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The State of Sustainable Coffee: A Study of Twelve Major Markets


  • Giovannucci, Daniele
  • Koekoek, Freek Jan


The State of Sustainable Coffee provides the first comprehensive overview of the market conditions facing, organic, fair trade and shade grown or eco-friendly coffees (termed 'sustainable' coffees). It outlines the volumes, trends, distribution channels, major players, and price premiums in 12 nations across Europe and Japan, as a companion to an earlier North American report. While some common parallels exist, such as the priority for consistency and quality standards, the substantial inter-market differences emphasize the need to approach each country and sometimes each distribution channel with an appreciation for its unique distinctions. Overall, the striking emergence and growth of sustainable coffees has catapulted them quickly from a small niche industry to become a significant part of the mainstream market. Their growth has consistently eclipsed the growth rate of conventional coffee for more than a decade. As a result of their strict environmental and social standards, improved governance structures, better farm management, and price premiums, these sustainability initiatives are facilitating not only rural development but also agricultural trade competitiveness for developing nations. In agriculture, it is the coffee sector that has arguably developed the most advanced experience with certified organic, fair trade, and eco-friendly products that are now shipped from more than half of the coffee exporting nations. A number of other goods ranging from commodities such as tea and sugar to meats, fruits and vegetables are following the coffee sector's innovative sustainability models. Although these sustainably produced products are not a panacea, they offer one of the few bright spots in developing country agricultural trade and provide considerable direct benefits to the more than one million coffee producing families that participate. The book was published jointly by IISD, the International Coffee Organization and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development with the support of the International Development Research Centre and the World Bank.

Suggested Citation

  • Giovannucci, Daniele & Koekoek, Freek Jan, 2003. "The State of Sustainable Coffee: A Study of Twelve Major Markets," MPRA Paper 17172, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:17172

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Giovannucci, Daniele & Reardon, Thomas, 2000. "Understanding Grades and Standards: and how to apply them," MPRA Paper 13549, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    More about this item


    coffee; sustainable; standards; organic; fair trade; Rainforest Alliance; Starbucks; agriculture markets; supply chains; distribution channels; small farmers; eco-friendly; certifications; developing country; Europe; Japan; sustainability trends;

    JEL classification:

    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • O19 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - International Linkages to Development; Role of International Organizations
    • L1 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance


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