coffee is a shared responsibility for De’Longhi, its suppliers and customers, and anyone who loves the beverage.
Why did such a solid coffee-focused initiative transpire? “Because people perceive coffee as a commodity–one of the world’s most traded commodities. But like oil, gas, and gold, commodities such as coffee, flour, milk, or sugar are predominantly sold in global markets according to quantity, not quality: one is as good as the other.” Of one of the world’s most widely drunk beverages, coffee is consumed by more than a billion people daily, but consumers generally know very little. They go to the coffee shop and order “a coffee” without a second thought. But coffee is an agricultural product that’s grown, harvested, and processed; 25 million people as well as thousands of hectares of land depend on its economy. Consumers can save money at the expense of the environment and local communities, or they can choose quality coffee: good, clean, and fair. But how?
Coffee’s vast economy involves diverse roles in a supply chain that unites the whole world in a daily ritual. Therefore, coffee is the perfect engine for changing consumers’ consciences and consequently their consumption. Slow Food and the Coffee Coalition restart from people of indigenous communities and small farms along with those who drink coffee and work with it. With an inclusive philosophy, Slow Food promotes change on a grand scale from the bottom up, involving farmers and large companies. This practice furthers its commitment to the enhancement of sustainable coffee, protecting the environment, ecosystems, biodiversity, workers’ rights, and inclusiveness–sustainable coffee that values the supply chain and traceability, food safety, and the right to pleasure (such as flavour and aroma) in the cup. And it does so with a Manifesto. Anyone committed to this journey can sign the online manifesto: farmers, roasters, baristas, restaurateurs, companies, institutions, and even consumers.
For the first time, Slow Food will also label the coffee of participating producers: “A statement of intent, involvement, and vision,” they explain. This “participatory” certification model involves producer communities and other coffee chain stakeholders. With professionalism and passion, these participants aim to guarantee the coffee production process and increasingly make choices that represent consciousness and sustainability. “The quality of the partners gives credibility to the project. Involving global industry leaders is important to spread the message: the challenge is won if you involve as many people as possible, so the bigger the actors, the closer you get to the goal of safeguarding the little ones.”
Slow Food has consistently explained that it requires a multitude, and De’Longhi has been part of this multitude, attending Terra Madre 2022, an annual Slow Food-promoted event held in Turin. There, the participatory certification initiatives for coffee were presented, and representatives of the network united to participate in events, coffee seminars, and the tasting of the first coffee from the Slow Food Coffee Coalition communities. The Slow Food Coffee Coalition Manifesto remains online, available to anyone who wants to sign it.