Coffee Knowledge Hub

World of Coffee Milan 2022

Carbon Climate and Coffee

Rewarding carbon-sequestering, organic practices to increase farmer productivity and push the coffee industry towards “carbon-neutral"

Lecture Overview

Industrial agriculture and changes in land use contribute to one-fourth of global greenhouse gas emissions. Carbon dioxide from deforestation, soil degradation, and other land disturbance contributes 65% of those agricultural emissions, while nitrous oxide from fertilizers and other chemical inputs make up the balance. Research links the current trajectory of CO2 emissions to increasing global temperatures and extreme weather events. In the coffee sector, the estimation is that some 50% of current coffee-growing regions will no longer be viable for production by 2050. However, organic coffee farmers managing agroforestry plots can show us a way forward. When their farms imitate forest ecosystems, they sustain plant and animal species and absorb high levels of carbon in both biomass and soils, thereby offsetting enormous quantities of CO2. The panelists will present real-time data from their collaborative project that is currently implementing an adapted perennials module of The Cool Farm Tool and calculating the net carbon capture of 250 organic farmers. By sharing this preliminary data and best regenerative practices, the panelists will illustrate how small-scale, organic farmers are leading the way towards incentivizing carbon-neutral coffee, and how buyers can encourage carbon emission reductions, while contributing to climate resilience, increased yields, and more stable supply.


Monika Firl

Monika Firl got her start in coffee more than 25 years ago, working directly with farmer organizations in Central America and Mexico. She’s since worked as Green Buyer, Producer Relations Manager and Sustainability Director with Cooperative Coffees in Canada, and now as Senior Coffee Manager with Fairtrade International. This cumulative work has fueled her keen interest in the symbiotic relationships between healthy soils, carbon sequestration and reversing climate change, while supporting healthy coffee production and farmer livelihoods. Monika is a champion for integrated solutions and believes in the power of collaboration to achieve a green and inclusive future in coffee.

Fredy Pérez

Fredy Pérez is an organic coffee farmer, lover of life farming, nature, human beings, knowledge, founding partner of COMSA, manager of La Fortaleza biodynamic farm, located in Marcala, La Paz, Honduras, faithful follower of the human farm methodology, the 5 Ms, for him the cause of all the problems on the planet is the lack of principles and values.

Nora Burke

Nora is the Founder and Executive Director of The Chain Collaborative (TCC), a non-profit organization that invests in community-led development projects with local leaders in coffee communities around the world. Nora holds a master’s degree in Sustainable Development and has consulted for a variety of coffee companies and development organizations, including Seeds for Progress, Kula, and Caravela, among many others. She has written for many coffee news outlets and has presented at a variety of coffee conferences. She is one of the four co-creators of the SCA Coffee Sustainability Program and currently provides courses in Sustainability as an Authorized SCA Trainer.


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